The trade is now finalized, and the transaction is in the books. After a trade that was, and then was not, the deal has finally been completed that sends the Denver Broncos a fourth round selection in exchange for Tim Tebow and brings the most polarizing figure in the NFL to play for the most polarizing coach in the NFL in the biggest market in the NFL. In short, if you thought the Tebow frenzy was crazy before the New York Jets, just wait until the 2012 season starts.
Actually, wait until Mark Sanchez begins to struggle. That's the better moment to anticipate since it's likely to happen given Sanchez's history with the franchise and the scrutiny of the New York media. When it does, Tebowmania will come in full force and call for him to earn some playing time. It's the kind of circus that John Elway was tired of before it began.
Tebow has now officially left Denver and the AFC West. The circus is over and the tent has been taken down. While Peyton Manning brings a blitz of media coverage on his own, there's no denying that it's warranted and that it's interesting for the sake of football -- not because of religious beliefs, a personality or anything else. That makes a big difference for a team and a locker room.
Instead, the Broncos will be the sort of focused team with a natural born leader in Manning that Elway likely envisioned when he first took the exec position with the Broncos. It's a team reborn in many ways under the steady hand of John Fox and the charisma of Elway. And they represent a new type of contender in the AFC West.
There's no doubt the Chiefs are getting better with each new season, and that can only lead to good things on the field. The Raiders have cleaned house, cut costs and brought in a brand new regime after the death of Al Davis and the firing of Hue Jackson. But that will take time.
The Chargers are, well, rather enigmatic for having such offensive potential yet going nowhere fast. They're the yearly favorite, yet they haven't won a division title for a few years.
The Chiefs should be key contenders this season for the AFC West or at least a wild card spot, but the Broncos are favorites for a reason. They grabbed the best available player for the most important position on the field. As much as the other teams want to upgrade here and there, that's what matters most. Deep runs into the playoffs come down to who is playing quarterback, and it's not likely that Carson Palmer or Philip Rivers or Matt Cassel is going to be able to make that run. Peyton Manning brings the most hope, and the Broncos are banking on that.
As for Tebow, the see-saw act that somehow led to so many more wins than expected last season is now gone to New York where the stage is bigger and the lights even brighter. If it happens again, many more will believe. But it's likely the magnifying glass will reveal the reason that Elway wanted him gone all along.