Bena’s poll this morning (and all due respect to our board leader) demanded the split. There was no option C (or D, E, etc. for that matter). From a clarity standpoint and a desire to check the pulse of the nation, I get the desire to do so. The problem with it is I don’t think it accurately reflects a large contingencies true feelings. It also forces people to choose sides, then defend (and the polarization and name calling ad nauseum).
When arguments run hot, like the Manning/Tebow debate, camps tend to polarize. The arguments become one or the other. For whatever reason, it’s in my DNA to be more of a centrist. I was the peacemaker in my family and I wish to offer that take here to my MHR brethren.
I offer this: sign Manning to a contract with contingencies (based on health), a fair amount of money up front (because that’s what the market will demand in order to get him here), and tell Tim, you’re going to get the schooling of a life time. Much of the argument against Manning has been his body. There’s a reasonable concern there and the Broncos must continue to do their due diligence (I say continue because I choose to believe they are doing so -- I don’t take EFX for fools). At the same time, the truly unique asset Manning has and the one Tebow can learn the most from is his mind -- the way Manning sees the defense, the field and the game. I’m not suggesting Tim try to become Manning. Rather, I’d like to see him take pieces of what Manning does and add it to his already impressive set of skills.
Manning and Tebow are both unique talents -- Manning is simply far more polished and proven. One of the arguments against the two of them coexisitng I’ve seen is about Manning’s previous backups (Sorgi and Painter are brought up). These are silly comparisons in my opinion because neither of these QB’s were being groomed to replace Manning -- they truly were clipboard holders. Manning’s future, in a best case scenario, is relatively short. Three years is likely it.
I’ve heard people say Manning is not a teacher. I don’t know if that is or isn’t the case and frankly don’t care. I don’t want him to teach Tebow, except by example. I want Tebow to soak in what he sees, sit in film sessions, ask questions, walk in the footsteps, etc.. Again -- this is not to make Tebow Manning, this is to stretch Tebow in that direction.
The other thing is the idea that Tebow is different and more dynamic type of athlete/football player/QB than either Sorgi or Painter -- there’s really no argument there. That brings up the tantalizing possibility of using them together in some fashion -- whether it’s Tebow alone in certain situations or a wild hybrid with the two of them in the backfield for special calls. This fits Tebow best because, truth be told, at this moment he is a specialist. He’s not a complete QB in the fashion that Manning is -- to say otherwise is foolish. But to suggest Tebow isn’t valuable (especially when properly aligned) is equally foolish. Former Indy GM Bill Polian (the man who drafted Manning) suggested exactly this tack this morning.
Like all great leaders, Manning has a way of getting the best out of those around him. Tebow has a way of exciting his teammates, for sure -- but he doesn’t get the best out of them because he can’t use their talents yet as his skill set doesn’t meet theirs. He is a force of nature. As impressive and exciting as it is to watch him bull his way through, it’s not a good way to a long career (as we saw in the New England game). Tebow took a lot of hits last year, even when he was dictating them -- eventually that adds up. The idea is to limit him as he learns.
To the end of Manning's health and the unknowns -- all the more reason to keep Tebow. I see this as a year-by-year experiment. We don't know what they can do together. The possibilities are very exciting. And as much as fans would like the solidarity of knowing things for sure, this is the NFL and careers/franchises are turned and lost in a single play/injury.
Finally, there’s the fan base. And let’s not fool ourselves, it matters. What if you can combine the passion of the Tebow fans, Manning fans and Broncos fans? Come on! That’s awesome! I realize the biggest buy-in would have to be from the die-hard Tebow fans who feel he is ready now and should be traded if Manning is brought in. But in watching Tebow I feel he is nothing if not a good foot soldier. He knows his role and will play his part with full determination. He is an awesome talent and an even better person. This may be a bit of bitter medicine to swallow, but I believe Tebow understands we must taste the sour to know the sweet.
To summarize: I choose option C.