John Fox did his best Muhammad Ali impersonation during his weekly press conference earlier today, rope-a-doping around questions regarding the future starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos. When asked if, after yesterday, Tim Tebow gave the Broncos the best chance moving forward Fox admitted that a decision had not been made as of yet:
"That's something we'll evaluate; we'll meet. I'll have the team in, and with all due respect for what you guys do, the way we will operate is we will communicate with the people involved and the team long before we announce it to you guys. That won't be happening today because we don't see the team until tomorrow."
In other words, the media in the room are on a need-to-know basis and they don't need to know. When pressed, Fox admitted that there was a 'likelihood it would be addressed tomorrow (Tuesday)."
Does it really matter? Tim Tebow will be the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos - likely in the shot gun - when the team comes back from their by with a trip to Miami to face the Dolphins. Denver has never beaten the Dolphins in South Florida - they did win Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami - but at 0-4, Miami has struggled even more than the Broncos.
Thrown into an already wild situation is the fact that Miami is honoring the 2009 Florida Gators football team, something that is being call a 'Gator Reunion'. Tim Tebow was, of course, quarterback and captain of the 2009 Gators. While Miami is in Florida, of course, they already have a pretty good college football team that plays in their stadium - the Hurricanes. There are also a few other high-profile college football programs in Florida, including Florida State and Dolphins' Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall's alma-mater Central Florida.
For Dolphins PR, having Tebow not only be part of the reunion simply by being in the building on October 23rd, but STARTING at quarterback for the Broncos, is a major coup. It also stands to be a huge pro-Tebow crowd in Miami - another bonus for the Broncos.
We'll have more on that leading into next week. For now, however, we simply wait for John Fox to make the announcement we all know is coming - Tim Tebow will be the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos for the rest of 2011.
Is there any other way John Fox can go? No way, and not just because the fans want Tebow to play. I'd like to think Kyle Orton's atrocious play was the reason for the change, not the booing fans - they'll find something else to boo about - and Orton's benching was clearly deserved.
We have learned, however, that once you bench a veteran, you've lost the veteran. Remember Jake Plummer in 2006? He admitted, in Stefan Fatsis' book A Few Seconds Of Panic that he didn't even study the game plan after being benched by Mike Shanahan. That was painfully obvious when Jay Cutler was injured in the season finale against the San Francisco 49ers.
Sure, Brady Quinn is still an option, but is there really any difference between Orton and Quinn? Not really. So that leaves Tim Tebow - who will have an 11-game audition to prove to John Fox and John Elway that he deserves a shot to be the future in Denver.
This plays right into what we've been talking about all season. I always felt Tebow would get a chance this year - it was simply a matter of how many games - and that he would need to wow the coaches. What he HAS to do is up for discussion, but at 1-4, the Broncos are heading for at least a Top-5 pick. With a brutal schedule which includes surprise first-place teams (Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills) along with teams that will be fighting for playoff births (New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, New York Jets), the Broncos have their work cut out for them. Do the Broncos hand Tebow the keys to the car in 2012 and beyond if they are sitting in the Top-5, with one of the three top-quarterbacks staring at them?
That's a question we'll have plenty of time to answer. For now, it doesn't matter. Tim Tebow will be the quarterback of the Broncos, and even though my head tells me he has an uphill climb ahead of him, my heart is hoping beyond hope that the search for our quarterback is over. The Broncos have so many holes, if one could be filled it would bring the light at the end of the rebuilding tunnel that much closer.
Last week I asked you how many games would be fair to evaluate Tebow. 42% of you said 6-11 games. Perhaps that was because you wanted the change now, and it mattered little. But now that it appears that 11 games is what Tebow will get, we'll prepare to evaluate Tebow and his prospects as a future quarterback in the NFL. No more cupcakes at the end of a season, playing in games that don't matter to either team. Tebow will play meaningful games, home and away, against great teams and bad teams, and we will ALL see soon exactly what he can do.
Perhaps that is the thing I am most excited about. No matter what you think of Tebow, we will ALL see soon. He is going to get the shot so many of you wanted so badly. It's now in Tim Tebow's hands. Fair or unfair, he has 11 games against some brutal opponents to prove it to everyone - or John Fox/John Elway - that the Broncos have no need to draft a quarterback in 2012.
Hopefully we can put the quarterback controversy to bed here at MHR as well. Tebow is going to need all the help he can get, and as I said with Kyle Orton, I support whoever is under center - or in the shot gun - come Sunday. I supported Orton and I will support Tebow.
There is no denying the electricity that filled Sports Authority Field yesterday, even in defeat. If the losses continue to mount it is unlikely even the Tebow magic can overcome it. But what if they don't? What if Tebow shocks the world....AGAIN? No matter what my head says, it is time to follow my heart again. I'll leave it to others to talk about how right they are, how 'real' they are, how we shouldn't get excited. We are fans, get excited, and at the end of the season let the chips fall where they may.
That's all Tebow wanted - a fair shot - and now he'll get it, for better or worse.