(A while back, I wrote a short serial play about Tim Tebow and the Broncos over several weeks in a different forum. I thought it should be here with its brothers.)
The Denver Broncos drafted Florida quarterback and controversial, devout Christian Tim Tebow in 2010. In the 2011 season, an injury to starter Kyle Orton forced Tebow into action. The great John Elway had just been made General Manager of the Broncos and his coach was, and still is, John Fox. A just-ended short coaching stint by Josh McDaniel, a young disciple of Bill Belichick, had included the risky move of drafting Tebow in the first round of the 2010 draft. I'm not going to get into Tebow here. He brought a Messianic circus with him wherever he went, he polarized the football community, and has been dissected endlessly. At the time Orton got hurt toward the beginning of the 2011 season, however, no one knew what exactly to expect if Tebow were to play.
My first reaction was this...
Part of me says " This will be the most unique NFL team to watch and Tim Tebow will be great and go down in history as the most fascinating QB story in the history of football."
Part of me says "Mssrs. Fox and Elway figure he'll get crushed over and over again by 300lb defensive ends, blazing fast 265lb linebackers with a head of steam, as well as the occasional safety with a 15 yard blitz head start and no fear of a roughing the quarterback penalty; he'll last a game if that and then they won't have to deal with this crap anymore."
All of me says "Must.... watch.... Broncos...."
As it turned out, neither actually happened and a fascinating half-season stretch of football became polarizing television viewing.
I wondered what conversations were like during that season, when the team rallied around Tebow to go 7-1, then lose the last three games of the season to finish 8-8, then shock everyone with a wild card playoff win (round 1) over the Pittsburgh Steelers before losing to the New England Patriots in the divisional round (round 2).
Maybe, I thought - ok, hoped - it could have happened this way...?
Bye week-- October 16
Elway: "Just play the kid, John. We'll lose horribly, the fans will understand, we can move on, and blame it all on McDaniel."
Fox: "I hope you know what you're doing..."
After an Oct 23 18-15 overtime victory over the Miami Dolphins--
Fox: "Thanks a lot John. Now what?"
Elway: "Give it time, kid got lucky. Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl for Pete's sake. My high school team could beat Miami."
On October 30, the Broncos lost to the Detroit Lions--
Fox: "You were right, John. Guess that's why they pay you the big bucks."
Elway: "Yup, just one more week and we're home free. Maybe we can still get Luck-y. Sorry, couldn't resist. You know, I was a quarterback at Stanford...."
Fox: Rolling eyes....
After defeating the Oakland Raiders on November 6 :
Fox: "What the f---! Carson? Hue? What the f--- was that?!!!" (Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer and Coach Hue Jackson, after Oakland went all Oaklandy and sucked against the Broncos).
Elway: "No way out... No way out..."
The next day, November 7--
The mens room of the Broncos training facility.
Fox: "John, there is one way, you know."
Elway: "The nuclear... option?"
Shakes his head.
Fox: "It's the only way."
Elway: "But, John, the code. I can't do it to another quarterback..."
Fox: "They're really more like guidelines. And he's not really a quarterback..."
Elway: "He'll last a half, tops... Ok... Just come up with something. You know, the usual. Putting him in the best position to help the team. Trying to take advantage of his 'special' talents. I'm not going to lie to the fans, John."
Fox: "Leave it all to me....."
Tim Tebow rises from the bathroom stall, grinning and rubbing his hands together, .
On November 14, a day after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs-
Elway: Frowning and shaking his head.
Fox: "You know, John, we might have to consider the possib---"
Elway: "Don't even say it."
Fox: "I'm just think---"
Elway: "Don't say it."
Elway: "Noooooooooo!" Puts hands over ears. "I am not listening to Coach Fox. I am not listening to Coach Fox."
Elway drops hands from ears.
Fox remains silent then speaks as fast as possible.
Fox: "MaybeGodactuallyisonhisside." Ducks.
Later that day...
Mumbling to himself, walking down the hall...
Elway: "I need an old priest and a young priest... Wait, that won't work. Crap!"
Knocks on door to Fox's office. There is no answer. Elway opens the door. Fox looks up from bended knee, tears in his eyes.
Elway: "What the ....? Are you........ TEBOWING?!"
The Broncos went on to win 4 more games in a row. Two of them were in overtime. Television football studio analysts were tiptoeing the line of actually proclaiming divine intervention on Tebow's behalf. After 3 losses to close the season, the Broncos slid into the playoffs. They then defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers at home. In overtime. On an 80-yard touchdown pass from Tebow to Demaryus Thomas on the very first play.
Fox: "A playoff win! A freaking playoff win... John?"
Elway: "Hummina, hummina, hummina... Belichick better do me a solid next week. He and Brady still owe me for all those tapes I sen--- Never mind..."
Epilogue: Following a complete destruction by the Patriots the following week (45-10) in the divisional playoffs, the Broncos lured Peyton Manning for the 2012 season. Tebow spent an horrific year with the Jets, then one training camp with the Patriots in 2013, and is out of football. He did have a pretty awesome Super Bowl ad in 2014, though.
NFL Football History will show that Tebow was a tremendous football player, a hard worker, and a horrible professional quarterback who refused to switch position.
But for that one glorious half-season, we were entertained.