Think back to the beginning of the NFL season, the end of the NFL Lockout, and the renewing of hope springs eternal that we wouldn't be forced to spend an entire fall dejectedly walking the aisles of Target shopping for new thermal underwear. As a sidenote, if you've never been dejected and walked the aisles of Target looking for thermal underwear, it is an exercise worthy of a few minutes of your time.
I like to quote the "experts" at times like these, not because I dislike them personally or want to see them fail, but because they are actually paid to put out guesses labeled as opinions so that when they are wrong they can simply give the 'ol, "Well, I guess that didn't quite work out. Let's move on and talk about Tiger Woods or Linsday Lohan who really screwed the pooch." Then if they are correct they can always point back to that one time where they were the ones that predicted this and this is why their word should be believed above all else. #lookingatyouWoody
I tend to be of the type that predicts little and then holds these experts accountable after they fail or succeed. I've got the easy job, I get that. Still, at the beginning of this locked out season the experts agreed on a few things:
1. Teams with little turnover and tenured players were going to dominate new teams.
2. The Eagles, a team with big turnover and few tenured players was going to dominate every other team.
3. Tim Tebow's offense would get figured out by defenses within a few weeks.
I want to focus on #3, naturally. This is most definitely the most up and down season I've ever experienced as a football fan. It is only magnified by the Tebow effect, where losses are so much more painful, and wins so much more satisfying (in the "I told you so" kind of sense). The thought behind #3 represents a shadow that hangs over every Bronco success. Like Savage Garden, is this week just a one hit wonder destined for a great memory and the occasional VH1 countdown of has-beens like Lou Bega and the Oneders.
So here we sit, 3-5, one game out of first place and fresh off a big win in Oakland. Still the question must be asked, is Tebow a week away from getting figured out?
Tebow was sold to us by the national media like a Soduku puzzle. Not even a hard puzzle, more like one that was just missing a few important numbers that could be found by watching tape and a box of crayons. The best college player of his generation, perhaps arguably the best of all time; it wasn't beyond the scope of reason, even for experts, to believe that he could find some kind of success in the NFL simply because of his athletic talent running the ball and creating something out of nothing. Could he find success consistently though? No, Tebow never represented an enigma that couldn't be solved by even a semi-intelligent NFL mind. #hellochuckbresnahan
For the armchair GM/Offensive Coordinator/Defensive Coordinator/Talent Scout/Coach/Player this was the perfect challenge for all of us. #videogamesaresoreal
So, like somebody spending extra time in the bathroom after beer and chile at Chubby's #2 working the Soduku puzzle left in the reading basket, the theory is that NFL coaches would just need all the numbers to show up in the boxes and they could get it to add up to 100 up, down, and sideways.That easy. Sorry Tebow fanatics and Bronco fans. Game over. McDaniels was even worse than you allowed yourselves to believe. #halloween2011
This was Tebow pre-training camp. A puzzle that merely needed two or three games worth of tape to figure out and then it was game-over. Puzzle solved. Back to reading Self Magazine and the fifteen best Yoga positions for your abs out of the magazine rack. Maybe you'll even pick up a "love tactic all men enjoy on the last page after 50 perfume ads" you didn't know about. #stickwithblackpanther #smellslikepuregasoline
Defensive coordinators would put the solved Tebow Soduku on a DVD and sell them buy-one-get-one free to every Bronco opponent with a side of Oxi-Clean for the price of a Chalupa... Shipping and Handling not included of course. Except this is Tebow we are talking about here. Nothing happens low-key.
Michael Bay would see a chance to make a few bucks on the side by making it 3D using actors like Jonah Hill to create a Noob adaptation video and Best Buy would sell a Tebow Soduku strategy guide for another $15 bucks if you agree to sign up for their credit card. No doubt there would be a picture of Merril "The world is flat and look at my expansive and awesome necktie" Hoge Tebowing on the front. That was it. The Broncos were merely a fun puzzle to be solved while dealing with a serious case of indigestion between meal courses on the crapper. Figuring Tebow out was going to be easier than figuring out if Juan Castillo's hair is actually a toupee... well, I may have gotten carried away, this actually still may be true.
In their defense, however, was Tebow not the easiest bet for any media personality trying to make a name for himself to take a stand against? The best college player and most popular draftee of 2010 coming out of a decidedly non-professional offense that will NEVER work in the NFL, drafted way too high by a kid coach that got axed for taking an 8-8 team and making them a 4-12 team, finding himself on a team with the only coach in the NFL with a worse record than the man he replaced, with the #32 ranked defense, pathetic run offense, after a lockout, with no OTA's or training camp, and a new VIP of Player Selection in John Elway whose hard-on for a goofy kid named Andrew Luck is matched in history only by Hue Jackson's apparent love for Carson Palmer. What rookie NFL QB could ever have success in this situation? Seriously, it sounds like the plot of the next Saw 12: Jigsaw v Tebow movie.
