Tim Tebow's plight from first-teamer to third-teamer, a victim of unfortunate circumstance and irrationality, has turned him into a modern-day James Francis Edward Stuart. It has recently been decided by the Denver Broncos—his captors—that Tebow will spend (or at least start) the season as the backup to Brady Quinn, who is coincidentally the backup to Kyle Orton. So Tim Tebow, a first-rounder and starter of three NFL games last year, will be a third-string quarterback this year. And by far the most famous one.
But he doesn't deserve it. I do not seem like the person most likely to stick up for Tebow—I am notoriously cynical, and I hate people with excess hype and upstanding morality.
But Tebow is different to me, if only because the media and his organization have made a public burning effigy out of him. Merril Hoge spends his free time thinking of ways to make Tebow cry at night. Boomer Esiason, realizing that it is now the "cool" thing to do, has become Tebow's personal Caligula. Both hide behind a cloak of "I'm not here to insult him."
Well, you know what? Saying that Tebow "can't play" is the equivalent of saying you "can't announce." It's not constructive criticism, it is intentional coercion.
The Denver Broncos have watched the media create a national roast of Tebow and have just sat back and watched, pushing him further and further out of consciousness. Just a few weeks ago, a report broke out that some members of the Broncos organization didn't even see Tebow as the third-string quarterback. They thought Quarterback Immortalis Adam Weber would be a better option against an NFL defense. They don't see Tebow as someone who could have a legitimate grasp on the complexities of the striking Denver Bronco offense.
How is this possible?
Wasn't it just last year that Tim Tebow played relatively well? Here is a closer look at his stats from last year:
3 games started, 41 completions/82 attempts (50%), 5 TD, 3 INT, 82.1 QB Rating, 654 YDS, 19.9% DVOA
On the ground, Tebow had 43 rushes for 227 yards and six TDs.
These are not horrible numbers, by any means. That DVOA rating essentially means that Tebow was an above-average NFL quarterback last year. He also won Rookie of the Week in two of his starts and went 1-2. The one win was a 20-point comeback against the Houston Texans.
So why, all of a sudden, is Tebow being made out to be an incompetent schmuck? Unless Tebow has come to Denver practices throwing the ball underhand and saying the snap count in Spanish, there is no real reason.
He hasn't been outstanding in the preseason, but he hasn't been a waste of time either—which the Denver Broncos obviously see Tebow as for some reason. It doesn't make sense, when you look at Tebow's numbers from last year and his famous desire to learn things. Although he would never do this, Tebow should demand either a trade or a release. He is being oppressed in Denver. He can be a legitimate contributor to an NFL team (as, you know, he was last year), but it is apparent that he will never get the opportunity to in Denver.
Tebow has gone from being the apparent starter heading into this season (don't get me wrong, Orton deserves that job), to being Quinn's lackey.
And he doesn't deserve it, as much as I'd like to say he does.
Brendan O’Hare runs the sports/pop culture blogging conglomerate PineRiders, which has been linked to by Deadspin, EDSBS, Puck Daddy, and With Leather. If you want to be in Brendan’s next mailbag, contact him firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BrendanOHarePR.