I know for some of you here the topic of Tebow is becoming as appealing as your ex-girlfriends three day old macaroni salad. I get it. You are done. Another bite and you are spending your evening worshiping the porcelain throne cursing my fake name and wondering why you took the time to read this opening paragraph in the first place.
So, to those of you at your breaking point please do yourself a favor and cut it off right here. Like that one extra shot of Jim Beam you swore to God you wouldn't touch until that hot dude you thought was a chick bought you another round, this post may be the final brick in the Jenga game that is your emotional stability. Don't say I didn't warn you.
For those of you who have followed me over the past year and a half or so, and if I have built even a shred of credibility with you, please let me cash in on a favor and hold your attention for a few thousand words. This is a topic I want to address one last time. Even I am willing to move on, if for nothing more than the sake of healing.
The topic of Tim Tebow, for better or for worse, has been topic numero uno on this blog, in our local and national papers, and across the internet around the sports world for the past year and a half. Tebow took the NFL by storm in 2010 and he did it as a Bronco. He did it in the face of astounding scrutiny, impressive odds, and with a little extra flair. His is a story that touched many Bronco fans, many non-Bronco fans, and perhaps many soon to be ex-Bronco fans. It's a story that can't be simply shoved under a rug by the newly emboldened fans who have suddenly found the courage with nothing going on to loudly proclaim their exasperation with what they call the "Tebow circus".
Just stop they say, as if we have offended their sensibilities.
This will be the last time I dedicate a post this offseason to one Tim Tebow. Consider it my own personal thank you to him and to MHR who, without their influence and community, I would have spent yet another Bronco season watching games with strangers in a bar debating the pros and cons of taking just one more shot of Jim Beam offered to me by some amorphous stranger five stools down.
This is my story. Tim Tebow through my eyes.
I stumbled onto MHR nearly two years ago. I was drawn to MHR because the Broncos had just done something I couldn't wrap my head around. I needed some answers.
I've been a Bronco fan since I was a kid and as far as I was concerned we were a medium market team that had a fan base that stretched across states because, besides Denver sports, the closest thing they had to professional sporting events was the rodeo and bowling. Still, for as far and wide as we stretched we didn't make too many national splashes. Sure, we'd had our moments in the past, enough moments to make football king in this country for most people.
But not me. I hadn't seen enough of those moments. The Broncos' back to back Superbowl wins were accomplished during an age when I didn't have an expense in the world... and I considered life to be extremely vexing. I was too vexed and too young to play close attention to the NFL.
I became a much more avid fan a year or two after our Superbowls. I watched our Broncos team slowly fall down the mountain they'd spent over a decade with John Elway climbing. Naturally, the more emotions and time I devoted to this team the worse they seemed to do. We were a classicly mediocre team. 8-8 every year and just enough excitement that when we missed the playoffs it hurt more than it should have. This team was mired in the curse of being forever average... and I was fairly ready to accept that.
Then we drafted Tebow and for reasons I didn't quite understand, we became primetime.
I'm no oblivious sports fan. I follow many different sports in some form or another. Proof in point? Just like I learned everything I need to know about wine from the movie Sideways I learned everything I need to know about soccer from Bend it Like Beckham. Suffice it to say, I knew the name Tim Tebow. I knew nothing about the guy, just that he was a pretty good quarterback for a university 3,000 miles from home. A guy many claimed to be the greatest college player of all time.
No big deal. We'd never get him in Colorado.
But then he became a Bronco and with him came a tidal wave of press, national attention, and new fans that threatened to drown the entire Broncos organization. The Broncos and Denver were big, but Tim was bigger. Now this was really interesting. I was ill prepared to understand exactly what the hype about Tebow was all about, other than that he shared a religion that more than half of the country professed to follow.
I don't enjoy being completely out of the loop, or being ill prepared for anything except for apparently calculus and line dancing. It was time to get educated. So to MHR I came. Believe it or not, I stumbled on MHR by simply using The Google. I typed in something like "Broncos news" and here was MHR.
My first ever MHR post was a pretty obvious question about the role 3rd string QB's could have in a football game. Believe it or not, John Bena himself was the first person to ever comment on one of my posts. Talk about leaving an impression. The general manager of this entire blog was the first to answer a total newbie's question. I was impressed.
My first post only received a handful of comments, but my question was decidedly answered. Only 4 of those posters are names I recognize to this day. A couple of them are decidedly missed to this day, a testament to the natural community this blog fosters.
Still, it left an indelible impression on me that in the future this is where I needed to bring my Bronco questions. In some roundabout way, Tebow brought me here. It's a told story many of you may share and I'm sure that only the moderators of this site could confirm. Tebow brought many fans, old and new, straight here looking for answers and minds to discuss with. The first beneficiaries of the Tebow phenomenon was the Denver media and it is a shame that they will always be the last to thank him for that in their hurry to kick him in the ass as he's pushed out the door.
They'll continue to poke fun until they realize the spotlight, that never really cared for them in the first place, left them behind weeks ago and the only ones listening are the semi-jaded fans left behind. Then they'll quietly set down their mic and change subjects to the care of no one. Will we really miss the sarcastic meme's from our Denver media?
