This ain't Gainesville anymore.
This is not the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati, this isn't a big rivalry game against Alabama. It's not even the National Championship game against Oklahoma.
This is the NFL, and Tim Tebow is ready.
When the Denver Broncos drafted Tim Tebow in 2010, it satisfied a personal goal of mine as one of the thousands of armchair general managers that our beloved team has. Not only that, I fully believe the Broncos made one of the best moves in franchise history by taking a shot on this guy.
There was a ton of speculation leading up to the draft of where Tebow would land, who would be a good fit for him, what coach he needed to play for to succeed, how he needed to change his throwing motion, et al.
That didn't change the fact that from the minute this guy picked up a football, he was a flat out stud and a leader wise beyond his years. When you are talking about evaluating a quarterback, in my personal opinion, Tim Tebow possesses every single quality you look for that coaches simply cannot coach.
Athleticism. Toughness. Leadership. Poise. Work ethic. Strong arm. Well-spoken. Gamer. Coachable.
You name it, Tebow's got it, except for he doesn't throw the ball the same way Tom Brady and Peyton Manning do, so he should automatically be a third round pick and move to tight end/h-back, right?
Tebow would have gone to the Vikings in the first round had it not been for the Broncos snatching him up right before, and he would have gone to Buffalo in the early portion of the second round at the latest. NFL teams were not buying the crap that was being sold by guys like Todd McShay--they were buying into the man that Tim Tebow is.
Now, Tebow is in his second stint as the Broncos' starting quarterback after the team decided to go with Kyle Orton for the first four-and-a-half games this season. The fans are buzzing, the media is talking, and everyone is watching now as Tebow gets set to make his season debut on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
If you ask me, this is the beginning of something great for Denver.
It's not always going to be pretty, but is it ever? It's not always going to be conventional, but is it ever? When Tim Tebow takes the field, fans are going to be on the edge of their seat until he gives us reason not to be.
When I evaluated Tebow coming out of college, I graded him as a sure-fire top 10 pick. I don't care if you think I'm crazy, it's just the way it is for me. Obviously, Tebow wasn't a top ten pick but I think in the end teams will regret not taking him there.
The arguments against Tebow really back his supporters into a corner:
"When has a Florida quarterback ever succeeded in the NFL?"
"How often do Heisman Trophy winners translate to the NFL?"
"Running quarterbacks just can't make it in this league."
"Tebow's throwing motion is awful."
"Tim Tebow's arm muscles are too big, preventing him from throwing the ball correctly."
"Just because he was great in college doesn't mean he will be great in the pros."
These are some of the many arguments I hear all the time, and frankly I'm glad for all of it to end. The time is now for everyone who supports Tebow and all those who don't believe in him to let it be. Stop saying what Tebow is going to do and watch his career develop.
Pretty much everyone and their dog has offered up an opinion of what the future might hold for Tebow, and at this point, the rest is going to be up to Tebow and the Broncos to show what they are made of, starting with the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
If it doesn't end up working out with Tebow, I don't think the Broncos should be chastised for drafting him, but you know the guys who predicted his downfall before he ever got a chance will be glad to go on air and let everyone know they were right about Tebow failing, and how the Broncos wasted their time.
I don't see that happening.
This guy has something that very few people--much less football players--have in today's world. He's a natural born leader and he thrives under pressure. I always go back to the quote from the movie Remember the Titans:
"Attitude reflects leadership."
I think the attitude of this team will change drastically now that the leadership of the team has changed. That is no offense to Kyle Orton, who by all accounts is a great guy, it's just that Tebow approaches the game quite a bit differently.
Is it not comforting to know that our quarterback is a guy who is the first one to work and the last one to leave?
Tebow isn't the only guy on the Broncos who works hard, but when you have a young quarterback as charismatic as he is, he's going to receive quite a bit of attention.
There are other aspects of this game to be focusing on, for sure, but Tebow will dominate the headlines for the rest of the season, win or lose.
The Broncos' success in the future depends on these last 11 games, and largely on the play of Tim Tebow as well. As I have said before, if Tim does well and the Broncos start winning games, this team can use the draft to focus on building around him.
Ultimately, that's what I think will happen. I am not sure what Tebow's future looks like, but I know that I have always maintained a belief that he will be a winning quarterback in the NFL, and furthermore I think he can be a star in this league at some point.
It all starts in Miami. The Broncos are taking their talents to South Beach and I am extremely excited to see what the future holds for this group of guys. Contrary to what some people think, I believe the front office does believe in Tim Tebow and I think they were just like the previous regime, which was simply taking it slow with him.
The only reason there was controversy this season is because Tebow came in at the end of last season and played well, something not a lot of people expected to happen. Then, in what appeared to be another blowout against the Chargers, Tebow came in and played well once again.
We have a very limited sample to take from this guys career--only 14 quarters to this point--so obviously there remains a lot of skepticism about Tebow's future.
I think it's been a long time since the Broncos have had a guy like this, and I think that the front office and coaching staff see what he is capable of doing when the pressure is highest.
At this point, we've heard from players, coaches, analysts, fans, and pretty much everyone else who has not been living under a rock.
Now is the time for Tebow to prove to us what he's all about. Now is the time for the Broncos to give us more than just a glimpse of the future.
Our future is now.