When I first asked people on facebook what they thought of the Denver Broncos landing Peyton Manning on the free agent market I thought I would be swarmed with joyful replies. Instead I have been bombarded with the not so happy comments from “Tebow-nation.”
“Sad day for Broncos fans Sam,” one comment said.
Others commented with the following remarks:
“I am pretty upset.”
“Very disappointed, but I don’t sign any checks so my opinion means squat.”
One person even said that he thought the Broncos blew it on the P.R. front.
“It takes away from Tim Tebow and the positive role model that Tim presented to our youth. He was great for youth and all fans.”
Hold the presses!
I didn’t realize signing a future Hall of Fame quarterback made Tim Tebow any less of a role model.
The problem with NFL fans in Denver is that there are Broncos fans and Tebow fans. Both are very passionate and both want to win. But both think very differently.
A Broncos fan wants to see the team win at any cost. If any player on the roster, fan favorite or not, is not the best guy for the job then the Broncos fan just wants the next guy to step in and be better so the team can win games. In this case, the next guy is Peyton Manning and the cost is around $95 million over a five year period.
A Tebow fan wants to see the Broncos win too so long as Tim Tebow is the guy leading the team to victory. It doesn’t matter how ugly or pretty it looks. It doesn’t matter how poor his efficiency is. The only thing that matters is that Tebow is the guy under center. In this case, it turns out Tebow led the Broncos back to the playoffs for the first time in five years and was rewarded with John Elway’s vote of confidence.
“I think Tim has earned the right to be the starting quarterback going into training camp next year,” Elway said. “I think that he made some good strides this year.”
But everything changed when Mr. Elway was seen alongside head coach John Fox giving Peyton Manning a personal tour of Broncos Headquarters at Dove Valley. Elway obviously impressed Manning enough to earn his commitment to play for the Broncos. And for that, the most popular figure in the history of Colorado Sports is being villainized.
“Does Mr. Elway really want to kill Tebowmania,” asked one Tebow fan on facebook.
“Wrong way Elway must need a buddy to talk about old times. You lost out again John,” added another Tebow fan on our website kktv.com/sports.
And the final one I will share (although there are many, many more) comes from a Tebow fan that thinks Elway is making this move out of jealousy.
“(Elway) was afraid Tebow might become more loved by fans than he was. Why sign an old man for a young inspired QB? Why in the world do Elway and the Broncos have to bash Tebow now?”
Tebow fans are also quite sensitive of his personal beliefs in Christianity. Tebow makes no secret of his faith in God. He is seen multiple times in every game on his knee in prayer. He is not afraid of what people might think and he is not afraid to let people know that God comes first, even before football. I applaud him for that.
The problem is when Tebow is criticized for his poor play or inability to produce on the football field, Tebow fans often times take it as a personal attack on his religious beliefs.
I too am a devout Christian. But I also try my best to be an objective sports journalist. So when I give my opinion on an athlete for his or her performance, that’s just what it is. My own opinion and critique. So when I see comments like this one on my facebook page, I do get a bit irritated.
“Almost 100 percent of the people I know who are happy about this are also bitter and hostile toward Christianity. That’s what this is about for Tebow detractors. They don’t like his religion. Elway is desperate for media approval, and ESPN columnists despise Tebow and have despised him ever since the anti-abortion Super Bowl ad. Let’s get real and be honest about what’s at play here.”
Wait… can’t fans be happy because they just signed a four-time MVP who has played in two Super Bowls and won one of them? A guy who is one of the winning-est all-time players in the National Football League? A guy they feel gives them the opportunity to win Super Bowls again here in Denver? Does it really have to do with Tebow’s beliefs?
But maybe Tebow fans do have a point. Here are some questions to consider.
Was this acquisition done more to help the Broncos win NOW in the waning years of Manning’s career?
Some might argue that Tebow was becoming bigger as an individual than the Broncos franchise as a whole. So was it more a move that would give the Broncos a legitimate excuse to finally cut ties with Tebow, a quarterback that both Elway and Fox never fully endorsed as the QB of the future?
You will have to answer those questions on your own.
I, for one, have been a life-long Broncos fan. I was speechless and thrilled with every comeback victory Tim Tebow orchestrated last season. I was all-in with Tebow. I was looking forward to seeing what improvement if any Tebow would make with a full off-season under his belt. He could become a more polished passer to add to his dangerous ability to make plays happen with his feet. We may never know the answer to that question now.
Today, when I saw that Peyton Manning chose Denver I was filled with a new excitement and optimism. I am excited to see if he can make the Broncos an instant contender and bring back championship glory to the Mile High City.
I can’t say what the Broncos motives were behind the move. But in my honest opinion, I believe John Elway, Pat Bowlen and John Fox have the best interest of the organization in mind and they just want to win.
Let’s hope it works.