Once again, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow proved many of us wrong by engineering an overtime playoff win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I'll go ahead and admit from the outset what I planned for this column: a calling into question of how much it really meant that the Broncos won seven of eight after Tim Tebow took over at quarterback. Like most people, I thought he and his team--after losing three straight to end the regular season--would get pummelled by the perennial playoff favorite, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Maybe the Tebow hype was all a fluke, a feel-good story. Other teams have figured him out. He really doesn't have what it takes to play quarterback in the NFL; he'll probably fade into history quietly or at least switch positions.
Or...not. As quickly as Tebow can remind us that Jesus loves us, everything changed. An overtime affair that saw Steeler's quarterback Ben Roethlisberger rally his troops back from a 20-6 halftime deficit ended suddenly on the second play of the extra period with Tebow's 80-yard strike to Demaryius Thomas for the stunning win. I suppose you can count me as the latest to underestimate Tebow, and the latest to be proved wrong.
It's true Tebow did not win the game so much as the Broncos did. Their defense played great (again), Matt Prater's kicking was steady, and John Fox coached a hell of a game.
But while the 46-percent passer only completed 10 of 21 passes, the ones Tebow did hit were big ones. He finished the game--against one of the best defenses in the AFC--with 316 yards passing, two touchdown passes, a rushing touchdown, and no interceptions.
Like him, love him,despise him: What is it about this guy? That he is about the most polarizing player in sports is well-documented. Skip Bayless continues to trumpet Tebow as a winner. Bill Maher hates the way he talks up his Christianity. Grantland has written multiple columns about him. Merril Hoge said he would not be successful as an NFL quarterback, then retracted it. Even former Broncos star and current Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway has been on the fence about Tebow.
When Tebow came into the league, I was sure there was no way he could surpass his two national titles and Heisman trophy at the college level. Now, I'm less sure of that.
Tebow may not set NFL passing records, but maybe it's not so much what he does, but the dramatic fashion in which he does it. Perhaps if nothing else we should all be able to admit that the guy has a little more heart than most of us. And where he goes, a story usually follows. Maybe we should just enjoy it while it lasts, however long that may be.
As for whether or not the Broncos have any shot against the New England Patriots next week? I'm not even going to try and predict that.