How lucky for them it was Tebow and his legion of fans the world round. It was almost too easy. It was almost too good. But the Golden Boy hasn't granted them the Golden Touch just yet... and we all know how that turns out in the end. Perhaps they should talk to King Midas.
In reality, betting against Tebow is probably the smallest risk these analysts will ever make in their sometimes jokes of a reporting career. Talk about buy low sell high. Oh to be the guy that predicted Tebow's collapse first if it happens in the end. You could sell that title on Ebay for a lot more than a Chalupa and a box of Oxi-clean. Billy Mays could sell the sh*t out of that.
But here we are at game #6 of Tebow's starting career. 37.5% of one entire football season completed. His record is at 3-3. A smooth .500 and if you divide that by his entire season played percentage you find his average completion percentage. 3 wins, 3 comebacks after being down after halftime. One historic comeback. One loss on the final play of the game. Another near win on the final play of the game versus the same team. This was unexpected.
He is fantasy gold. Entertainment money. Jersey celebrity. Social media phenomenon. Basketball legend BFF and best of all... busted lip, Raider killing, idiot linebacker tempting, zone spread executing, peacemaking, hard hit taking, and black hole embarrassing 245 pounds of enigma who left an entire Oface.com stadium full of fans wondering WTF just happened. Not Tebow. Anybody but Tebow. We hung him in effigy before the game. This puzzle was supposed to be solved before dessert.
Somewhere, something isn't adding up. Up, down, sideways you're positive and negative by 15 and 23 and 24.
Here's what I am starting to not understand. Every game Tebow comes back experts say that defenses "get soft" on the Broncos. They use words like "prevent" (read biggest misnomer of all time). What, a team just assumes once they've put the hurt on Tebow and the Broncos, the Broncos will just roll over and give up? This may have been the case for the majority of games in the past 3 years but if there is one thing about Tebow that should be engraved on the Tebow Soduku Solution DVD... and it should be in big block letters printed on the front of the DVD that they should train their 3-year olds to spell long before their own name:
IF YOU'VE SHUT TEBOW OUT FOR 2 OR MORE QUARTERS DON'T CHANGE A DAMN THING. SERIOUSLY. DON'T DO IT.
How is this not a motto printed on the inside of every defensive players helmet? If defenses are truly changing the way they play how is it possible this fact has not been learned by now? Unless....
It has more to do with the Broncos offense than it does with with opposing team's defenses. Interesting. Perhaps we've moved up from the easy puzzle sections you finished in crayons to the wicked hard puzzle sections only Grandma is smart enough to do in ink.
Game after game the Broncos are showing, as an entire team, that they are adapting to their new style of play. The Raiders even admitted to preparing for it all week and still were unable to stop one of the most impressive ground attacks since the Gulf War.
Do the Broncos have something for the future in this new zone read offense? Who knows. I'm not an expert and I'm sure as hell not about to sound like I know the future because I'm just so smart. What I do know is that Tebow was supposed to have been figured out by now. He wasn't supposed to be 2-1 this season and he most definitely wasn't supposed to find any kind of success running an offense the he dominated in college with because the reigning thought assumes that it just isn't NFL ready.
The NFL is changing and evolving. The game is showing coaches, players, and fans new things every week and there isn't one team that has all the answers. We should be excited as fans that our team is trying something new with one of the most dynamic athletes in the entire game. Elway keeps saying it, Tim is a great football player but he needs to become a great Quarterback. It's hard not to think about how potent our offense can be when Tebow's passing game starts to open up. We don't even have to run the option every play. Is all of Tebow's work as a prototypical QB in the offseason gone by the wayside? Hell no.
Willis McGahee had arguably the best game of his career in an offense nobody believes in. You don't think the Tebow effect has something to do with that? This was a complete team victory but you can't look at the way this game played out without realizing just how destructive our running game can be thanks to the new look Tebow provides. We are at game #9 and we've launched our team into the #5 rushing spot over the past three games.
Where Tebow sucks at passing he is great at scoring, and until passing percentage wins you football games I'm going to continue to believe in a young QB that is finding ways to struggle without turning the ball over... a far more important stat than missing one or two more passes out of every 10 than the norm.
The experts are going to continue to support and bash this Broncos team with every win and loss as they tighten their blindfolds because they like what they see. Every week will be one more week closer to figuring Tebow out and like laundry day I just hope it continues to always be next week.
For the price of a tasty Taco Bell menu item and their pride the buyer of Tim Tebow Soduku just got ripped off. 100x100x100x100 just got switched to 15x23x24x58 and halfway through this season at least the Raiders couldn't seem to figure it out.