His own coaches didn't want to start him. It was pressure from a frustrated Broncos fanbase that forced the switch from Orton to Tebow. There are many that adore Tebow. Tebow-ing has become an the Internet phenomenon comparable to planking.
There are also many that are bothered by his unconventional play, religious devotion and super-positive attitude. The fact is, none of that stuff matters on the football field. Winning is the only thing that counts.
Tebow is doing just that.
The Broncos, who started 1-4, have gone 4-1 while Tebow is under center. They are a half-game behind the Chargers for first place in the AFC West.
Why have the Broncos started winning with Tebow?
Here's a handy chart I made comparing the Broncos under both Tebow and Orton.
A few things stuck out to me.
Denver's defense has been playing better under Tebow. The Broncos D allowed 26.6 points per game under Orton and only 18.6 per game under Tebow. The defense is also letting up fewer passing and rushing yards per game.
Offensively, the Broncos are actually scoring less frequently with Tebow (17.2 ppg) than they did with Orton at QB (18.2 ppg). Orton averaged around 236 passing yards per game while Tebow only manages around 126 yards per game through the air.
How Many Games will the Tebow-led Broncos Win?
Tebow's passing inability can be easily forgiven, because he has helped to more than double Denver's rushing offense. He averages nearly 78 rushing yards a game on his own and he's contributed three rushing TDs. Orton may have thrown eight TD passes, but Tebow has totaled 10 TDs from scrimmage in the same amount of games.
Denver's most positive change with Tebow at QB is their turnover margin.
Under Orton, the Broncos committed 17 turnovers and forced seven for a -10 differential. Orton contributions included seven interceptions and lost two fumbles.
Under Tebow, they have committed only five turnovers and forced six for a +1 differential. Tebow has thrown only one interception and lost two fumbles.
Let's get back to that question. Why are the Tebow-led Broncos winning?
The biggest reason is that the team is playing better defense, plain and simple. But, thanks in large part to Tebow, the team has massively improved their rushing attack, and they are committing fewer turnovers.
Many will claim that Tebow's contributions don't show up on a stat sheet. They do, but you have to know where to look.