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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Odd Couple: Tebow’s Win Streak Forces Elway to Keep Him

John Elway figured it would be over by now. He was sure that defenses would have figured Tim Tebow out by now opening the door for the quarterback he is going to draft next year but every week Tebow somehow defies the odds and continues to keep the Denver Broncos in the win column.

It’s almost as if Tebow has to prove himself over and over again each week. Even though there is no one waiting in the wings to take over if he fails, Tebow goes into each game as if he won’t be starting next week if he doesn’t deliver a win. I guess that’s why he plays each week like he’s in the Mile High version of Survivor.

Tebow won over the hearts of the Broncos’ faithful a long time ago but despite his success, management has been reluctant to commit to him. They have committed to Von Miller, the pass rushing stud they drafted in this year’s draft though. Miller is being viewed as one of their building blocks for the future.

But when discussions about Tebow are brought up, you never hear that same certainty about Tebow’s future with the team. It’s like they really don’t envision him as their quarterback of the future, more like a stop-gap until they can fill the position with someone they really like.

Tebow's run has got to feel like déjà vu for John Fox though. Fox was the head coach of the Carolina Panthers back in 2003 when Jake Delhomme led that team on a magical run. Delhomme was brought in that year to be Rodney Peete’s back up but ended up replacing Peete by halftime of the first game of the season.

Delhomme ended up winning that game and would remain the starter for the rest of the season leading the Panthers to the Super Bowl. Delhomme had eight come from behind victories in the fourth quarter of games that year displaying that same fourth quarter touch that Fox is witnessing from Tebow this season.

But Delhomme’s tale is a cautionary tale though. The Panthers didn’t have the same success in Delhomme’s second season. They would end the 2004 season with a 7-9 record and would only have two more winning seasons out of the last five years Delhomme played there.

Which is one of the reasons why Fox talks just as cautiously as Elway does when it comes to the subject of Tim Tebow. Much of the reason why Fox is no longer coaching in Carolina is tied to the commitment he made to Delhomme as his starting quarterback. I doubt he’s willing to make that mistake again.

Besides, Fox and Elway are trying to build a perennial winner that will be in the thick of the championship hunt every year the way the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers are. After the way he’s played this year, Tebow will most likely begin next season as their starting quarterback but if things go bad they want to have someone waiting in the wings to lead the team to the next level.

But for now they have no choice but to wait out this run Tebow is on and see if Tebow is able to carry it into next season. Maybe defenses will finally catch up to Tebow next year or maybe he will continue to defy the odds every week, who knows? One thing is for certain, we'll all be watching. 

Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and also writes for both The Penalty Flag and Outside The Redzone. He can be contacted at Follow him on Twitter @Sportmentalist.

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