NFL

No lack of drama in the Tebow Show

Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos
Tim Tebow is like the NBA. Just watch the last few minutes.
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Greg Couch

Greg Couch has been a national columnist at AOL Fanhouse and The Sporting News and an award-winning columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times. He was featured twice in "Best American Sports Writing" and was recognized by the US Tennis Writers Association for best column writing and match coverage. He covers tennis on his personal blog. Follow him on Twitter.

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DENVER

Just enjoy it for a minute. Just enjoy it. Have fun. The Tim Tebow argument doesn’t matter right now. He’s an NFL quarterback. He’s not an NFL quarterback. Who cares? Don’t cheat yourself out of this buzz.

After playing god-awful for 55 minutes Thursday night, as he does every game, Tebow lined up at his own 5-yard line with 5:54 to play and took the Denver Broncos on a miracle touchdown drive.

“What we were talking about in the huddle as an offense was, ‘You want opportunities like this because this is an opportunity for greatness,’ ” Tebow said. “ ‘We haven’t done anything this whole game, but we have an opportunity to do something special right now. Let’s go out there and do it.’ ”

This guy is as hokey as they come. Whatever. He did it again, scoring on a 20-yard run with 58 seconds to play when the Jets knew he was going to run. The Broncos beat the Jets 17-13, and if Oakland loses Sunday at Minnesota, then Tebow will be in first place.

Enjoy this now, because Tebow can’t keep this up. The guy can’t pass.

He is just all toughness, understanding of the game and intangibles. But at some point, passing has to count.

But who knows? And in a sports world dominated lately by allegations of child abuse and the fall of a coaching legend — as well as an ideal — at Penn State, there is nothing wrong with rooting for Tebow. If you like seeing heroics on the field and a genuine goody-two-shoes off it, well, what’s wrong with that? Maybe this is the guy who isn’t going to get busted with drugs, hookers or guns.

“You could just tell he was very amped up,” Broncos tight end Dante Rosario said of the final drive. “He was very emotional, but in control. You could tell he had that excitement in his eyes like he knew what was about to happen.”

By the middle of the drive, Rosario said, other players started believing, too. The offensive line started demanding, “We’ve got to put it in the end zone.”

Look, the players aren’t wild about the excessive Tebowmania, either.

Athletes don’t like it when some young guy who hasn’t done anything starts getting too much attention. Still, Rosario talked about Tebow’s attitude in the huddle, and how infectious it is. He said when someone comes into the huddle nervous or moping or something else entirely unconfident, that carries over to the other players, too.

Tebow explained his calm in the way you’d think he would: He thanked God, and then said that you have to understand that this is just a game, part of the bigger picture of the opportunity to do the right things and be a role model to kids. He also credited his teammates for every . . . last . . . detail.

See, he says the same clichés that so many others say, but he might be the first guy who really believes it. And it’s also possible that he just doesn’t see how his coach, John Fox, really isn’t into him. Fox never wanted Tebow in the first place, and he was pressured by Tebowmania into playing him.

He has at times run the wrong plays and strategies for Tebow, and seemingly wants to prove to fans that Tebow isn’t good enough. Then, maybe he can get rid of Tebow after this season and get on with building the team the way he wants.

But then Tebow keeps winning.

You should have seen Fox after the game. He was happy about winning, but his first words in the postgame news conference were about injuries. Then, asked about the win, he gave a 69-word answer that did not include the word “Tebow.”

Part of it: “They’ve done it three out of the last five weeks where they found a way in the fourth quarter. I guess that’s why they call it a team game.”

It’s true that the Broncos defense, mixed with the typical up-and-down (and more down) play of Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, kept the Broncos in the game. But it’s a little hard to leave out that Tebow took the team 95 yards on 12 plays. He ran for 57 yards on that drive after having run for just 11 before that. He completed three passes after having completed just six before that.

John Elway, another believed Tebow nonbeliever, was in the room when Fox was talking. And when Fox finished, Elway turned and bolted. Anything to say about Tebow? “It was great. Awesome.”

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen seems to have bought in: “He is what he is. He’s got a long way to go, got some other things he’s got to do. He’s a quarterback. Believe me, he’s going to learn. I believe he’ll be a great one, better keep him around here.”

Those words must be torture to Fox.

WHAT A TRIP

Take a look at the up-and-down career of Donovan McNabb.

It’s too hokey to say this, but there is some mystical quality about Tebow. That’s not to say that God is rooting for him more than for others. But Tebow’s faith gives him a belief system to pull from.

Not only that, but in his explanation of what happened on the last play of the drive, when he broke the 20-yard touchdown run against the Jets’ blitz, he basically gave a course on how to read defenses. It was too long of an answer to put here, but he said, “They were playing the corners pretty hard off, and we ran a three-vertical concept against them. I saw (safety Eric Smith) coming off the left side, and he came and he hugged tight . . .”

It went on and on. You get the idea. And it is doubtful that Sanchez, who is not reaching the heights expected of him this season, could see that much that fast.

Still, Tebow can’t pass. He throws the ball like a baseball, bringing it down and around behind him, where NFL rushers are going to get to it. He’s not likely to fix that.

But in baseball terms, he is a closer. He has the closer’s guts. He even won over Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, who had been critical of him during the week.

“He did it,” Revis said. “Tim Tebow did it. He shocked me. He probably shocked a lot of people. But he did it.”

So get back to your Tebowing. He could be the worst-throwing, winning quarterback of all time. Just enjoy.

Tagged: Broncos, Jets, Dante Rosario, Tim Tebow

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