Tebowmania reaching nauseating levels

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Tim Tebow has been one of the NFL's most polarizing athletes. The Bronco's quarterback has helped his team win seven of its last nine games, but has yet to display the traditional, necessary skill set to be an elite signal caller.
Tim Tebow has been one of the NFL's most polarizing athletes. The Bronco's quarterback has helped his team win seven of its last nine games, but has yet to display the traditional, necessary skill set to be an elite signal caller.

Miami quarterback Matt Moore has led the Dolphins to wins in five of their last seven games, throwing 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions during that span.

Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton hasn’t had as much luck racking up victories for the 5-9 Panthers but has scored 30 touchdowns and is on pace to amass nearly 5,000 total yards this season.

Texas native Andy Dalton, a rookie quarterback like Newton, has helped Cincinnati double its win total from last year as the 8-6 Bengals have a chance to reach the postseason for just the third time since 1990.

But thanks to Tim Tebow, nobody cares about that. Not nearly as much as they care about the God-fearing former Florida star who Linda Cohn called the “Mile High Messiah” on SportsCenter Saturday night.

The next day, Tebow and the Denver Broncos fell to the New England Patriots, 41-23. Denver built a 16-7 lead early in the second quarter, a shocking development considering how slowly Tebow usually started games. But Tom Brady – a three-time Super Bowl champ who somehow took a back seat to Tebow last week – and the Patriots reeled off 27 unanswered points en route to beating the Broncos.

How fans, TV analysts, writers, and sports radio talk show hosts will react in the coming days remains to be seen. But one thing is certain – they will be talking about Tim Tebow, just like they have since the season began. There are the apologists and cynics, supporters and doubters, lovers and haters. And because of the polarizing figure Tebow has become, there isn’t much gray area for people to roam. You have to pick a side.

It’s not Tebow’s fault. It’s those that cover him – those that declare “Tebowing” an actual word, those that air “’Twas the Night Before Tebow” songs the night before he plays, and those that provide fuel to the Tebow fire that has engulfed the NFL.

Tebow’s and the Broncos’ story is a remarkable one but one that has been framed in the wrong way, that is, every twist and turn has been framed in terms of Tebow. Denver’s most recent contest should be seen as another dominating performance by Brady, Belicheck, and the Patriots that saw Tebow deliver a promising performance. Nonetheless, Tebow is sure to get the lion’s share of attention.

The Broncos’ most recent victory could have been perceived as one of the year’s most entertaining games and improbable comebacks. Denver could not have triumphed without all three of its units coming through down the stretch – believe it or not, multiple players were responsible for the victory.

That seemed like the obvious way to look at the game, considering the fact that Bears tailback Marion Barber lost a fumble in overtime, a scenario made possible by Matt Prater’s 59-yard field goal in the final seconds of regulation. Prater’s 51-yard boot sealed the Broncos’ 13-10 win in overtime. But you didn’t hear nearly as much about the clutch kicker as you did about his quarterback.

Instead, the mainstream sports media has put Tebow on a pedestal he’ll fall off of eventually. He certainly stumbled Sunday. The second-year signal-caller threw for close to 200 yards, ran for nearly another 100, and scored twice against a mediocre New England defense. But he lost 53 yards on four sacks and a fumble that led to a Tom Brady touchdown run that would provide the Patriots with all the points they would need.

Tebow is an average quarterback with below-average passing skills and above-average mobility. His uncanny ability to make plays when it matters most is undeniable and he doesn’t turn the ball over often. His teammates clearly feed off his unyielding will to win and play better because they’re around him.

But Tebow is by no means an elite NFL quarterback and far from one that can lead a team to the Super Bowl. He hasn’t even completed half of his passes this season. Calling Tebow “a winner” would not be entirely accurate because it does a disservice to the Broncos’ much-improved defense and Prater, one of the league’s best kickers. One should correct themselves and characterize Denver’s team “a winner” before making that mistake.

And don’t call me a Tebow hater. I’m a Tebow realist.