The quarterback battle in Denver between Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow apparently did not end in training camp, when Broncos head coach John Fox announced that Orton would be the team's starter. Chants of "Tebow! Tebow!" boomed throughout [Corporate Sponsor] Field at Mile High on Monday night at the end of the Broncos' 23-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders, a game in which Kyle Orton threw for 304 yards on 24-of-46 passing, with a touchdown and an interception.
Ensuring that this battle will go down in history as the "NO MORE NO MORE MAKE IT STOP" Brett Favre Memorial Storyline of the 2011 NFL season, Broncos fans are planning to take things into their own hands by putting up a series of pro-Tebow, anti-Orton billboards around Denver.
What will this do? Probably nothing besides giving the sports world another non-troversy to non-debate until a more important story pops up (note: Tedy Bruschi ripping Chad Johnson for no apparent reason is not a more important story).
The, uh, controversy is the lack of vocal support for Kyle Orton. While many think he should start, the more vocal proponents of the pro-Orton camp tend to be louder when criticizing Tebow. While a quarterback battle is far from the most disruptive distraction to ever shake an NFL locker room—in fact, teams have made the Super Bowl without having a sure-thing starting quarterback—the lack of support from the fans certainly can't help his confidence.
But despite that, I actually support the fans if they want to put up the billboards.
For too long, professional teams have forced cities to do whatever the owner wants. New stadium is financed by tax money, and the residents don't get to vote on whether they pay for it? Sure!
No matter that new stadiums usually end up costing the city more money than they earn back. A team is bought by new owners, who immediately move the team halfway across the country without warning, single-handedly killing one of the city's biggest industries and perhaps thousands of jobs? Absolutely! (I'm sorry, Seattle)
All this continued until the residents of Nassau County voted to not allow Charles Wang, owner of the New York Islanders, to build a new arena. They simply didn't want to pay the additional taxes necessary to build a new stadium (and I can't blame them. Those stadiums aren't cheap). Unlike less fortunate cities, however, Long Island was able to tell the owner to shove it.
That was in August of 2011, and it was the first time in recent memory that the fans stood up to management. The Tebow billboard plan is the second.
I realize that sports teams are not running a democracy—each team is a business. But like other businesses, the consumers should be heard by the company. And whether those consumers are saying "We don't want you to force us to give you money that we'll never get back," or "Unless changes are made, more and more of us will stop going to your games," the owners need to be able to hear the fans.
Even if it's just simple feedback such as "We like Tebow better than Orton." From what I gather, one of the billboards would read "If we're going to suck, we'd rather suck with Tebow." Which, I guess, makes sense.
Now back to relevance. The other question is: Should the Broncos start Tebow over Orton? I say no.
Not yet, anyway. Tebow showed in his three starts last year that he was capable of becoming a decent quarterback in the future. However, right now he is simply adequate. If baseball's VORP metric applied to football, Tebow would be the RP.
In three starts in 2010, Tebow completed exactly half of his passes, throwing five touchdowns and three interceptions. He showed that his prowess running the ball in college would translate to the NFL, rushing for six touchdowns and averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
If you were Broncos head coach John Fox, who would you start as quarterback?
Only completing half of all passing attempts isn't going to get it done in the NFL, though. Tebow is a notoriously hard worker and will presumably be able to improve his passing ability in practice and the occasional snap he will see during games. He's just not the best option right now.
And maybe he won't be good in the future. Maybe he'll be great in the future. But one thing is for sure.
This storyline is going to annoy the crap out of us for the rest of the year.