If Tim gets sent to JAX now I will be thrilled to support him. So why do I want him to stay in Denver? In 1980 I took a year off from UF to work in Lake Placid during the Olympics. I worked as a waitress and worked on a crew that fed the 400 Alpine event workers twice a day. The night the US was playing the Russian in Hockey, everyone was interested in what was going on in the game. This was in the day before cellar phones etc. so no one knew anything. I volunteered to go to the bar and find out. I got there just in time to hear Al Michaels screaming "Do you believe in Miracles. Yes" I remember running down the hall, and anyone who knows me knows I do not run, and screamed the news. Of course the room went nuts. Total strangers were hugging each other. Over thirty years later I can still remember how that felt. For those of you that are too young to remember this, you have to understand that pride in the USA was a huge part of the story. However the other part is that our team was made up of real amateurs as opposed to the Russians who were pros in everything but name, so this was the ultimate underdog story. Of course the story gets even more amazing as this team goes on to win the gold medal.
For thirty years I have never experienced that same feeling at a sporting event that I felt that night. I have been overjoyed at the National championships won by the Gators in football and basketball. I have been thrilled by the performances of our Olympic athletes. The difference was I expected my teams to be competitive in those games so there wasn’t that true underdog or surprise factor. Enter the 2011 Denver Broncos. The conspiracy theorists suggest that the Broncos put Tim in expecting him to fail. Then his fans would shut up and they could move on. I believe that they put him in since he was first round choice and they needed to evaluate his potential. I do think they expected him to fail. Instead we witnessed what can be described as a miraculous run.
I teach Math at a small private college. When Tim started, my students started talking about Tim’s comebacks. At some point it became the BRONCO comebacks. It was no longer about just Tim. People were noticing how the Broncos had come together. How they never gave up even when logic said that there was no way they could win. People around the country started reporting that in bars and other places where sport fans gathered that the Bronco were being cheered on by lifelong fans of other teams. Even the jaded ESPN workers stopped preparing for a show in order to watch the end of a Bronco game. I do not remember ever hearing stories quite like these before. The closest was the Saints SB win since so many of us were so excited for the city of New Orleans but that still didn’t have the surprise underdog aspect.
Then came the Bronco/Steelers Playoff game. The experts told us that there was no way that the Broncos could beat the mighty Steelers. After all, the Broncos had a QB that couldn’t throw the ball. I think I am safe saying that most of you have stories of how you and your love ones behaved during DT’s remarkable TD run. Were you jumping up and down screaming either in person, if you were lucky enough to be at the game, or screaming at you TV? If you were, you were part of a large group of people all over the country doing the same thing. This is closest I have come to reliving the feelings of that US Hockey victory. To me, the 2011 Bronco season will go down as one of my all time favorite (tied with 2007 and 2008 Gator seasons). It was truly special for the fans but I also think something special was going on in the locker room. I think that the players really did buy in. I think that leaders like Champ and Dawkins came to respect Tim’s leadership and guts. Again, I do believe that we witnessed something special. I began to believe that a new dynasty with Tim leading the offense and Von leading the defense was definitely possible. There were even some signs that Elway was thawing and was prepared to work with Tim on the off season so that Tim could make the necessary improvements to his game.
I would say that the events of the last few days have left me disillusioned but I think instead I am feeling resigned. Though I believe that many of his teammates appreciate what Tim brings to the table, it has been clear from the first that Elway did not and I am sure he still doesn't. He wants a more conventional QB. Fox is pretty much impossible to read. So I am not at all surprised that they are pursuing Manning. I was mad that the JAGS didn’t even pretend to be interested. As a JAG fan I have had the dubious pleasure of watching Mr., Manning destroy our D pretty much every year. Our only saving grace is that our running game sometimes trounced the Colt D but that was hardly Peyton’s fault. In addition, my kids love Peyton and I have to admit that there is an 18 Colt jersey hanging in the closet of this Jag Home.
Peyton could still be a remarkable player and I rather think he will be able to play at a high level for a few years. Why would he risk his legacy if he really can’t play? If the Bronco FO thinks that our team is closer to contending then a lot of us think they are, why wouldn’t they go after one of the best passers in the game, since as much as I love Tim as a player, I know he can’t currently compete with Peyton as a passer. I do find it ironic that some of Tim’s critics keep talking about the Bronco's great running game. The problem with this is that Tim is a large part of the Bronco running game. As great a season as McGahee had, he still had injury issues and is not getting younger. The discussion on MHR has already focused on the need for a new RB. If you ship out Tim, that need becomes critical.
