Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As a football fan, you almost have to feel sorry for soon-to-be former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. He’s gone from nearly reaching the pinnacle of the NFL to being persona non grata in less than four months.
It was January when Tebow led the Denver Broncos to the NFL playoffs and a first-round victory over the always-stout Pittsburgh Steelers. But since then, the Broncos decided to move on from the quarterback who revived the franchise last season.
Broncos vice-president John Elway was never comfortable with Tebow as the team’s starting quarterback. While he enjoyed the victories and the playoff run, Elway always wanted a way out from having Tebow as the team’s starting quarterback.
When Peyton Manning became available, the Broncos went all-in to acquire the future Hall of Famer. All the while, Tebow was left hung out to dry by the only NFL franchise he had ever called home.
Then Monday, before the contract with Manning had even been signed; the Broncos let word leak out they were prepared to trade Tebow to the highest bidder. The only problem for Tebow was that no team was going to bid much for a quarterback who needs his system in place to succeed.
Tebow excels at running a spread-option run-based attack for an offense. Denver realized this quickly last season and installed a version of the Urban Meyer offense for Tebow to run. Tebow did it well, but his passing numbers remained abysmal for the season.
During the 2011 season, Tebow was 126-271 for 1,279 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. His completion percentage of 46.5 percent was one of the worst in the NFL and his quarterback rating of 72.9 was also near the bottom of the league for starters.
But, much in the same way it used to be said about former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cris Carter [“All he does is catch touchdowns], all Tebow did was win games.
Tebow took over for the Broncos in week four and proceeded to reel off a 7-1 record over the next eight games. The Broncos struggled down the stretch with losses against New England and Kansas City, but then Tebow led the Broncos to a 29-23 overtime victory over the Steelers in the playoffs.
True, Tebow was exposed the next week by Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, but many a quarterback have been stymied by the Patriots’ defense, including new Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Now, with Manning in tow, the Broncos are looking to trade Tebow. Obviously, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tebow’s hometown team, have been mentioned a lot as a possible landing spot for Tebow. Miami and New England have also been said to be a possible destination for Tebow.
Playing in the state of Florida may be the best situation for Tebow going forward as fans would welcome him with open arms. But it carries a certain amount of risk for any team to have Tebow as a backup quarterback, because as soon as the starter makes any mistake, the chants of Tebow will begin.
In Jacksonville, Tebow would join a mess of quarterbacks including former first round draft pick Blaine Gabbert and former Miami Dolphins starting quarterback Chad Henne. Ownership may be keen on bringing Tebow in for the financial stakes, but the football side may not have him in their plans.
Various reports are saying the Broncos may be willing to part with Tebow for a fifth or sixth round draft pick. It’s a precipitous fall for the legendary former Florida Gators quarterback. But, as he’s proven before, Tebow will likely land on his feet again.
The only question for Tebow will be whether he plays quarterback moving forward or moves to another position to keep his football career alive.