Friday, November 18, 2011

The Bone-headed Tebow Misadventure

Warning to the Denver Broncos. It's time for a reality check. You're making a big mistake.

Don't let this improbable love affair with QB Tim Tebow go any farther. It's insanity. It's undermining the team. Sure, there are inescapable positives: first and most important, he's 4-1 as a starter, boosting the Broncos to 5-5, reversing their 1-4 start under Kyle Orton. No question, Tebow is the master of engineering last-second, come-from-behind victories, like last night's triumph over the New York Jets, 17-13.

But he's not Superman--just a clumsy QB who's been cleverly placed in a position to succeed. Bronco coach John Fox and his assistants have, ignoring common sense, installed the ancient collegiate option system, junking the pass-happy format used by all NFL teams. Since its similiar to what he ran as a college QB in Florida, Tebow is comfortable with the option, which stresses running and minimizes the pass. This suits Tebow, who's a punishing runner but a terrible passer, just fine.

The option isn't all that's in his favor. Bronco-friendly circumstances have figured prominately in his four wins. For instance, beating the Jets wasn't that difficult, considering they have no running game, allowing Denver to focus on the shoddy passing of slumping QB Mark Sanchez. In most possessions in all these wins, Tebow has been awful. But, to his credit, he's come through in clutch situations, turning potential losses into wins. That, coupled with the fact that he's extremely likable and a stout-hearted Christian, has made him a fan favorite--particularly with the Christian Right.

But Tebow is just a quick fix. It started with management promoting him over Orton when, at 1-5, the Broncos had nothing to lose. Rather quickly the NFL, which lives by the pass, will devise a plan to silence the run-oriented option and knock Tebow off his pedestal.  The QB's downfall may even happen in Denver's next game, against San Diego.

Then what? The old-fashioned Denver offense is just a step or two from extinction. When sanity finally sets in, the option will be junked, and so will Tebow. As the losses pile up while the Broncos struggle to adjust to the standard pass offense, this Tebow adventure will seem, in retrospect, pretty foolish.