Denver Broncos: Tim Tebow Is Learning That the NFL Is a Business
Football fans are always under the assumption that quarterbacks who are selected in the first round of the NFL draft will start in plenty of games.
For Tim Tebow, he experienced the business side of the NFL the moment he was drafted. Tebow was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2010. The Broncos had Kyle Orton as their starting quarterback and had recently traded for Brady Quinn prior to taking Tebow with the 25th pick.
Uncertainty poured in among Tebow supporters about whether he would even get a shot at starting for Denver during his rookie season. Tebow immediately won over many football fans, as his Broncos jersey became the most purchased jersey in the league.
However, helping the Broncos lead the league in sports apparel did not help Tebow start in Week 1, as many rookies dream of doing. A popularity contest was not going to help Tebow land a starting spot. Tebow knew this himself.
When Orton went down with an injury in 2010, Tebow got the call to start the final three games for the Broncos and went 1-2. Tebow received a little bit of confidence by earning a win and getting some playing time to close out the 2010 season for the Broncos.
However, reality kicked back in for Tebow when the NFL lockout was lifted in 2011.
The Broncos did not hesitate placing Orton in front of Tebow in the depth chart. All of a sudden, Tebow was competing for a backup position against Brady Quinn, who had yet to play a regular season snap for the Broncos.
Come Week 1 of the 2011 season, Orton was on top of the depth chart among all quarterbacks in Denver. While starting five games that season, Orton led the Broncos to only one victory. This eventually led to Orton being waived, going on to finish his season with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Meanwhile, the Broncos declared Tebow as their new starter. What happened from there? Tebow became the most talked about public figure everywhere.
Tebow led the Broncos to thrilling fourth-quarter comeback wins. The Broncos won six games in a row as Tebow dominated the headlines with “Tebowmania.” By this time, everyone knew who Tebow was. Even when Tebow struggled with his passing mechanics, he found a way to make Denver victorious in the closing moments of games last season.
Despite finishing the regular season with a three-game losing streak, the Broncos went from worst to first in the AFC West with Tebow under center. One week later, the Broncos learned they would host the top-ranked pass defense in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
At this point, everyone thought Tebow’s luck was maximized. Even the crew at ESPN came to a unanimous agreement that the Steelers would put away “Tebowmania” once and for all.
Tebow shocked the world and captivated Mile High Stadium with an 80-yard strike to Demaryius Thomas in overtime to eliminate the Steelers from the playoffs. The electrifying touchdown play went viral online and was replayed repeatedly on television, as Tebow silenced his critics, proving that he could win a playoff game.
Following postseason elimination the following week to the New England Patriots, Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway, stated that Tebow will enter the 2012 season as the Broncos starting quarterback. That should've give Tebow a reason to relax, now that he had Elway’s vote of confidence.
Not so fast.
The Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning, and the Broncos were early front-runners in the Manning sweepstakes. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter on March 19, Manning reportedly decided that Denver would be his new home.
It is safe to assume that Manning is not going to Denver to challenge Tebow for the starting quarterback spot. Once the ink is on paper, Manning is the Broncos' starting quarterback. ESPN also reported that the Broncos aim to trade Tebow.
You can go ahead and label Elway and Manning as the villains in this process. But the NFL is a business. Things change. Unfortunately for Tebow, he is learning that the hard way.
Despite the criticism surrounding Tebow and his ability to throw and lead a team to victory, the Broncos will receive trade offers for him because of what he has accomplished so far.
Tebow will start another game in the NFL. It just won’t happen in Denver anytime soon.
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