Did you hear that sound yesterday?
The steam whistled, the horn blared and the conductor yelled, “All aboard the Tebow Train!”
After bringing his Broncos back from behind to escape Minnesota with his sixth win in seven starts, media types far and wide, fans from all over Broncos Country and even team big wigs like John Elway himself have jumped onto the Tebow Train.
And with good reason.
Tim Tebow is legitimately a leader of men and at this point of the season, with only four regular-season games remaining, Tebow is the NFL MVP.
The criticism surrounding Tebow is deafening—his mechanics stink, he runs a high school offense, he must learn how to pass the ball better to succeed in the NFL—but Tebow doesn't hear all that noise; he just keeps confidently controlling NFL contests in crunch time.
No, he's not the most polished passer, not even close, but Tebow is a workhorse, tirelessly striving to improve tossing the ball.
Yesterday in his comeback victory against the Vikings, Tebow threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns and completed 66.7 percent of his passes—all season highs for the relative rookie QB. And it was how the youngster threw the ball, hitting Demaryius Thomas in stride down the sideline for a 42-yard completion and dropping another one into him in the back corner of the end zone, that was impressive.
He undoubtedly played like a polished NFL quarterback, the best quarterback in the league yesterday as his 149.3 passer rating topped every other QB.
But this isn't just about Tebow progressing as a pro quarterback—which is happening before our very eyes—it's about giving Tebow recognition as the NFL MVP.
The Broncos started the season as a terrible team.
After finishing 2010 4-12, Denver started Kyle Orton at quarterback and the team's attempts at winning on the football field were futile.
The Broncos started 1-4 and it looked like it would take a miracle to even come close to last year's miserable mark. The offense was offensive under Orton and Denver's defense was despicable as it ranked dead last in the NFL.
Enter Tim Tebow.
Tebow came in at halftime of the Chargers game Week 5 and led the Broncos to 14 second-half points to nearly bring the team back but eventually lose 29-24.
In his first start, Tebow was terrible for three-and-a-half quarters, but when it mattered most he was on top of his game and took his team from 15 points down to 18-15 winners.
The Broncos were completely outmatched when they faced the Detroit Lions the next week, and it should be noted that Tebow's only two turnovers on the year were given up in the 45-10 loss.
But the Broncos bounced back: They outplayed Oakland (38-24), somehow escaped Kansas City with a win in November (which Denver hardly ever does) and Tebow led three straight fourth-quarter comebacks to defeat New York (17-13), San Diego (16-13) and Minnesota (35-32) yesterday.
Denver was 1-4 before Tebow—a team sitting in the basement of the AFC West with no hopes of making the playoffs—but nine weeks later, the Broncos are 7-5 and lead their division. The five straight wins marks the first time the Broncos have won that many in a row since their second Super Bowl-winning season in 1998.
On the season, Tebow has scored 13 touchdowns while turning the ball over only twice, the highest percentage of any quarterback in the NFL in 2011.
Still, the Broncos haven't won solely due to Tebow's play, but what he brings to the locker room—an undeniable confidence, enthusiasm and leadership—has brought the Broncos into the playoff picture.
It's easy to point to four fourth-quarter comebacks and say that Tebow is the reason Denver is winning, but his spirit is infectious and has invigorated everyone that wears the Broncos blue and orange.
The Denver defense has gone from dead last to 23rd in scoring and players like Andre Goodman, rookie Chris Harris and Joe Mays have all stepped their games up since Tebow took over. And on offense, second-year receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas have increased their play greatly with the engaging and exciting young QB under center.
On top of that, the Broncos now lead the league in rushing, at 1,907 total yards, with Tebow accounting for 468 of them and three touchdowns.
Simply stated, the Broncos are winning because of Tim Tebow.
His on-field play has been flawed but magical, as he does anything it takes to earn his team a victory. Off the field, Tebow inspires teammates to be their best and it shows on both sides of the ball.
Before Tebow, the Broncos were the laughingstock of the NFL.
With him as their quarterback and leader, Denver is squarely in the playoff picture and is a team no one wants to play in the postseason.
If the season ended today, Tim Tebow would be your NFL MVP. And if the Broncos continue to win over the last month of the season, he may just be anyway.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being your CSU Rams Examiner, Kurtzman writes for Blake Street Bulletin, Stadium Journey, Bleacher Report and Mile High Hoops.
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