How else to explain the phenomenal run Tim Tebow is enjoying in his first year as starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos of the NFL.
When the Broncos drafted Tebow in the first round in 2010 there were plenty of detractors. Yes, Tebow had enjoyed a stellar college career with the University of Florida Gators, including two national championships and a Heisman Trophy.
But he was playing at a football powerhouse. And a good chunk of his success was due to his running ability. QBs can get away with that at the college level, but it’s hard to do in the NFL because of the punishment they take. But questions about Tebow didn’t just concern his football ability. He’s also a devout Christian who isn’t shy about using the high profile he enjoys as an athlete to prostelytize.
Last Super Bowl, if you recall, he appeared in a pro-life ad funded by the socially-conservative Focus on Family. He also strikes an iconic “prayer pose” (pictured above) during various stages of games. And in college, the NCAA actually passed a rule to stop him from wearing black patches under his eyes with Biblical passages printed on them.
After seeing a bit of playing time last season, Tebow took over as starter in game six this year. The Bronocs were 1-4 then, and they now sit at 8-5 and are first in their division. That’s right, Tebow is 7-1 as a starter. And how he’s doing it is confounding most football observers. Stat-wise, he more or less reeks. One game, he completed two passes. Typically, he’s ineffectual for most of the game, then through some set of bordering-on-divine circumstances, he manages to rally his team and win it either late or in OT.
Today’s game against the Chicago Bears is a perfect example. Down 10-0 with time running out, Tebow led the Broncos to two scores (a TD pass with two minutes left, and a final play 59-yard field goal) to tie the game. Then after the Bears fumbled on the Denver 30 in OT, Tebow got the Broncos into position to win it with a 51-yard field goal.
Of course, the Bears stink. And with QB Jay Cutler injured, some guy named Caleb Hanie was starting. The Bears aren’t the only weak team Tebow’s faced either. To begin with, the Broncos’ division, the AFC West, is mediocre this year. So far, Tebow’s got wins against the 5-8 Kansas City Chiefs, 6-7 San Diego Chargers and 7-6 Oakland Raiders — and the Broncos close out the season with a home date against K.C.
Because the Broncos finished well back in the NFL standings last year, their out-of-division schedule is pretty weak too. Tebow has wins against the Minnesota Vikings (who are starting a rookie QB this year) and Miami Dolphins (4-9). And he gets to face the imploding Buffalo Bills on the second last week of the season.
The biggest win on his resume so far is at home 17-13 against the New York Jets — although the Jets are nowhere near the team they were last year. And in late October, Tebow and the Broncos got their asses kicked at home by the Detroit Lions 35-10.
Still, Tebow is 7-1. And even his biggest detractors have to admit that he does have an uncanny ability to find a way to win. Next week, the Broncos face one of the NFL heavyweights in the New England Patriots. I don’t think the Pats are as strong as in past years, especially on defence; but on offense, led by QB Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski (who has 15 TD catches this season) they are still formidable.
Can Tebow rise yet again to the challenge? Or will his fairy tale season receive a serious reality check? Tune in next Sunday and find out.