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If you have not heard of Tim Tebow you have been hiding under a large rock for the last half-decade. Tebow was a phenomenal College Football player for the Florida Gators who graduated as the Best College Football athlete in the country with an unprecedented resume that boasted two National Championships and a Heisman Trophy.
Heading into the NFL Draft there were mixed thoughts as to where Tebow would figure. Some had the prospect as a high first round selection and others thought his college talents would not translate to the NFL thanks to a suspect throwing action and passing game. Eventually the Denver Broncos selected him with the 25th pick in the first round.
At the Broncos there was off field turmoil when the head coach, Josh McDaniels, was fired heading into Tebow’s second season. The problem for Tebow was that McDaniels had expended a top 25 pick on the Quarterback. He believed in the kid and he was now gone and his talents as a passing QB in the NFL were not recognized by many other people, especially VP of Football Operations in Denver, Hall of Fame QB, John Elway.
This left Tebow in a precarious position but added to the theatre that seemed to follow the college sensation and sparked the beginning of Tebowmania which swept across the US and around the sports world.
After only 1 win in 5 games the Denver fans pleaded for Tebow to replace failing QB Kyle Orton. The trigger was pulled amid fierce speculation and Tebow was selected as the starting QB in the 6th game of the season.
What ensued in the following few months is now sitting somewhere at the top of sporting infamy and insanity (Tebowmania).
Tebow won 7 of the next 8 games in unorthodox fashion. His passing completion for the season was to end as the worst in the league but he kept winning. The trademark of Tebow was the 4th quarter comeback. Repeatedly, games took a similar path with mediocre to horrendous play for 36 minutes followed by a stunning turnaround and unlikely wins in the final stanza. I can’t even begin to explain some of the uncanny and outrageous stokes of luck that aided some seemingly impossible wins.
With each victory came the stark feedback from analysts about his poor game play. This fueled the seemingly inevitable demise of Tebow but he continued on. He was a force of competitive nature and willed his team to victory. He was unremarkable for most of a game and suddenly unstoppable when the prospects were looking dire. It was without doubt the most unbelievable few months of sport I have even witnessed.
Leading the Broncos with a 7-4 record (8-8 overall) meant a playoff berth. The opposition, the Pittsburgh Steelers, were the number 1 defence in the entire league. The prospects again seemed grim yet once again a determined and freakish game from Tebow got the Broncos to overtime.
The first play in overtime was a Tebow pass up the middle to Demarius Thomas. Most would probably guess an interception leading to a Broncos loss, right? Nope, not for this story… In the 80 yard play the game was over. Tebow had completed the winning Touchdown pass to win the game. The league was once again gobsmacked, the analysts dumbfounded and this kid with a bucket load of intangibles carried the 1-4 Broncos team to a playoff win.
It was impossible to explain most of the time, it was unfathomable the majority of the time, and yet it was so compelling and unparalleled in any sport, across the last 20 years and perhaps for the next 80 too, it had to be seen to be believed.
When first ballot Hall of Fame Quarterback Peyton Manning was released by the Indianapolis Colts he was on the radar of just about every team in the NFL. He had come off multiple neck surgeries and the Colts had slumped to a 2-14 season without their franchise QB. They received the 1st overall pick in the NFL draft as a result of the diabolical win/loss record. The safe play was to pick Andrew Luck from Stanford with the first pick and build the franchise back up to a powerhouse. He was as highly touted as any prospect since Manning left Tennesee in his college days. The Colts elected to go down that path and Manning was a free agent.
Denver, led by Elway, had high hopes of snaring Manning to augment the offence and utilise the wide receivers that Denver had at its disposal. As successful as Tebow was, he wasnt the passing threat that Manning is. The Broncos signed Manning and Tebow was looking for a new starting QB position elsewhere.
Tebow moved to the Big Apple and joined the New York Jets with high hopes of ousting under performing QB Mark Sanchez. Rex Ryan and the Jets mishandled and mislead Tebow as he was never given a chance at starting for the struggling franchise. Sanchez was simply awful and Tebow, but for a few snaps and special teams plays, was overlooked to revitalise the starving Jets offence. Even 3rd string Greg McIlroy was favoured when Sanchez was unable to play through injury.
After a disaster in New York with most of the blame squarely on the Jets for its use of Tebow, the career of the charismatic QB was under threat. He was again released and faced a bleak outlook. In the 2013 pre-season, the New England Patriots brought in Tebow and hopes were raised, even only for a back-up role to Tom Brady. He performed in his usual enigmatic ways in the pre-season and even with genius head coach Bill Belichek and former coach Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator, Tebow was again cut from the Patriots roster.
Tebow sits and waits on the outer, even with many failing QBs around the league, including at his home town Jacksonville Jaguars. His career remains in neutral and his prospects dim. What will happen next in this roller-coaster story, you cannot help but think there will be another chapter to be written before it ends.