It’s officially Tebow time!
After the first five games of the 2011 NFL season, the Denver Broncos had a 1-4 record with veteran quarterback Kyle Orton at the helm. In reaction, Bronco’s fans started purchasing billboards around Denver, campaigning for Tim Tebow to take the reigns of their cherished franchise.
In college, Tebow rewrote the NCAA record book during his tenure with the Florida Gators, and was a controversial late first-round pick by the Broncos in 2010. Spending most of his rookie season holding a clipboard, his only playing time occurred during red zone situations — using the “Tebow Package,” the coaching staff exploited Tebow’s mobility and skill to finish off drives.
Tebow eventually took over in relief from Kyle Orton to finish out the final three games of the 2010 season under coach Josh McDaniels. The young QB went 1-2, but showed promise both through the air and on the ground.
This season, fan chants for Tebow were loud and frequent leading up to the Bronco’s bye in week six. Tebow then took over from a struggling Kyle Orton. In his first two games this year, he led his team to an epic fourth quarter comeback in Miami before taking a vicious beat down at home against the Detroit Lions.
In a week nine match up against their AFC West rival, the Oakland Raiders, an offence designed around the college star was created and implemented by Broncos head coach John Fox.
Scrapping the conventional drop back scheme, which critics thought Tebow would struggle in, Fox introduced a spread option offensive scheme that is popular in college but has not been seen in the NFL in more than 30 years. The scheme relies primarily on quarterback driven runs and pitches to the tailback, with minimal down field throwing.
The scheme is successful against blitzing defences; forcing blitzing defenders to slow down and read the option before they can make a play.
In the first two games with the offence in place, Tebow completed only 12 passes — he went an unfathomed 2-8 for 69 yards in the week 10 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs — but the Broncos won both games and racked up over 543 yards on the ground.
Tebow put together another dramatic finish on Nov. 17 against the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football. Late in the fourth quarter, Tebow led the Broncos offence on a 95-yard drive that he capped off himself with a 20-yard touchdown run. The score put the Broncos ahead 17-13 with 58 seconds remaining in the game.
Now on a three game win streak, how far can the Broncos possibly go in today’s pass-happy NFL with a quarterback that rarely throws a pass? Coach Fox seems “all in” on the idea of building this offence around Tebow’s skill set — where other coaches and teams around the league may have been weary to do so.
Tebow has always been considered a natural leader on the football field and has been a winner at every level of the sport. There was a spark in not only the stands but on the sideline when the offence was finally turned over to him. With the Broncos realistically in the playoff hunt, it seems possible that Tebow will continue to lead his team to victory as they make a push for the AFC West title — whether it’s with his arm, or more likely, his legs.