Tebowmania hit fever pitch this week.
The charmed play of the Denver Broncos’ quarterback has created a national buzz rivaling that which resonated in Tiger Woods and Brett Favre’s breakout year of ‘97.
So popular is Tebow (and weak the field of GOP Presidential candidates) that Republican leaders would not have hesitated in offering the nomination to the traditional Tim under different circumstances (even a straight Cain wasn’t gonna’ unseat The Man Who Got Osama Bin Laden (“It’s (not) the economy, stupid”).
And tickled pink are NFL Suits & Skirts by the positive effect Tebowmania is having on business from ratings to merchandise sales (Sidebar: Gotta’ be a better way to raise money and cancer-awareness than the shocking pink NFL game-gear. It’s time to go).
But because of his atypical persona (for a pro) and overt religiousness, Tim still makes plenty of Americans uneasy. Though I’d hazard to guess many fans would be a bit edgy standing next to most pumped-up pros and their plethora of prison yard tattoos.
The only people less-than-thrilled about Tebow’s rising star might be the capable Kyle Orton, Denver’s recent opponents and Cam Newton, the early-season rookie sensation. Not that Camster doesn’t feel camaraderie with a fellow SEC, tat-free, positively Pollyannaish QB. But great athletes have great big egos and the spotlight’s swung off Cam and squarely onto Tim.
Patience is a virtue. Just a few months back it looked like Tim Tebow’s days in the Mile High City were numbered. Low on the depth chart and naysayers casting stones, the cult-hero’s faith was surely being tested.
Now he’s riding the wave, hoping it takes him and his teammates to football’s Promised Land.
I haven’t hitched a ride onto the Tebow bandwagon yet. The reason: he’s a run-first QB. I learned at a young age how such players have a limited impact in the professional game.
It was former Kansas star Bobby Douglas who was the talk of Chicagoland back in 1970, dating a centerfold and making passes at Soldier Field. Like Tim, Bobby too was pass-challenged, fleet of foot and skittish in the pocket. Though he rushed for a record 968 yards in 1972 (14), the Bears were a disappointing 13-31-1 in his seven years as a starter.
Tebow’s religious faith is strong. He’ll need to channel some of that conviction into believing in himself, his coaches and his teammates if he wants someday to hoist Mr. Lombardi and give high praise on Super Bowl Sunday.
It takes a mountain of faith to sit-tite in an NFL pocket, trust your O-line and absorb the heavy hits necessary to develop your skill-set. Mobility counts but safety can never be first in the mind of a pro QB. Either you learn to live with vulnerability (blindsiders) and eat the loss or find a new job. Hardware hoisting QBs don’t learn how to survey the gridiron, read defenses and hit receivers by running routinely in the big games.
Come-from-behind wins aren’t football’s bread n’ butter but nothing is more thrilling, more endearing to fans. Those who excel at it are revered. Montana, Favre, Staubach, Unitas and Elway were masters of the late-game drive. But they got to the big game because they knew how to matriculate with regularity & precision all season long. Today it’s Peyton, Eli, Tom, Aaron, Ben and Drew who show us how it’s done.
The numbers last Sunday are encouraging (Vikings). No picks, one fumble (10-15 / 202 / 2 PTDs) and most important for Tim, only four scampers. Head coach John Fox may understand it’s the running backs who are built to churn out the yardage and take the hits (McGahee: 20-111 / 1), something Andy Reid and oft-injured Mike Vick have yet to grasp.
Old habits die hard. Flash Cam was hanging-tough in early season. Now he’s rushing into double-digits (14 / TB). Facing off against two of the NFL’s more stable franchises will give good indication of TT’s progress and just how real this Denver team is as Brian Urlacher’s Bears (12 /11) and Tom Brady’s Patriots (12/18) visit Mile High Stadium.
The leadership Tim’s shown in working recent heroics is some of the best of football. But as he and his handlers know well it’s still a work-in-progress. Keep leading with your head and your arm Mr. Tebow and I just might become a believer…in you.
About the Author
Written by Steven Keys
A native of the old Northwest Territory (IL), my wife and I have lived in four Midwestern states and Arizona. Today we live in Duluth, Georgia. I have a history / legal background.