It has been quite a couple of weeks for Tim Tebow and his fans. After a lot of noise in the system since the summer, the Denver Broncos are giving Tebow his chance. The Florida legend is preparing for his first start of 2011 in Miami against the Dolphins. Returning to Florida for his long awaited chance to prove himself on the Gator Day Celebration the Dolphins planned in the offseason to honor the 2008 national championships? The script could not have been written any better.
I’m on record doubting Tebow’s chances at NFL success. I think he is more than capable of starting in a league that currently employs John Beck, Matt Moore and Tavaris Jackson. I think he’ll have his moments. But I don’t think NFL stardom awaits our favorite son. In the right system, he can be successful enough to win. His leadership abilities alone will pay dividends if surrounded by a good team. Denver, though, is not a good football team and that does not bode well for the near term.
I hope I’m wrong, especially as a Dolphins fan, starting this week. I’ll keep my Dan Marino jersey stashed in the closet on Sunday and in its place will sport a Gators tee. Apparently, I’m not alone. If Tebow has a nice game and leads Denver to the win, my Dolphins are one step closer to mission accomplished in “Operation Suck for Luck.” And as bad as the Dolphins are, there is reason for hope for Tebow’s 2011 debut.
The relentless ESPN media machine will eat up a Tebow win in his first start, especially if he looks good (and frankly who hasn’t against Miami this year). But win or lose, play well or stink, too much will be made of the game simply because of Tebow. That’s the curse of his fame. Despite my realistic expectations for Tebow’s success in the league, it has pained me to see others so quick and heavy with the criticism for a guy who is everything we should want our athletes to be (and I’m a liberal, pro-choice agnostic).
But on the flip side, that fame leads to things like this. For just $75, you can have a Tim Tebow Halloween Jack-O-Lantern. And really, who wouldn’t want this on the front porch next weekend?
So Trick or Treat Timmy? Hopefully, he comes dressed on Sunday as Steve Young incarnate and delivers a loud statement about his NFL future. But even if he is more Scott Mitchell, as long as the Broncos win, Dolphins and Gators fans should be happy.