All had been pretty quiet on the Tebow front around these parts. In New York there has remained an undercurrent of buzz around him, and the usual calls for him to be named the starter. The Jets have resisted, though, and therefore all Tebow news has been no news at all. That, along with Peyton Manning's transcendent play, has allowed Denver Broncos fans to move on and to forget how polarizing a figure Tim Tebow was during his brief time here. Until this morning, that is.
The enigmatic young QB became a topic of conversation around the Rocky Mountain water cooler once again thanks to a New York Daily News piece by Manish Mehta headlined: "NY Jet teammates rip backup Tim Tebow, believe 'terrible' quarterback hasn't improved". In Mehnta's article several New York Jets players rip Tebow, mostly anonymously. Few were courageous enough to a put their names behind their comments. Most of the quotes in the article are attributed to "one player", a "member of the organization" or "a veteran starter". Left guard Matt Slauson wasn't afraid to go on the record, though. “It’s not even close,” Slauson said. “All the other quarterbacks know it. I have all the confidence in Mark. We don’t really have a choice.”
No choice? To the casual observer, the opposite appears to be true. The Jets have the look of a team that desperately need to try something new. Nothing is working in New York. If anything, the Jets have already waited far too long. The Denver Broncos didn't. They injected Tebow in time for him to make a difference. And that's precisely what Tebow did, rattling off six wins in a row and propelling the Broncos into the playoffs.
Some people in Denver have forgotten that. When it comes to the 2011 Denver Broncos season, there's a tendency on the part of some to revise history. That tendency reared its ugly head this morning as people rushed to echo the sentiments of the Jets players quoted in the New York Daily News feature. Among those "misremebering" the facts was 104.3 the Fan's Joel Klatt who leapt at the opportunity to reiterate his long-held belief that Tebow's nothing but a turd in history's punch bowl.
Vic Lombardi, who often appears on Joel's show, Evans and Klatt (6-9am M-F), called in and defended Tebow and his reign as the excitement King of Colorado. Afterwards, he and Klatt, who are friends, went at it on Twitter:
VIC: With all due respect, Joel. Even you throw a better ball than Tebow. But you've never won an NFL game. That bothers you.
KLATT: haha...never thought you would go there...my career ended a long time ago...doesn't bother me at all...I'm surprised at you
VIC: I'm surprised at you as well. Get in the Broncos locker room some time. Introduce yourself.
KLATT: you think I don't talk with players? alright buddy, have a good one
This very public display of disgust between two colleagues is typical of the contrasting views Broncos fans have of Tim Tebow. To some he will be remembered as a clown - which seems impossible after the wins he created out of nowhere. To others, he'll always be revered for the magic he brought back to MIle High.
There's no doubt that Tebow will remain a point of debate until he's handed the keys to a team and given a chance to sink or swim once and for all. His skills as a QB are, according to the evaluation of expert after expert, lacking. But the last time he was given a chance he took advantage of it. It's beginning to look as though he will get no such chance with the Jets.
They should allow Tebow to move on - to Jacksonville if that's what fits him best. Tim Tebow should be allowed to be the starting quarterback from the beginning of a season until the end for some team somewhere. His is an unusual brand of football and it's not widely understood. But the proof, they say, is in the pudding. While he was in Denver, Tebow treated fans to a whole bowl full.
Some people say that Tebow's "not our problem" anymore. Joel Klatt is one of them. I like Joel Klatt, even respect his position. But, on this issue, Vic Lombardi is right. Tim Tebow was never Denver's "problem".