Ben Stecker is a native of Colville, Washington and avid sports and Fantasy Games fan. He passionately follows the Denver Broncos, Washington State University athletics, and the Seattle Mariners. Ben currently works on national campaign media in Washington, DC.
Posted by Ben Stecker on March 20, 2012
Tim Tebow – this article starts with that name. Also gotta start by telling you I love Tebow. Loved watching him play and would have loved to have him as Denver’s quarterback going forward. The truth? Tim Tebow is the reason Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco. John Elway and John Fox didn’t draft Tebow, didn’t sign Tebow, and didn’t want Tebow and it’s that simple.
Tebowmania was birthed last year when the Denver Broncos made the decision to pass over Brady Quinn (which was correct) and go with the former Heisman Trophy winner. Was Quinn the better QB? Yes he was and probably still is, but Tebow had the popular support in what looked at the time like a terrible, already lost season. Head coach John Fox had to prove Tebow couldn’t play QB so he could turn to Quinn for the latter part of the season and after Tebow had fallen on his face. One problem – Tim Tebow doesn’t fail. The kid doesn’t know how. One wild regular season ride and improbably overtime playoff win later left Fox and Elway stunned and happy … and totally petrified of the upcoming offseason.
Enter Peyton Manning.
What a gift! As we speak, John Elway should be sending his 32nd gift basket Colts owner Jim Irsay’s way to thank him for the save of another bout of Tebowmania. “How did this happen?” you may ask? Why don’t I tell you?
Peyton Manning is a God amongst mere mortals at the quarterback position. He makes whatever team he’s on a playoff contender just by being its starter and that’s not up for debate. Even if Denver had Tebow’s older brother, one Jesus Christ, as their QB, the world would still forgive them for trying to sign Peyton Manning. I can tell you’re waiting for me to throw out the caveat, “if he’s healthy, that is”. Sorry - it ain’t coming. For starters - 12 teams tried to talk to Peyton, 6 tried to meet him in person, 4 actually did, and 3 gave him physicals and watched him workout, and Peyton impressed all 3. On top of that - his health doesn’t matter to Elway in the least. If Peyton couldn’t play another snap of football in his career John Elway would still be a winner in this deal; which is EXACTLY why he made it.
Of course Elway would love for Manning to be his old, record-setting self while piloting Denver to the playoffs for the next 3-5 years and maybe a Super Bowl. Sorry, but that’s not the biggest perk of this deal for Elway. He’s now free to dismiss the biggest problem he’s had to face since he took the reigns - Tebowmania. That’s right folks - John Elway and the Broncos didn’t just sign Manning for $18 million this year. They paid $18 million to get rid of Tebowmania without any public relations repercussions.
Now Elway can trade Tebow for whatever he can get while citing his desire to “give Tebow the chance to go succeed” and pointing out how they couldn’t pass on Manning who was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Tebowmaniacs will even love Elway for shipping Tebow to a franchise where he can have chance at continued success. The best part? He can do it before we even know if Manning can play and won’t have to suffer the backlash if Manning’s signing doesn’t work out. In one fell swoop John Elway pulled a rabbit out of his hat and did the impossible: He dropped Tebow and will be loved for it. It took talent. It took savvy. Hell, it’s all just friggin brilliant.
Tebow will eventually get a chance to go where he’ll be loved (Jacksonville, Miami anyone?) and Elway and Fox can run their normal offense with a Hall of Fame quarterback. Peyton Manning gets another chance to go to the playoffs and win Super Bowls while cashing a huge pay day (“if he’s healthy …” of course. I’ll say it here) with a $95 million contract. John Elway deals Tim Tebow free of most ridicule and Denver is protected from losing no more than this year’s $18 million due to a neck injury waiver and physical waiver opt-out clause. It’s the definition of a “Win-Win-Win” deal. Everyone is protected!
You gotta hand it to Elway and his front office, they just pulled off a magic trick that 6 months ago seemed impossible . They made Tebowmania disappear. Well, at least in Denver.
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