There were a couple of quotes from Tim’s book that I think says a lot about him. The first was :
“ When I hear parents tell their kids today ”It doesn’t matter if you win or lose as long as you have fun,” I’m puzzled. That’s just not how I’m wired. Bottom line losing simply isn’t any fun. Oh sure, in thinking back on plays and moments, I know I was loving every minute of playing the game. But if there is a score, then there’s a purpose beyond having fun-it’s having a greater score Of course, there is intrinsic value in playing to the best of your ability, but at some point, there’d be no point to the rules or to keeping score if it simply and only about having fun.Through my eyes page 12
In T-ball I was friends with the other players, and I remember very few of them that could catch or throw. Early in the game I would tolerate this, but as it got later and more critical to the outcome, I found myself wanting the ball in my hands.Through My Eyes pg 13
Once in the last inning of a close game, the ball was hit to me at shortstop. I fielded it and ran down the runner, who was breaking from third to score, for the final out. After the game, the coach asked me why I didn’t throw it to the catcher. The question puzzled me because I thought the answer would have been obvious to him.
“Because he can’t catch”
“Well, he’s the catcher. You’re suppose to throw it to him for him to try and catch it to get the runner out. That’s how you do it.”
I was sure-no I was positive-that wasn’t how you do it. I wasn’t interested in someone’s “trying to catch” it with the game on the line. I also wasn’t interested in someone’s trying to remember if he was suppose to tag the base or the runner. If he didn’t know what to do , I would do it myself. I would let him try to catch early on, but I wanted to win, and when the game was on the line, I would do whatever I had to do-within the rule-to win the game.
He was describing an incident when he was very young. I think it is safe to say that Tim understands very well the concept of the best player making the play. Up until the start of his NFL career, Tim was always one of the best athletes on the field and was able to run over just about anyone who got in his way. He is learning that this is no longer always the case and he will have to change. You have to wonder if the competitive Tim ever thought that Orton was a better choice at QB. I have to believe that he knows that at least for now, that Peyton is a better QB. This is one of the reasons that I think Tim could co-exist with Peyton.
The other is his religious upbringing. One of the primary tenants of Christianity is the idea of being a servant. You are suppose to humble yourself and put the needs of others before your own. From the above quotes it is obvious the young Timmy had a high opinion of his own abilities. Later in the book he describes the steps his parents took to instill some humility in him. This was a long term project and from what I have seen, they seemed very successful at this. Tim spends a lot of his free time performing some sort of charity work so he seems to get the idea of being a servant. He has also spoken on being respectful and obeying those that have authority over you. I have a hard time believing that Tim is publically ever going to criticize the Broncos. What he thinks in private is another matter. It is easy to believe that right now he is not a happy bunny. I know I would feel unappreciated and betrayed if I was in his place. However, Tim is committed to being a Role Model for kids. How about him modeling loyalty, patience and perseverance? Sometimes you have to step back and let someone else shine. This does not make you less of a person.
The truth of the matter is that Tim has no real say in what happens to him. The Broncos can keep him or trade him to whatever team gives them the most to get him. It not really a question of whether Tim wants to play with Peyton but whether Peyton wants to play with Tim, providing Peyton becomes a Bronco. I would like to think that a guy that has a reputation as an offensive genius like Peyton does could see the potential of finding a way to use Tim’s unique skill set (while Tim continue to work on his passing skill). I think that there are plays that can be run with both guys on the field that could drive opposing D’s crazy particularly if the Bronco use Tim both as a runner and a passer. If there comes a point in a game where the Broncos are in a comfortable lead, why would you want to risk an injury of Peyton? Maybe Tim could do some mop up duty. Both Tim and Peyton have reputations of loving to study tape. It is hard to think of a better person to study tape with if you are a young QB. Then there are the questions about Peyton’s ability to finish the season. Why not keep a back-up that has taken the team to a playoff win?
In closing, I do not think this has to be the end of Tim’s time as a Bronco. I do not want that young locker room broken up. I think that Tim is the rare competitive athlete who can swallow his pride and be back-up to Peyton. However, if the Broncos decide to trade Tim, I sure hope he comes to the JAGS.