Florida fans must have thought they'd seen the last of college legend Tim Tebow in blue and orange after his last game as a Gator this past season.
Turns out they'll only need to wait 'til September 12.
The Denver Broncos' throwback "Orange Crush" jerseys would be a closer match with Tebow's Florida stripe. Nevertheless, Gainesville's favorite son will return to his old stomping grounds in shades of his college colors when the Broncos travel to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars in both teams' 2010 season opener.
Before Denver's aggressive trade back into the first round of the draft Thursday night, the biggest storyline heading into the teams' Week 1 clash might have been the coin flip that won Jacksonville the 10th overall pick used to select defensive tackle Tyson Alualu.
Prior to the draft, the Broncos—along with the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, and New England Patriots—were linked to Alualu through visits and private workouts. Though the Jaguars have been criticized for "reaching" to select the California standout in the top 10, he might not have fallen past Denver with the next pick.
In giving up second-, third-, and fourth-round picks (the 43rd, 70th, and 114th selections, respectively) to move up for Tebow, though, the Broncos threw all other Week 1 story angles into the background.
A pre-draft phone poll of Jacksonville's season ticket holders suggested that invested Jaguars fans were hardly chomping at the bit for their team to add the local hero, preferring instead to trust general manager Gene Smith's "best player available" draft philosophy.
As for the Florida faithful, it's hard to say whether their passionate support for Tebow would have translated into a boom in season ticket sales for Jacksonville had he landed with his hometown team. More likely, he would have brought increased controversy and scrutiny from his rabid public.
With that said, it's difficult to see many of them passing on the cost of one ticket to cheer on Tebow in the Sunshine State one last time.
If the Jaguars don't sell out their season ticket seating by September, they can expect those seats to be filled with unfriendly blue and orange in Week 1.
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