The Denver Broncos head to Minnesota this weekend with a chance to win their sixth game in seven weeks. If they win and the Oakland Raiders lose at Miami, the Broncos will be tied for first place in the AFC West. In early October, it looked like the Broncos’ season was over when they made a change and went to Tim Tebow as their starting QB. As they have begun to turn things around, the debate is raging. How much credit should Tebow get?
I think that credit has to go to a lot of places. The Denver coaching staff has done a great job of continuing to tweak their offense by putting in plays that take advantage of Tebow’s strengths. The defense has been outstanding, holding opponents down and creating field position for the offense. The special teams have contributed big returns, good coverage, and timely field goals.
But the amazing thing is, none of this was taking place before Tim was inserted into the lineup. I know the detractors will say, “Look at his low completion percentage, the poor third down conversions, and the lack of passing yardage.” All of that is true and those are areas in which the Broncos are going to have to improve going forward. But the fact is, they are WINNING. And Tebow has been the only significant change in the lineup. They are winning because they BELIEVE they can win.
That’s the point that people are missing. Winning is tied to confidence and expectations, and that’s what makes Tim Tebow special. He expects to win and that rubs off on other people. Winners have that quality. It’s hard to explain, it’s hard to quantify, but it’s real. Some people are winners and there is no other way to explain it.
Some of my colleagues and I were having a conversation at NBC last weekend about Bill Russell. Russell is the greatest winner in the history of basketball, having won two NCAA titles, an Olympic Gold Medal, and 11 championships with the Boston Celtics. He was similar to Tebow in that his individual statistics weren’t overwhelming, but in the clutch moments he always found a way to get the job done. And, more importantly, his teammates knew they always had a chance when he was playing.
I believe Tim has had that same effect on the Broncos. How far will it go? I’m not sure, but they are a very different team than they were eight weeks ago, and I do believe Tebow should get credit for that.