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I’ve been a bit of a Tim Tebow fan from the moment I first heard of him while he was playing college ball. But when the Denver Broncos took him in the draft (2009 if memory serves), I became a much bigger fan. During his stint with the Broncos I quickly became a HUGE fan.

When hearing of Peyton Manning considering the Broncos as one of a few teams he was considering signing with after being released from the Colts (Mar 2012), I had some uneasiness…I like Peyton a lot (both in football and in character) and think he’s a great quarterback, perhaps the best in the league during our lifetime. But I had concerns about how Manning coming to the Denver might affect what happens to Tim and the Broncos.

More Than Winning

To me football is much more than just winning…more than what has become the ‘business of winning’. I know many folks, including John Elway (Broncos Exec VP of Football who we all respect), think winning is the only thing that matters when it comes down to it. It’s a job, highly measured on performance. Everyone wants a Super Bowl ring (or another for their collection). But I think many others, like me, think that having an awesome and exciting season…game after game means an awful lot to us fans, and maybe even more than winning the Super Bowl. And let’s not forget how ‘Tebowmania’ filled seats at Invesco Field at Mile High, and made us all proud of all of the Broncos.

To me it’s kind of like an analogy of life…learn to enjoy the journey, don’t just focus on the end result ‘no matter what it takes’ (which for many the end result of achieving of their life’s goals can be disappointing and anti-climactic).

The idea of looking at tough decisions in football (or other sports) as just being responsible to do your job well, which in sports is to win (usually no matter what as long as it’s ethical) sounds more like some big corporation making decisions based on the effect of their bottom line…which most would look down on if some of the consequences affected people negatively.

After all, the justification for what might seem like radical and often painful decisions are often couched by ‘it’s just a business decision’.

Every game I watched Tebow play with the Broncos was exciting, even if we lost. I never enjoyed football so much, and never attended so many games. Guess I’m not in the sports business so it’s more to me than the bottom line and a trophy.

Tim’s Future

I’m fairly confident that whatever team Tebow plays for will benefit from his energy, immensely up-beat attitude, his beliefs (for some), AND his football skills, especially during Q4 in the red zone. And the role model he is both on and off the field is one of those intangibles that everyone talks about with Tim. You get much more than a quarterback when Tim is on your team.

As of March 21, 2012 looks like the NY Jets have picked Tebow up on a trade from the Broncos for a 4th round and 6th round draft pick and about $2.53 million dollars, in trade for Tebow and all that goes with him (a.k.a.”Tebowmania” and all his intangibles), and giving up a 7th round pick.

To me it doesn’t sound like a good fit for either Tim or the Jets. I’m not sure if ‘Tebowmania’ will be as intense or welcome in New York as it has been in Denver (that may depend on how much ball time he gets and under what conditions), and it probably won’t sit well with Sanchez, the Jets quarterback (who just sealed another contract with the Jets for $40.5 million). If I recall correctly Sanchez hasn’t handled very well some of his less than perfect performance or the reaction of the fans to that performance…some might call him fragile in that regard. So it could be devastating to the Jets if (or when?) the crowd starts chanting for Tebow after a bad performance by Sanchez. Think of how hard it was for Kyle Orten with the Broncos.

How will it work?

  • Will the Jets trade off some of their 2nd and 3rd string QBs to make room for Tim?
  • Will they play the ‘option’ and ‘wildcat’ type of offensive plays to take advantage of Tim’s running abilities as anticipated?
  • Will they let him throw on occasion to keep the defense off-balance?
  • Will they only put him in when in the red zone, or during short yardage plays for a quick run?
  • How much bench time are we talking about?

All unknowns… which I guess the Broncos weren’t interested enough to find out since they’ve got a pretty sure thing in Manning.

Manning a Denver Bronco, No Plan “B”

Sure, Manning will do really well for the Broncos, and I’ll have fun watching, and I’ll grow to be even more of a Manning fan in time and probably even see how this probably was a really good move for the Broncos, even giving us a realistic shot at the Super Bowl over the next few years. We welcome Peyton to Denver, and are excited he is here. We hold him the highest respect. We’ll root him on…

Having Manning with the Broncos also means that Denver will attract some other great free agent talent that will help bring the Broncos to a new level, and will also create much higher expectations for the Broncos (even in the short term). Elway says “there is no plan ‘B'”. They are going to win all the way with Manning.

At the present time it doesn’t even seem like the Broncos have a strategy in place if Peyton gets hurt again. It’s going to be all Peyton all the time, and praying he doesn’t get hurt.

The Broncos do have a contingency in the contract with Peyton that if he doesn’t pass a physical after the 2012 season he will not be cleared for completing his contract for the remaining years and the Broncos have an out, but if he does pass his physical he is guaranteed the next 2 years and $40 million for those next 2 years. The contract is $96 million total for 5 years.

Some of the unknowns that come into play with Manning in Denver as a Bronco:

  • His health
  • The fact that he didn’t play at all last season
  • His age
  • The weather in Denver
  • And a whole new team, new offense play book, and new environment.

But the Broncos are confident that he’ll overcome, adapt, succeed. I hope they’re right.

Personally, whether I’ll fork up the cash to attend games, and how many, is yet to be seen (especially since I’m fortunate enough to have a beautiful 60″ HDTV). But I’ll still remain a Broncos fan, and will look forward to several good seasons with Peyton leading the charge, and expect some great Manning football action. As usually I can’t wait for football season to start!

End of an Era

But to me, as good as Peyton Manning is and how hopeful the future is for the Broncos, it is still a great loss to see Tebow leave Denver and the Broncos. I’m still reeling from the shock.

Definitely the end of an era that can’t be recaptured, and that sort of thing always feels like a loss even if the next era seems to be just as good or better. Kind of the difference between ‘logical’ and ‘romantic’. Yeah, we’ll win some games, and maybe even a Super Bowl, but will it be as fun and heartfelt? Hopefully we’ll get that romantic feeling again with the Broncos that we enjoyed during the Tebow era. Will that even matter if we win another Super Bowl?

And I’m not sure that trading Tim was the right thing to do. Tim has been ‘the face of the broncos’ for about one full season, and though it’s been a roller coaster it’s been a fun ride. I can only wonder what it would have been like if Manning and Tebow were on the same team for a few years, putting some plays out there that would stump most defenses. Guess I’ll never find out.

It’s also interesting that you don’t hear Kyle Orton’s name very much during all of this moving about of quarterbacks (except for that Brady Quinn will now be playing under him with the Chiefs). I never thought Quinn would amount to anything with the Broncos anyway, so the Chiefs can have him.

All in all to me the situation is bittersweet…looking forward to see how the Broncos develop as a team with Manning at the helm, but it definitely leaves me with a saddened heart to see Tim leave Denver. I’ll be rooting for Tim no matter which team he plays for, because when it comes down to it in my heart we are still on the same team, and we’ve always had Denver. Thanks Tim.