The ink is finally dry. It’s official. Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco and Tim Tebow is a New York Jet. Everyone in the Broncos organization says they’re excited (I guess they’d have to), all of the analysts say this is the right move, and most of the fans say they are on board. There are a few Tebow holdouts, but they are painted as an irrational circus, not real Broncos fans. However, there is a very good chance that history will see this as a bad move for Denver.
Manning is obviously one of the best of all time. Not only is he a great quarterback he seems to be a good man. But his days are numbered. He is entering his fourteenth year in the league. His doctors say that his neck is as strong as it ever was, but the probability of a 36-year-old getting injured is much higher than a 24-year-old. Kansas City won a few extra games during the Joe Montana years, but it didn’t really help the franchise, and who did they miss out on in the process? The same could be said for Brett Favre in Minnesota, Donovan McNabb in Washington, and several others who changed teams in their twilight years.
Tim Tebow was a phenomenon last year unlike the NFL has ever seen. But the media obsession with him last fall may have done him a disservice. Caught up in all of the hype and excitement of improbable fourth-quarter comebacks and debating the place of religion in sports was a 24-year-old kid who took over his team mid-season and led them to the playoffs. The Broncos were 1-4. All of the experts wrote them off as done for the year. The same experts who say Tebow isn’t a real quarterback now. The same experts who said that Ryan Leaf would be a great NFL quarterback.
After all of the winning and Tebowmania the Broncos entered the Manning sweepstakes and won. Simply put, the pursuit of Manning was a slap in the face to Tim Tebow and all of his accomplishments. He turned the other cheek as we all knew he would, but the class he showed in his reaction to this decision does not make it the right move. Manning’s best days are behind him. Tebow’s future is still full of potential. With the right coaching and teammates Tim Tebow could be an elite quarterback in a few years, and until then, he has shown that no matter how unconventional or even ugly, he will find a way to win.
John Elway was clearly never sold on Tebow. Now the front office says they are grateful for everything he did last year, but what many Broncos fans hear is ‘thanks for everything, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.’ With ‘The Drive’, the helicopter play in the Super Bowl, and bringing the Broncos from the team portrayed in “The Simpsons” to one of the elite football organizations in the NFL, the city of Denver will be forever grateful to John Elway, but for a large percentage of Broncos fans this is a bitter pill to swallow. Now Tim Tebow heads off to meet a Goliath called New York City. Any chance next fall a 1-4 Jets team will bench a no confidence Sanchez and bow to Tebowmania?
Three or four years down the road, Manning’s storied career will be over and Tebow will be just entering his prime. The Broncos will again be scrambling to find their quarterback of the future and Tim Tebow will be helping the Jets not only win football games, but sell jerseys, tickets and enjoying a national buzz that the Broncos will have willingly passed on for a short-term fix.