Tim Tebow: 10 Reasons He's Already Bigger Than John Elway

Elliott Pohnl@@ElliottPohnl_BRFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2010

Tim Tebow: 10 Reasons He's Already Bigger Than John Elway

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    ENGLEWOOD, CO - AUGUST 05:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Bronocs takes part in practice during training camp at Dove Valley on August 5, 2010 in Englewood, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Tim Tebow will never be John Elway, but he might already be bigger than Elway ever was.

    It might sound crazy, but thanks in large part to the hype machine that is the sports media, it's far from impossible.

    Despite his average talent and fairly raw quarterback skills, Tebow has become has become the face of the Broncos franchise.

    The cautious optimism of NFL analysts has put a third-string quarterback on a pedestal, making what should have been a fairly irrelevant debut must-see Sportscenter material.

    It might not be right, but it's certainly happening.

    Here's 10 reasons why Tim Tebow is already bigger than John Elway.

No. 10: His Words Are Heard Around The World

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    ENGLEWOOD, CO - APRIL 23:  Tim Tebow is introduced by the Denver Broncos at a press conference at the Broncos Headquarters in Dove Valley on April 23, 2010 in Englewood, Colorado. The Broncos picked Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft.  (Photo
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    When Tim Tebow talks, people listen.

    Whether it's a promise to fans that Florida will never play poorly again or repeating the "I'll do whatever it takes to help the team win" mantra, reporters salivate over his bold proclamations.

    The only proclamation Elway made was that he wouldn't play for the Baltimore Colts because they wouldn't give him a chance to win.

    Had it come in today's media climate, Elway would have been ripped apart despite his incredible physical gifts.

    As it stands, Elways words were forgotten. Tebow's words will ring true throughout his career, even if his biggest contribution is holding on field goals and extra points.

No. 9: The Urban Legend

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    NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 01:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators hugs his head coach Urban Meyer after scoring a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisana Superdome on January 1, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    In many ways, Florida coach Urban Meyer put Tebow on the map.

    The head Gator spent four seasons championing his work ethic, talent and intelligence level. He defended any detractors who said Tebow was merely the product of the system or fundamentally flawed as a quarterback thanks to his unconventional delivery.

    And with Meyer's praise came tremendous expectations and historic results on the field.

    Although the Gators produced an onslaught of NFL talent, it was Tebow's name who was always mentioned in conjunction with the team's success or failure.

    Urban Meyer broke the ground for Tebow's statue, and construction hasn't stopped yet.

No. 8: Great College Numbers Produce Great Expectations

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    ENGLEWOOD, CO - AUGUST 05:  Rookie quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Bronocs tosses the ball as he takes part in practice during training camp at Dove Valley on August 5, 2010 in Englewood, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    There's no denying that Tim Tebow will be remembered as one of the best college quarterbacks to ever play the game.

    Based on his overwhelming positive body of work at Florida, that statement is impossible to argue.

    However, it is easy to argue that his production in college has led to inflated expectations of what he will accomplish in the pros.

    Simply put, he has become an iconic figure before even throwing an NFL pass.

No. 7: Won't Be Blamed For Failure

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    CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 15: Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos looks to pass during the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 15, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 33-24. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    In most cases, a player faces criticism when he fails to meet expectations.

    In the case of Tebow, it could be different.

    John Elway was clearly a Hall of Famer before he led the Broncos to two Super Bowl wins, but had he failed to deliver his legacy would have been forever tainted.

    If Tebow manages to work his way to becoming a legitimate starter in the NFL, his career in many ways will be considered a success. Because of his mission statement, Tebow won't be blamed for losing.

    That burden will fall on his teammates, for better or for worse.

No. 6: Reluctant Critics

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Quarterback Tim Tebow of Florida looks on during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    There aren't many Tim Tebow detractors eager to come out of hiding and tell the sports world to take a second and think about what is happening with the Broncos' third-string quarterback.

    That wasn't the case with Elway, who was criticized for refusing to play in Baltimore and for failing to lead Stanford to a single bowl game despite throwing for 9,349 yards and 77 touchdowns.

    Aside from criticizing his throwing motion, College and NFL analysts have been oddly reluctant to criticize Tebow, instead choosing to believe that his intangibles outweigh his physical shortcomings.

    That remains to be seen.

No. 5: The Image and Marketability

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 14:  NFL quarterback Tim Tebow arrives at the 2010 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
    Jason Merritt/Getty Images

    There will be no image problem with Tim Tebow.

    Although his religious beliefs have ruffled a few feathers here and there, he has been a model athlete throughout his career.

    In the NFL's climate of off-field problems ranging from Mike Vick to Johnny Jolly, Tebow's persona puts a positive spin on the league's image.

    Elway was seen as a bit of a spoiled brat for refusing to play for the Colts and wasn't media friendly until late in his career.

    Tebow's affinity for the media and record-setting jersey sales have Roger Goodell smiling from ear to ear.

No. 4: The Media's Hype Machine Is Spinning Out of Control

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 28:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators speaks to the media following the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    The power of the media's influence can be felt throughout society, especially in sports.

    After spending four years singing the praises of Tebow and fellow rookie Colt McCoy, the mainstream media continues to devote a puzzling amount of attention to both players, as if to justify the coverage they have given them over the past four years.

    When Elway broke into the NFL in 1983, ESPN was still developing, the worldwide web didn't exist and opportunity for hyping players was fairly limited.

    Needless to say, things have certainly changed in the last 25 years. 

No. 3: The Most Hyped Rookie Ever

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    ENGLEWOOD, CO - APRIL 23:  Tim Tebow is introduced by the Denver Broncos at a press conference at the Broncos Headquarters in Dove Valley on April 23, 2010 in Englewood, Colorado. The Broncos picked Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft.  (Photo
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Thanks to the media, Tim Tebow has become arguably the most hyped NFL rookie ever.

    His practice highlights are broadcast on a daily basis, followed by quotes by both himself and teammates documenting his early experiences in the NFL.

    All of this for a late first-round pick expected to begin the season at No. 3 on the depth chart of what should be a mediocre team.

No. 2: The Saving Face of The Franchise

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    ENGLEWOOD, CO - AUGUST 05:  Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos addresses the media prior to practice during training camp at Dove Valley on August 5, 2010 in Englewood, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Like his predecessor John Elway, Tim Tebow has quickly been deemed the face of the franchise in Denver.

    It's just for different reasons.

    Amidst a tumultuous start to the tenure of young head coach Josh McDaniels and a season-ending injury to the Broncos' best defensive player, Tebow has been a ray of hope.

    Suddenly, a relatively small-market team devoid of star power has find itself a megastar able to grab the headlines.

    Before he has even played in a game that matters, Tebow has already made the Broncos relevant.

No. 1: What If He Wins?

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    ENGLEWOOD, CO - APRIL 23:  Denver Broncos introduce NFL first round draft pick Tim Tebow during a press conference at the Broncos Headquarters in Dove Valley on April 23, 2010 in Englewood, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    For a moment, let's believe the hype and assume that Tebow becomes a solid NFL quarterback and leads the Broncos to a Super Bowl win at some point down the road.

    Although it's extremely unlikely, it could happen. 

    And if it did, it's safe to assume that John Elway's incredible legacy would be pushed into the background.

    Tebow has huge hurdles to overcome, but if he accomplishes the unthinkable his legacy to trump dozens of players who were better NFL players.

    There's a reason everybody knows who Joe Willie Namath is. 

    It's all about the hype, baby.