The next beneficiaries of the Tebow phenomenon were the fans in Denver. We were suddenly vaulted to the front of the national news feed. Everyone wanted to know what we thought of our new superstar. I believe we were ill equipped to handle that kind of pressure. I mean, what the hell did all these analysts really know about our team? We mid-westerners have a definite way about us, the kind of way that complains that we are never respected enough by those big-city types while out of the other sides of our mouth denounce any bandwagoners on our team and our state.
Tim Tebow blew that pipe dream to holy hell. Regardless of how we felt, the Broncos were big time. It didn't help that our team was on the center stage with the spotlight right on us as we crashed into the gutter as a 4 win embarrassment of a football team. You know what's crazy though? That was the begining of the most interesting seasons of my life.
You scoff at me. I get that. Please hear me out. I've purposely left any stats out of this post. I've left them out because I know that any stat I give to you can easily be negated by another, equally important stat. Apparently even the NFL is subject to the theory of relativity. So all I give to you is what I saw.
I've waded through many posts here at MHR and across the Internet that attempt to tell me what I saw. They attempt to correct what my very own eyes tell me is true with games of fact or fiction. Most of these posters were silent during our winning streak last year, but now that the offseason is in full swing and the reality of actual gameplay can be shrugged off with a few pointed statistics they are back in force.
Here's what you believe you saw... and here's why you are wrong, is what they say. All I can do is shrug my shoulders.
I don't know what else to do or say. I remember the way I felt when we won that meaningless game against Houston. I was there. So was Trinidad Jack and I'm sure he'd be damned before someone told him that was all meaningless. All I can do is remind you how we all felt when we sent Rex Ryan to the hospital after beating his Jets on that electrifying Tebow run. I can only tell you that the pride I felt for the entire team, for this entire town when we beat the Steelers, a team that held us in such contempt as to dare us to even play. It is the greatest single individual Bronco moment that I can remember.
We were never supposed to be in the playoffs but we showed that we belonged. That single pass was the biggest middle finger to every critic the world 'round. Tebow, the guy that couldn't do anything in the NFL, just launched himself into an elite list of Broncos QB's that won a playoff game. A list of only 5 names.
Many of you can think of better ones from the past. I can't. That's it. Right there. That pass. That win. That moment.
So come at me bro, with your stats and your figures, and tell me that it was all the defense and that we won those games in spite of the young man that was destined to be the mere shadow in Broncos history that changed it forever. For all your research, for all your effort, and for all your emotional pain all you'll get from me is a shrug.
I know what I saw. I know what happened during those final few moments of game after game... and I know what I felt just months before as we continued our gutterball seasons of yesteryear with a 1-4 start.
I know what I thought when an entire stadium of fans chanted "Tebow" after a home loss. Where's the stat that explains that?
Strangely enough, Eddie.Teach wrote a post comparing Tebow to Batman that struck me. Tim truly was the quarterback we needed, not the one we necessarily wanted. We needed to find some hope as a fanbase. Tim gave us that. We needed wins and Tim gave us those. We needed to win a playoff game, and Tim and his Broncos came through once again and gave us that.
And then Tim needed to leave... and he did that too with the utmost class.
Without Tebow there would be no Peyton Manning. Without Tebow there would be no dream team for 2013. Without Tim Tebow there wouldn't be thousands of new young Bronco fans sporting their #15 at schools across the country. The cult of personality that is Tebow brought with him a tsunami of fans of all types and ages. It ultimately proved too much for this medium market team that just landed the biggest free agent in NFL history thanks in a large part to the young prospect they quickly showed the door.
So Tim, thank you for that too.
I'm just one fan, but this is my personal story. Wherever this Broncos teams goes in the future, it won't change the way I feel about where we just came from. Some of you are quick to slam this volume of Bronco's history shut because maybe the "circus" offended you. Maybe it was too big, too exciting, too demanding for you.
Your scope is tiny and your memory too short.
So for the love of God please allow those of us in Bronco Country, who feel the need, to appropriately thank the young man who played a critical role in bringing the Denver Broncos back into the spotlight. For what it's worth, Tebow played a critical role in bringing this Bronco fan back into the fold and introducing me to this community.
At the very least he did this team and this city not a single wrong. At the most he set the stage for the unbelievable future we are about to experience. For that is it so strange that many of us want to thank him for the couple of years he spent as a Bronco?
No way. So here's my official thanks. Not only to Tim but to all the "bandwagon" fans that helped make this community so vibrant during his short tenure in the orange and blue. Members like Cyngato and others will be moving on have spent the better part of the past two years sharing in our highs and our lows are owed that much. It's what makes MHR special. It's the community we reach through football and it's not cultivated by stats, it's cultivated by people of all types of fandoms.
When you watch those 2011 highlights and see complete strangers high-fiving and hugging do you think for even one second they cared whether or not they were a Tebow or a Bronco fan? Do you think they cared how many third downs we failed to convert? Do you think they cared that only 50% of passes were completed or that we only scored 17 points?
No. Because football is a sport of emotion. A sport that statistics do a poor job of painting a true picture. The truest pictures are caught on camera during moments that keep us coming back year after year.
Farewell to you, Mr. Tebow. Thank you MHR for once again being the vessel in which fans across the country can share in the memories of the past and anticipate the promise of the future. We are getting off one wild ride and onto another.
There's no reason we can't celebrate the past and what's to come. I think we all need some more shots.