Nobody did anything bad to Tim Tebow on Monday, although expect to be fed that narrative a lot as Peyton Manning as a Denver Bronco becomes officially official.
Just know the premise is fatally flawed. It is not really about Tebow at all.
The young Broncos quarterback did not get screwed. John Elway did not wrong him by openly coveting, stalker-ishly pursuing and finally landing Manning. Nor is this a referendum on belief, proof to some that God is not great or faith is fleeting rather than a case of a Super Bowl winner versus a young kid trying to prove he belongs.
The NFL offseason is all about doubt, if we want to frame this in religious terms. The good franchises are always wondering if they have the right guys, taking care not to fall in love with guys just because they are their guys, looking to upgrade even from a place of strength.
The best ones wake up at 4 a.m. wondering if it is time for the franchise player everybody loves to go. This is how Manning — the greatest quarterback Indianapolis ever has had — was free for the signing this offseason. The Colts decided they liked their memories of Manning better than the reality of a 36-year-old with a history of neck problems.
Nostalgia kills teams in capped leagues, as do its friends mania (e.g., Tebowmania) and sanity (e.g., Linsanity). The best general managers approach their talent like Derek Jeter does dating — thrilled with what he has at that moment but always looking just in case.
So nobody did anything bad to Tebow. Doing their due diligence on Manning was the exact right call by the Broncos. Every NFL team, save maybe six, should have inquired about replacing whomever they had with Manning. He is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. He is certainly one of the more diligent and motivated, traits likely only to be heightened by the Colts’ decision.
The biggest questions are Manning’s age and his health. These are legit, although I would not bet against him. And it was a no-brainer for the Broncos to sign him.
If we are being honest, there are a lot of teams in the league who would be better off with an old, slightly broken Manning than a good-just-not-quite-good-enough-yet quarterback. Denver was just smart enough to admit its doubt.
Not that anybody doubted that doubt.
I half expect for Elway to start the Manning press conference by thanking God he no longer has to have Tebow as his quarterback. One of the side benefits of the Manning signing is we will no longer have to watch Elway’s pained expression after Bronco wins — the whole “I know I am supposed to be happy, but now I am stuck with this Tebow guy” look he painfully perfected a year ago.
Just like you cannot be kind-of married, you cannot kind of have a quarterback. This was the fatal flaw of what the Broncos did a year ago when Elway and John Fox practically wore T-shirts that said “WWJD? Give me a better QB!”
This was when Denver was unfair to Tebow, not this offseason.
The Broncos did what you are supposed to do in the offseason, got better. I am not saying they will keep Tebow, but they should. He’d be a great fit, a good backup learning under one of the best. And if reports of Broncos types planning to pull him for Brady Quinn — Brady “bleeping” Quinn, of all people — a year ago did not crush Tebow, I almost guarantee he’ll be able to handle backing up Manning.
If not, or more probably if Elway uses this as a chance to wash his hands of Tebowmania, I very much believe Tebow deserves a chance to go elsewhere and be a quarterback.
Yes, a quarterback.
He proved a year ago that he has that ability and just needs a team who believes in him. Of course, belief seems to be in short supply with regards to Tebow yet again. Manning as a Bronco somehow has become a referendum on belief, proof to some that God is not great or faith is fleeting or, more ridiculously, that Tebow’s deep and abiding religious faith has been proven flawed.
It is not unlike what comedian and screaming liberal Bill Maher implied with his Christmas Eve tweet: “Wow, Jesus just (expletive) #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler ‘Hey, Buffalo’s killing them’.”
And while I edited out the really naughty words, his point is obvious. When bad things happen to Tebow, it is proof that faith is flawed. What everybody trying to turn this into just another religious debate needs to accept is doubt is part of faith, in real religious matters and in football. The truly faithful question and wonder and have doubts. They doubt what they know. They doubt what they do not know. They doubt what they believe.
This is not a sign of weakness but rather strength. It allows them when they get to the real test, whether that be a season or one of those tests life is always throwing at us, to know that which they have built their faith upon is solid.
Of course, I do not believe anything bad happened to Tebow.
It is the NFL offseason. It is all about doubt. The season is about faith, and I have faith that Tebow will be just fine whatever uniform he ends up wearing.