John Elway has to be feeling good about his decision to pursue Peyton Manning
Trust me. The last thing I want to be talking about prior to a Week 11 contest between the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers that could effectively end the AFC West race is Tim Tebow. Besides Twitter, i essentially ignored the reports that surfaced on Wednesday morning that unnamed Jets were bashing Tebow, going so far as to say he was 'awful'. When John Elway talks, however, Broncos Country usually listens, and with the Broncos 6-3 and firmly entrenched as a Super Bowl contender, Elway had plenty to say in an interview with USA Today.
We've always tried to figure out what Elway really thought about Tebow. What does the greatest quarterback in Broncos history think of the guy who was receiving all of the credit for bringing some of that 'Magic' back to Denver. We would try and decipher every word, break down ever facial expression. "Was Elway happy after a Broncos win?" "Is Elway jealous that Tebow is getting all the attention?" "Does Elway think Tebow is the answer long-term?"
That last question was one that was asked about a million times in 2011. The answer came quickly after the Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning - the Broncos went all in on Manning, essentially telling the world that Elway and the Broncos did not think they could win long term playing that style of offense.
Elway expounded on that in the interview. Elway said he believes moving on from Tebow to a more traditional quarterback was the right move.
"I believe that there are Tebow fans, and there are Broncos fans," he said. "My responsibility is to the Broncos fans, and my responsibility is to (owner) Pat Bowlen and what he wants to do, and that's win championships. "
Manning=Championships. Tebow does not. To Elway, the Broncos were not serious contenders to WIN BIG with Tebow. Many fellow fans, people I considered 'REAL' Broncos fans bought the Tebow hype and are still bitter about the decision.
It's hard to argue with Elway. The Broncos are averaging 30.5 points per game, #2 in the NFL. The best they have done in the last 10 years is 24 PPG back in 2005. They haven't averaged over 20 points per game since 2008. After going through the expected growing pains with a quarterback who was not only changing teams but returning after a year out of football the Broncos have been rolling.
It has rubbed off on the entire team. The defense is playing with a renewed sense of confidence. You can see it - no longer does the defense play in fear of giving up 14 points, or falling behind early. They know if they make a mistake that the offense can pick them up. On Sunday against Carolina, the Broncos fell behind 7-0. Denver tied that game at 7 and the defense started getting aggressive. Even when the offense sputtered a bit in the 3rd and 4th quarters, the defense kept coming, gaining more and more confidence. The result was a decisive 36-14 win.
I know many of you still pull for Tim Tebow. That's ok. But there was no doubt in my mind - NONE - that John Elway, who is responsible for making the Denver Broncos a championship contender each and every year, made the right decision when he chose the direction the Broncos are currently on.
"We want to build something that's going to be solid and be competitive year in and year out," Elway said. "If you look at the good teams and what they've done, they've stacked drafts, and that's really what the goal is: Stack drafts, add smart players through free agency and keep getting better."