In the excruciating 24 hours between Peyton Manning’s introduction as a Denver Bronco and the moment I heard of Tim Tebow’s trade to the New York Jets, my world was turned upside down. Does this mean the end of Tebowmania? Will I still be able to yell “Tebow Time!” at a television every Sunday afternoon? With the trade finalized and Tebow an official member of the New York Jets, the future of the legend of St. Timothy lies in jeopardy.
Admittedly, I took Tebowmania a little harder than most. I ruined a date during the Broncos’ first round playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers when, instead of making polite conversation, I gushed over how awesome it would be if Tebow pulled off a miracle win. And he did.
There’s even a section in my cover letter explaining the “Tebow Handicap” to my GPA. I explain that I was forced to devote three hours each Sunday to the miracles of Tim Tebow, so I’m heavily invested in keeping everyone’s favorite terrible quarterback in the league.
Nobody can blame the Broncos for signing Peyton Manning when he became available. In Week 8 of the 2011 season, Tim Tebow completed only two passes in a Broncos win. While I claim no expertise in what it takes to win an NFL game, I’m convinced the Broncos’ front office is ecstatic to sign a quarterback who can win while doubling or even tripling Tebow’s average completions per game.
When given the opportunity to sign a quarterback with a lifetime passer rating of 94.9 and get rid of their current starter who posted a 20.6 rating on the last game of the season, the choice is a no-brainer.
But forget Tebow. Why did this have to happen to Tebowmania?
I knew I was hooked on Tim Tebow during the Broncos’ Week 5 matchup against the Miami Dolphins when, after an abysmal game, the young quarterback resuscitated the Denver offense and led them on two touchdown drives in the last three minutes of the game. To non-Broncos fans, Tebowmania had nothing to do with the fact that the Broncos were winning games; it had everything to do with the fact that it introduced irrationality to the NFL in a season that previously offered very few surprises.
Instead of watching the Packers and Patriots win in predictable fashion, fans tuned in to the fourth quarter of every Broncos game to witness Tebow’s magic. Between his game-winning scramble at the end of the Jets game and Matt Prater’s 59-yard field goal against the Bears, the fourth quarter of Broncos games ceased to be boring or predictable. Fans really did have Tebow Time.
Even its duration fell outside of the explainable. I’ll never forget getting a text from my twin brother during a game against the Vikings that read “no more miracles.” True to form, the Broncos’ quarterback led his team to victory, and Tebowmania lived to see another day. Over a month after that text, the Broncos won a playoff game against the significantly better Pittsburgh Steelers, and football fans everywhere screamed at their televisions for Tebow Time.
My only hope in the 2012 season is that Tim Tebow isn’t used as a stunt in the wildcat offense or as a fullback for the Jets, who already have a quarterback. Nobody can claim that he makes a good passing quarterback, but that’s not the point. As long as Tebow lines up under center in 2012, football fans know where they can find a little bit of chaos in the NFL.
For the same reason that we root for the upset in college basketball or Jeremy Lin in the NBA, Tebowmania grips the sports fan because it shouldn’t be possible. With Tebow Time, statistics are no indication of the end result: Tebow defies numbers. In its place lies the raw excitement that starts in the fourth quarter of a close game.
I will never blame the Broncos for signing Manning, but it will be a sad day if the 2012 NFL season kicks off and Tim Tebow isn’t the starting quarterback for the Jets. Admittedly, my GPA will recover and my dates will go more smoothly – at least, I think. But maybe that’s the entire point: Excitement that gripping will surely be missed, and we could all make do with Tebow Time for one more season.
Corey Blaine is a junior in the McDonough School of Business. THE BLEACHER SEATS appears every Friday.