Ahead of the Curve

Tebowmania's at fever pitch.

The charmed play of the Denver Broncos wet-behind-the-ears quarterback has created a national buzz which rivals that surrounding Tiger Woods and Brett Favre in their breakout year of 1997.

So recognized and un-marked is Tebow (and weak the GOP field of Presidential candidates) that Republican leaders would not have hesitated in offering the nomination to the traditional Tim under different circumstances (even a straight Cain wasn't gonna unseat The Man Who Got Osama Bin Laden ("It's (not) the economy, stupid").

And tickled pink are NFL Suits & Skirts by the positive effect Tebowmania is having on business, from ratings to merchandise sales (Sidebar: Gotta be a better way to raise money and cancer-awareness than the shocking pink NFL game-gear.  It's time to go).

But because of his atypical, pro-jock persona and overt religiousness, Tim still makes many Americans a little uneasy.  Though I'd hazard to guess many fans would be a bit edgy standing next to most pumped-up pros and their plethora of prison yard tattoos.

The only people less-than-thrilled about Tebow's rising star might be the capable Kyle Orton, Denver's recent opponents and Cam Newton, the early-season rookie sensation.  Not that Camster doesn't feel camaraderie with a fellow SEC, tat-free, positively Pollyannaish QB.  But great athletes have great big egos and the spotlight's swung off Cam and squarely onto Tim.

Patience is a virtue.  Just a few months back it looked like Tim Tebow's days in the Mile High City were numbered.  Low on the depth chart and naysayers casting stones, the cult-hero's faith was surely being tested.

Now he's riding the wave, hoping it takes him and his teammates to football's Promised Land.

I haven't hitched a ride onto the Tebow bandwagon yet.  The reason: he's a run-first QB.  I learned at a young age how such players have a limited impact in the professional game.

It was former Kansas star Bobby Douglas who was the talk of Chicagoland back in 1970, dating a centerfold and making passes at Soldier Field.  Like Tim, Bobby too was pass-challenged, fleet of foot and skittish in the pocket.  Though he rushed for a record 968 yards in 1972 (14), the Bears were a disappointing 13-31-1 in his seven years as a starter.

Tebow's religious faith is strong.  He'll need to channel some of that conviction into believing in himself, his coaches and his teammates if he wants someday to hoist Mr. Lombardi and give high praise on Super Bowl Sunday.

It takes a mountain of faith to sit-tite in an NFL pocket, trust your O-line and absorb the heavy hits necessary to develop your skill-set.  Mobility counts but safety can never be first in the mind of a pro QB.  Either you learn to live with vulnerability (blindsiders) and eat the loss or find a new job.  Hardware hoisting QBs don't learn how to survey the gridiron, read defenses and hit receivers by running routinely in the big games.

Nothing is more thrilling, more endearing to fans than the come-from-behind win.  Those who excel at it are revered.  Montana, Favre, Staubach, Unitas and Elway were masters of the late-game drive.  But their bread & butter was knowing how to matriculate with regularity & precision all season long.  Today it's Peyton, Eli, Tom, Aaron, Ben and Drew who show us how it's done.

Tebow's numbers of late are kinda cryptic (Vikings / Bears): 1 INT, 2 fumbles (31-60 / 438 / 3 PTDs) and an up-tick in scampers (4-MN / 12-CHI).  While Denver RB Willis McGahee motored in the dome (20-111 / 1), when he hits a wall (CHI: 17-34) Tim is off to the races.

Old habits die hard.  Flash Cam hung-tough in early season but is averaging near 10 runs a game in his last four.  Back-to-backs against two of the NFL's more stable franchises will give good indication of TT's progress and just how real is this Denver team.  Last Sunday it was Chicago's defense testing Tebow & Company.  This week it's the Brady & Belichick TD-machine that'll gauge Tim's abilities to pile-up the yardage and put-up the points.

The leadership Tim Tebow's shown in working recent heroics is some of the best of football.  But as he and his handlers know well it's still a work-in-progress.  Keep leading with your head and your arm Mr. Tebow and I just might become a believer...in you.

Street Fare

December 17, 2011  03:51 AM ET

Good job on this blog.

December 18, 2011  05:42 PM ET

Thanks for the read & comment, MJ. Surprised you found my post (or ANY fan's piece) with all the streaming-videos here at SI.com. Holy Toledo! Not good when marketing-spammers are given VIP treatment by content-managers.

December 21, 2011  11:04 PM ET

a very good read it,s refreshing when someone has the decentcy to use an objective eye in a hate first world there is no doubt that tebow is young, and going to make mistakes, and he could fall flat on his face that remains to be seen. as a tebow fan i wish him all the best and hope he has success but if he does not i still thank him for the memories at florida, the kid desrves that much and i thank you for being, honest enough not to down someone for theyre faith but to look at and judge from a perspective that so many lack...good job!!!!

December 25, 2011  01:49 AM ET

I can understand your appreciation for Tim Tebow, given, as you write, the wealth of memories he helped generate in his Florida years. Even with the recent losses (NE / Buffalo), Tims potential to become an All-Pro QB is real. Thanks for reading and the comment, Gator.


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