Okay. . .NOW this "Tebowing" thing has officially gone too far. (Picture via the Twitter account of John Keller, who you can find at @jkells1. Picture discovered via this tweet from NFL Network's Rich Eisen.
(Sorry, I just really wanted to use that title.)
I'm sort of in the same boat as Eric, from what he mentioned in his predictions post yesterday. I like Tim Tebow. Heck, a couple years back when we were doing our SB Nation writer's mock draft, I actually grabbed him for us at the bottom of the second round. Although I'm not a terribly religious guy myself, I think the strength of the man's convictions is to be admired, quite frankly. But that's not the main reason I like Tim Tebow.
I like Tim Tebow because I'm a big fan of things that aren't supposed to work, but work anyway. The option isn't supposed to work in the NFL, but Tebow makes it work. A quarterback that only completes 45.5% of his passes isn't supposed to win in the NFL, but the Broncos win with Tebow at quarterback. (Yes, I know their defense has found another gear in the latter part of the season, but we'll get to that in a moment.)
I've given up trying to figure out exactly how they've been doing it. Yes, the Denver Broncos currently lead the NFL in rushing. . .heck, they average more yards per game rushing the ball than they do throwing it. That's another thing that defies all the modern conventions. . .the NFL is supposed to be a passing league now. The days of "three yards and a cloud of dust/grass/field turf" are supposed to be dead and gone. But not in Denver, where Tebow and a resurgent Willis McGahee are moving a Broncos team that was projected by many to have another top-5 draft pick this off-season towards a possible playoff berth, and maybe even a division title.
As we've mentioned, it isn't all just Tebow. Take a look at Broncos' coach John Fox, who got run out of Carolina after a 2-14 season in 2010. He started out with Kyle Orton at quarterback and a conventional offense. After a while, the time came to turn to Tebow. Denver was 1-4 when Tebow took over as the starter, and after the Broncos won his first start against the Miami Dolphins, they got throttled by Detroit at home by 35 points. At that point, Fox said to himself, "You know, the conventional NFL offense just isn't going to work with this guy." Honestly, Tim Tebow might not hit water if he fell off of a cruise ship.
So what did Fox do? Oh, not much. . .just completely retooled his entire offense on the fly in the middle of an NFL season. And he built that offense around the most important guy on the field. . .his quarterback. In the four games since then, the team is 4-0. In those four games, the Broncos have one turnover, a fumble by McGahee against the Jets. They're taking care of the ball, which is a big part of winning in the NFL.
The other part is playing defense. In the six games that Tebow has been the starter, the Broncos are allowing 20 points/game. Take out the 45-10 loss to the Lions, and that drops to 15 points/game. If Von Miller isn't the Defensive Rookie of the Year, they need to retire the award. Elvis Dumervil has been outstanding, too, and Champ Bailey has found a new lease on life.
But, it all goes back to the quarterback in this league, and in this case, that guy is Tim Tebow. The guy wins. I don't know how the guy wins or why the guy wins or any of that, and I'm not going to waste any more time attempting to figure it out. The Denver Broncos aren't supposed to be winning. They're sure as heck not supposed to be winning with Tim Tebow at quarterback. They're not supposed to be contending for a division title or a playoff berth. But that's what makes them such a great story so far. Because it's not supposed to work. Things that work when they aren't supposed to are great.
I generally don't gush over other teams like this, but I think that the Broncos deserve it, because their turnaround has really been fun to watch. Their fans are certainly enjoying the ride, and they've been a blast to interact with so far this week. Hopefully, they'll continue to defy all the conventions and win the rest of their games.
Starting next week.