I thought it would be Tim Tebow’s last great play in the NFL, but I didn’t want to believe it.
I jumped up and down at the Back Door hollering, spilling beer all over the place, and praising the good football gods as Tebow kissed it into the arms of Demaryius Thomas to lift the Broncos to a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in what may have been the most miraculous play of the 2011-2012 season.
In my head I knew it was over, but in my little beating Broncos heart I didn’t want to believe it. I hoped he had just one more blessed scramble or saintly hurl to get us past the Patriots.
But he’s a mortal. His ribs will crack and arm will tire. That darn Tom Brady proved to be the only football god equal to the hype.
I’ve often said I root for whomever helps the Broncos win, but recent news Denver’s once-lucky rabbit’s foot might have to pack his bags and head for the Canadian Football League has me a bit down. The thought of this guy never playing football again is a good possibility, too.
A year after being two wins short of a Super Bowl appearance, Tebow is seemingly unemployed.
Consider for a moment that for all their hype, not Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson pushed their teams any further into the postseason than Tebow. The former Gator and Heisman winner had more playoff wins than Atlanta’s Matt Ryan until last weekend.
Many people said the guy couldn’t be an NFL quarterback, but I’m quick to point to my favorite statistic — he had a 149 rating against Minnesota in a game last season, which is better than any single game rating Tom Brady had in all of 2012 or 2011. Only once has Aaron Rodgers had a rating that high: a 155.4 against the lowly 2009 Browns.
They said the guy couldn’t be a starter. Consider his 2011 rating of 72.9. Mark Sanchez’s career rating is slightly below that and this year’s performance well below even that at 66.9.
So is Tebow a better quarterback than the aforementioned players? Maybe. Maybe not.
Dependable? You betcha.
Hardest working player in any darned organization? Believe it.
Employable as Jacksonville’s, Arizona’s, Miami’s, Kansas City’s or Buffalo’s starting quarterback? Get outta town, brother.
My solution? Send Tebow to Cleveland.
It would be a great fit — that town needs a hero now that LeBron James has taken his talents to South Beach. New York is an iron-bladed shredder and he will never play serious minutes there. Cleveland would smother him with love and his fans would follow. Tebow — the leader of the Dawg Pound — I can see it now.
The Browns had a pretty dismal run attack last year, only slightly more so than the Packers’ rushing package. With Willis McGahee in 2011, however, Tebow made the Broncos the league’s top rushing team with 165 yards a game. The Brown’s Trent Richardson can be an elite runner and much better than McGahee.
The Browns love to run the ball. There’s hope, yet.
And, Cleveland players — a team full of misfit NFL drifters — are just the egoless, nothing-to-lose kind of guys Tebow can fire up.
But best of all, the Browns would give Tebow the freedom to be himself, make mistakes, fail, expend all that energy, break some bones and finally tear something horrible and career-ending. The guy needs to get beat up and crushed before this league’s fans are ready to kick him to the curb.
But, maybe, just maybe, he’s got some of that luck still tucked away. He’ll likely never win a Super Bowl, but how I’d love it if he’d show up on highlight reels every once in a while and make me spill my beer, again.
Truthfully, I think Tebow will always be the most analyzed NFL quarterback that never really played the game and that’s too bad.
Brian Smith is the city editor for the Clarion and a loyal Broncos fan, even after last week.