It’s all about Tim Tebow

Travis Kriens

People don’t like what they don’t understand.

Look at the things in your life that you like to do and you don’t like to do and you will have a correlation between being good at the things you like and not being very good at the things that you don’t like.

The most polarizing figure in sports right now is Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. People can’t understand how a team can go 6-1 with a quarterback who doesn’t throw the ball 30 times a game or throw for 300 yards a game. When someone comes and does something we have never seen before, people can’t wrap their head around it.

“It has never been done before,” they say.

“It just can’t work over the long haul,” when asked to explain why Denver went from 1-4 to 7-5.

People expect him to fail at some point. They also want him to fail so they can say, “I told you so.”

No one apparently saw the two games that Tebow started at the end of last season. He was 16-for-29 for 308 yards in a 17 point comeback win over the Houston Texans, 24-23. He also threw it 36 times in a five-point loss to the San Diego Chargers. Does that make you feel any better that he threw the ball 60-plus times combined in two games?

Tebow threw three interceptions in 65 attempts in two starts last season compared to one interception in his first 143 attempts this season. Rookie quarterbacks tend to turn the ball over through the air more often than their veteran counterparts, which is no surprise. For those who watched the Broncos vs. Vikings game, you know the two Christian Ponder interceptions led to 10 Denver points, including the game winning field goal, and were deep in Vikings territory. If you have the running game and defense to not have to have your young QB throw the ball 30 times a game and limit your turnovers, isn’t that the smart thing to do?

How frustrating is it to see your team  have a first and goal at the five and throw it three straight times ,only to settle for a field goal or when you can’t get five yards running the ball three times? You will never see that from Denver.

The Denver defense has gotten the shaft during the last month and a half because their turnaround coincides with Tebow taking over the offense. If you are going to say the defense is the number one reason for Denver’s improvement, which I would accept, you also have to blame the same defense for giving up 45 points at home to Detroit in their only loss since the second Sunday in October and 30 points to the Vikings, who were without their best running back and second-best receiver.

The other polarizing figure in sports is Lebron James. He plays well for three quarters only to play poorly in the fourth quarter during the NBA Finals. Tebow does the exact opposite. He plays poorly for three quarters only to play his best when it means the most. Both are criticized for two different things.

Winning is all that matters. Coaches at the big time colleges are paid to win, not graduate their players, just like Tebow is paid to win games, not throw for yards. Case in point, the 44 percent graduation rate that Bob Stoops at Oklahoma had last year, as mentioned in my column last week. If you switch his winning percentage (80 percent) with his graduation rate (44 percent), he would be fired in no less than two seasons.

If you switch Tebow’s throwing percentage (45 percent) with his winning percentage as a starter (77 percent), would you feel better about him and his future?

Anything short of a Super Bowl win in his career will not shut up the Tebow doubters. Any time Denver wins or loses the rest of the season, whether it is the regular season or playoffs, Tebow will be talked about as the main cause.

The spin you will hear from the media now is the Broncos won’t be able to win in the playoffs even though you will hear how the playoffs comes down to running the ball, stopping the run and playing well defensively—all things Denver has shown to be very good at recently. The great thing about sports not called FBS football is we will see if the “experts” are right because most of them have been wrong thus far.

I predict Denver will beat Chicago next week and the Raiders will lose at Green Bay. They will be 8-5 with a one-game lead in the division with three games to play. Get ready for the playoffs.