Is anyone else following Tim Tebow’s crazy ride in Denver? Being a long-time Bronco fan (I started rooting for them in 1981, when I lived in Aspen, before the Elway years), I’ve experienced my share of ups and downs with my team. Embarrassing Super Bowl losses, heady last-minute winning drives, and the grueling, never-ending search for a quarterback to replace Elway. In recent years, it’s been a long, long road. But I’m a real fan, and I hang in there with my team through the ups and downs. And downs. And downs.
Fast forward to moving to St. Augustine in 2009 and finding myself in the midst of Gator Nation, where Tim Tebow was the University of Florida’s quarterback and the reigning King. It’s hard not to fall in love with the kid – he’s a dedicated athlete, amazing competitor, and a hell of a good guy. You couldn’t open a newspaper or turn on a TV without seeing something about him. And when he graduated, I hoped he’d go to Jacksonville, so we could keep him at home.
So when Josh McDaniel spent three draft picks to bring him to the Broncos, it was bittersweet. While I thought he’d be a great addition to “my” team and their locker room, I just didn’t think he was worth that many picks; no one was. But I was still glad that he was on my team, and sat back to watch and see what happened.
So you can imagine that I’ve been very irritated with the naysayers who have slammed him from day one. Won’t ever be an NFL quarterback. Shouldn’t have the chance to lead the Broncos. Can’t throw the ball. Can’t win a game. Are they right? Maybe. But give the kid a chance. How many times have we seen rookie quarterbacks thrown into the fray way too early, and stumble and fall as they try to navigate the unfamiliar waters of the NFL? Anyone check out Peyton Manning’s stats in his first year(s) in the League? Or Elway’s?
I just think it’s mean-spirited, and that someone should be pointing out Tebow’s good qualities. And give him a chance to show what he can do. There’s a commercial on ESPN where he lists all of the things folks have told him he couldn’t do throughout his life – things he did, and did well, like winning the Heisman Trophy, and a BCS championship, and and and…
Anyway, in the past few weeks he’s become my team’s quarterback. And he’s winning games. And you’d think that SOMEONE would finally be pointing out that hey, it’s not pretty, but the Broncos are winning. But the talking heads still won’t give him a smidgen of credit. I feel badly for him, but he remains upbeat and positive in spite of all of the awful stuff they say.
From a Broncos fan’s side, it’s nice to be winning. He’s fun to watch when he snatches victory from the jaws of defeat. Was most of the game last night ugly? Yes. Did I think they were going to win? No. But time and time again, something happens in the last couple of minutes, and they find a way to get it done.
Maybe now folks will start jumping on the Tebow band wagon – even with one toe – and give the kid some support. Who knows what he could do if the groundswell was in his favor, instead of continually trying to cut him off at the knees? There’s no way I could hear that kind of negativity about myself and be as upbeat as he is.
Then again, winning must be a balm of sorts. As my father would have said, he cries all the way to the bank. (Did you see last night, as he was heading to the field to be interviewed on national TV, to join the team of panelists waiting for him, he took the time to sign a couple of items for a young boy in the stands? He made America wait, for a little boy. I watched Mark Grudzielanek blow off a young boy at the Dodgers spring training, when he had nowhere important to go, and it soured me on the man forever.)
So maybe the criticism makes him more determined to succeed. Maybe he’s just used to it. Maybe he is so self-confident that none of it fazes him. Whatever, it’s working. They’re winning. And the games are fun to watch…well, at least the last couple of minutes.
It all might change next week. But this week, I’m going to enjoy knowing that we’re 5-5. And wonder how many more ways “Tebow” can be used. So far it’s a noun AND a verb. Last night, Tebow Tebowed the Jets.
Adjective, anyone? A word that means resilient, gritty, positive, and maybe a little delusional…but does what it takes to get the job done.
It may not be pretty, but I’ll take a Tebow win over any other kind, any day!
Join me on the Tebow bandwagon, anyone?
(not my picture, but can’t find who took it to give credit where it’s due. it’s a good one, tho!)