– “Far Away Eyes,” The Rolling Stones
“With the 25th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select Tim Tebow, quarterback, Florida.”
I couldn’t believe the words I was hearing out of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s mouth during last Thursday’s first round of the NFL Draft. While I had read about some rumors earlier in the day that the Broncos were interested in Tebow, I was totally surprised when I heard that head coach Josh McDaniels actually traded three draft picks to get a hold of the polarizing college quarterback. I wasn’t sure if I was excited, furiously angry or saddened when Tebow was selected because an instant mass of confusion had fogged my brain.
Let’s back up a minute here and give the play-by-play on what exactly happened in my life on that fateful Thursday evening. My lovely bride-to-be Torie and I were enjoying a great, yet tacky meal at a Grand Junction burger establishment on our way to Westwater Canyon for a weekend of rafting excitement. The young waitress was nice enough to sit us within viewing distance of the television set where the first round of the NFL Draft was being shown.
We arrived just in time to see the Broncos select wide receiver Demaryius Thomas from Georgia Tech as the 22nd pick in the draft. It seemed like a good start. Denver needs a receiver to fill the vacancy of locker room-killer Brandon Marshall. I barely had enough time to choke down another half a beer before Goodell made the announcement that Denver, in its next draft selection, has taken Tebow.
“Are you kidding me?” I screamed at the TV. “Tim Tebow? Why do we need another quarterback? Don’t we already have Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn? Don’t we need a center? How about some defense? Why? Why? Why?”
In the meantime, Torie, who is a die-hard Alabama Crimson Tide fan and rabid Tebow hater, was screaming obscenities at the television and eventually threw her beer mug clear across the dining hall shattering glass everywhere. Kids screamed. Managers were called. It got ugly. (OK, this didn’t happen but the feelings and emotion were real.) Let’s just say, we were both shocked that Tim Tebow would be a Bronco.
As we drove to the liquor store to pick up our weekend rafting refreshments, my Blackberry was blowing up with texts and emails from fellow Broncoholics who also couldn’t believe what they were seeing and hearing. Everybody knew that McDaniels had won, making the big headline of the day (and following week) with the Tebow selection, yet nobody with any kind of football sense knew why he really did it.
I walked into the liquor store looking for anyone who may have an idea why Tebow was selected. “What the hell are the Broncos doing taking Tebow?” I asked the big clerk behind the counter. He had a smug smile. “Tebow is an awesome athlete and he will make a great H-back for Denver,” he replied in a nasal, nerdy voice. I immediately knew I had asked the wrong person. “Awesome pick if you ask me,” he said.
I left the liquor store more confused than I had arrived. It seemed like a bad time to go on a river trip in a remote part of Utah. There were so many NFL draft questions yet to be answered and I needed somebody to explain to me any possible reason why Tebow was selected. For the next two days, I would just have to ponder the whole conundrum myself without my Blackberry and without sports talk radio. I began to weigh the good and the bad of Tim Tebow.
First the bad. We all know he is a shotgun-only quarterback and that may hamper Denver’s offensive scheme if he is to start. The release in Tebow’s throw isn’t NFL caliber (although he has reportedly improved it). He has no footwork. Frankly, he just doesn’t look like an NFL quarterback. And if he is to be good, a whole offensive scheme will have to be built around him.
And then the good. While some may not like his polarizing views on abortion, Tebow does have character and is a coach’s dream, meaning he wants to be coached and he will listen. He’s big and tall. He’s a proven winner. He won the Heisman Trophy. He doesn’t have a bad attitude and, so far, doesn’t expect to be the bling of the NFL.
Back in our car late Saturday evening on our way home from the remote canyon, I finally got to tune into the sports talking heads and what they had to say about the Tebow selection. They were all scratching their heads in confusion, too.
Maybe McDaniels wanted to steal the off-season show by picking Tebow. Maybe McDaniels really does see a great NFL quarterback in Tebow. Maybe McDaniels and Tebow just clicked in their previous meetings. Coach McDaniels is only in his second season as a head coach in the NFL so we don’t have much of a record to look back upon. One thing McDaniels was absolutely right on, though, was the fact that Jay Cutler wasn’t worth a damn, so he sent him packing. It was an outrage at the time but turned out to be a brilliant move. I hope McDaniels can see the good in quarterbacks as well as he can see the bad in quarterbacks. We shall see.
And if anything, maybe it will be good for the Broncos to have an outspoken, devout Christian behind the center. It can only help. And with that thought in mind as I drove through Grand Junction on our way home, I adjusted my old, sweat-stained Broncos hat and ran 20 red lights in Tim Tebow’s honor.