For every Tim Tebow fan, there is two Tim Tebow haters. Love him or hate him, the kid is simply a polarizing figure who wont go away. Something about him attracts legions of followers who profess he has un paralleled skills, a heart of gold, and could do no wrong. Then you have the other legion of critics, who say he will never make it in the NFL, he uses his religion as a promotional ploy, and think anybody who is a fan of Tebow is an obsessive fanatic who believes he will be a great football player based on the fact that he is such a "good person". But I think the real truth is somewhere closer to the middle of these two extremes.
I haven't ever seen another rookie NFL QB scrutinized as much as Tim Tebow has been thus far. It all started with Meril Hoge going on twitter proclaiming the Broncos have no chance to win with Tebow, blasting his accuracy, his poor performances at practice, and that it would be a joke to think the Broncos could win with him. This seemed to create an anti-Tebow media firestorm that would carry over from the preseason to the regular season. Every so called expert NFL analyst and many ex NFL QBs came out and publicly agreed with Hoge, hammering on his inaccuracy and poor mechanics. It seemed the only people that believed in Tebow where the fans in Denver. Not even his coaches defended him, and someone supposedly "close to the Bronco organization" even made statements to the media that not only was he not deserving to be the Broncos starter, but that he was probably the third best QB on the team!
All this after coming off a 3 game performance as the Broncos starter at the end of the 2010 season that showed some real potential from the 1st round draft pick, and he seemed to breathe life into an uninspired Broncos football team. He played fairly well with the little playing time he got throughout last season, and actually led the Broncos in rushing TDs. As well as bringing the Broncos back in a come from behind victory against the Texans last year in one of his 3 starts as a rookie in which he scored the winning touchdown running the ball and threw for over 300 yards, something nobody seemed to think he was capable of doing. So there was the general perception at the end of the season that he would be the starter going into the 2011 season. Kyle Orton was to be traded to the Dolphins, and Tebow would finally take the reigns as the Broncos new leader.
But then everything seemed to do a 180 for Tim Tebow and the Broncos organization. The Kyle Orton trade fell through, and in came new Head Coach John Fox. Somebody who had no allegiance to Tebow, and was coming off a dismal season with the Panthers and trying to regain his credibility as an NFL coach. So once the anti-Tebow campaign started in the media, Fox was again shoved into the spotlight and Im guessing that is somewhere he did not want to be after going 2-14 the year before with the Panthers. To top it all off the NFL had a lockout during the off-season and Tebow was unable to sharpen his skills during the off-season, much less prepare for Fox's new offensive scheme. So surely the 7 year vet Kyle Orton looked sharper than Tebow did in practice, that combined with the new hailstorm of media criticism Tebow was getting was all Fox needed to make the decsicion to start Orton, regardless of what his record was as a starter with the Broncos and amidst all the protest from Bronco fans.
So the preseason came, and Tebow did not look great, he still looked a little rough around the edges but actually had the better QBR than Orton or Quinn. But it seemed like no matter what Tebow did, all the announcers and media could focus on was the bad. He throws a 40 yd pass, and his footwork was bad. He runs for a TD and all they could say is " he wont make it in the NFL playing like that". No matter what he did, the focus was on the bad, none of the good. Kyle Orton on the other hand was made to seem like he was an elite NFL quarterback with razor sharp accuracy and he gave the Broncos the best chance to win. Even as the regular season progressed and it was obvious Orton was not the answer, it was as if nobody wanted to admit the obvious. It was time to start Tebow.
Kyle Orton continued to play poorly, and against the Chargers, after throwing a league leading 7th interception he was finally benched. In the second half Fox finally gave the fans what they wanted, and in came #15 to a stadium full of fans chanting "Tebow, Tebow, Tebow"!! The excitement in the stadium was apparent, you could almost feel the roar of the crowd through your T.V., and just like he always seems to do he provided a jolt of energy to his team. He looked rusty at first, fumbling a few snaps and throwing some inaccurate passes. But after a few series he got comfortable and started making the kind of plays he is famous for. Scrambiling for first downs and keeping plays alive with his feet. Eventually the energy he provided spread throughout the whole team. The defense started making plays, and guys were hustling all over the field, playing with excitement. He runs for a TD, and passes for another bringing the Broncos within one hail mary shot of winning the game, after it looked as if the game was over in the 2nd quarter. Overall he performed admirably for someone who hasn't had many reps with the first team offense and has been sitting on the bench for the first four games, and ultimately he brought a renewed energy to the fans and the team, something that Kyle Orton simply wasn't able to provide.
But despite his strong performance still it seems like nobody in the media wants to admit that maybe they were wrong about Tebow, maybe Tebow and not Kyle Orton gives the Broncos the best chance of winning. Maybe despite his unorthodox throwing motion and his occasional inaccuracy he posses something that cant be measured by statistics or analysis from so called experts. I am in full agreement that the jury is still out on whether Tebow will be a successful NFL quarterback or not. But what I do not agree with is the so called un biased opinions of all the "NFL experts" and ex NFL players who continue to discount his ability to play despite continued inspiring performaces from Tebow. At this point it seems like a bunch of jealous old players that maybe hold a little grudge against him for all the overwhelming love he gets from the fans. Maybe some of their opinions of him are coupled with some envy that they never had the highest selling jersey as a rookie, or had a whole stadium full of fans chant there name, even after a loss.