By Caleb Bailey, Staff Writer
ESPN was a madhouse this past Saturday as one of the most polarizing athletes of the last five years finally found a new home after a two-year hiatus from the NFL. Former Florida Gator and Denver Bronco quarterback Tim Tebow signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and it could not have been a smarter move.
Tebow was drafted into the league with the 25th pick in the 2010 Draft and immediately the Broncos gained two things: newfound Christian fans that most likely transitioned from Tebow’s glory days at Florida and more doubters and naysayers than Tony Romo. Months before the draft that season, many people had broken down each and every aspect of Tebow’s game and came up with more reasons why he would not be a success in the league. People talked about Tebow not being a success because he was “too large” or “not fast enough”. Not fast enough? Do people not know who Peyton Manning is?
Tebow is a Heisman trophy winning quarterback and received more flack for something completely unknown to me than any other professional athlete in the last ten years.
NFL draft expert, and I use that term lightly, Mel Kiper Jr. was quoted before the draft as saying “I don’t think he can be a fulltime quarterback. I don’t think he can be the quarterback of the future for you, but I do think in the third round, maybe the second round, he’ll be the same as Pat White.” White, as many might not know, is a former West Virginia Mountaineer quarterback and has just recently retired from professional football after unsuccessful stints in both the NFL and CFL. Tebow was out to prove everyone wrong, but did so with a smile on his face and Bible verses under his eyes.
In his rookie season, Tebow saw little playing time as he played in six games while starting the final three of the season. The Broncos finished the season 4-12 and in 2011, the Broncos started anew by hiring Superbowl winning quarterback John Elway as Executive Vice President and former Carolina Panthers coach John Fox as their head coach.
The Broncos began the season with Kyle Orton under center as the starter with Tebow seemingly in the same spot as the year before. Orton and the Broncos started the season 1-4 and Fox decided it was time to make a change and named Tebow the new starter for the team. In the following game, the Broncos trailed the Miami Dolphins 15-0 in the fourth quarter and it seemed as though all the hate would be justified.
Tebow then began a “God-like” comeback for the ages. He hit Demaryius Thomas with a five-yard touchdown strike to make the score 15-7 with just under three minutes remaining. The Broncos recovered the onside kick and Tebow led his team down the field to tie the game up. They went on to finish the rally and win 18-15 in overtime. This was the first of a 7-1 winning stint that led to the Broncos winning the AFC West division title for the first time in six seasons.
After finishing the 2011 season 8-8 with a division crown and an upset victory in the first round of the playoffs, Tebow had proven his haters wrong and stood tall with an 9-5 record as a starting quarterback. The Broncos signed Peyton Manning who was coming off of career-threatening neck surgery and Tebow was immediately shown the door in the form of a trade to the New York Jets.
Tebow has not since started an NFL game and in 2013, he signed on with ESPN as a SEC analyst and people grew accustomed to seeing his face on TV. That is, until this past weekend.
It was first reported by FOX Sports that Tebow had signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. I called this signing weeks ago after rumors of Tebow working out had ramped up. Chip Kelly’s high-powered run and gun offense is the exact type of offense that Tebow can succeed in. At Florida, he was known as being a run first, ask questions and throw later type of guy.
He will fit in nicely in what is arguably the toughest sports city in the country. If Tebow can make it in Philly, he can make it anywhere. Come August, we will certainly see that it is Tebow Time once again.