The Tim Tebow debate has raged into the off-season, and by now we know the usual detractors: guys like Terrell Suggs, Nick Barnett, Shawne Merriman, Brady Quinn ...
And it's not just one subtle jab, either. Early in his piece, Silver gets Quinn talking about how Tebow got promoted to starter:
Early in the season, there was a game when Kyle [Orton] got hurt and the coaches were calling for me to go in, but Kyle got up and finished the game out. So I was the second-string guy. Then, a few weeks later, they decided to put Tim in. I felt like the fans had a lot to do with that. Just ’cause they were chanting his name. There was a big calling for him. No, I didn't have any billboards. That would have been nice.
Silver continues on with an oral history of the season, sprinkling in choice quotes from the likes of Kurt Warner (who compares Tebow to a character in the Bible) and Suggs (who calls Tebow "terrible").
Then it's back to Quinn, who demystifies Tebow's late-game prowess:
The entire game, the defensive line is chasing the quarterback around, and that wears down the pass rush. Meanwhile, the defensive backs are chasing receivers, but you only throw eight passes, so they start to feel lazy. It only takes that one play, that one big pass, for a touchdown.
To be sure, others in the story feel similarly. Merriman, of the Bills, tells Silver, "His teammates are making him look a lot better than he is." Suggs, of the Ravens, says, "No matter how many bad games Tim Tebow is gonna have, it’s 'He’s great.' I'll never understand it."
But the most glaring quotes -- though not the most hard-hitting -- come from Quinn.
In one passage, Broncos star linebacker Von Miller gives credit to the team -- "I mean, you could just see our team's resiliency in action. Nobody was giving up" -- and then Quinn offers a different reason for the Broncos' surge: "We’ve had a lot of, I guess, luck, to put it simply."
Now, Quinn isn't saying anything that hasn't been thought by pretty much everyone. Tebow didn't win football games with dominance or cunning. It's hard to pin his leadership on anything other than his all-world will and, as Warner suggests, "divine intervention." But in this story we have everyone in the Broncos organization, from coach John Fox to president John Elway to Miller, saying all the right things. Then there's the backup quarterback, Brady Quinn.
And not everything Quinn says is about football. The former Notre Dame star also questions how Tebow prays.
"If you look at it as a whole," he tells Silver, "there's a lot of things that just don't seem very humble to me. When I get that opportunity, I'll continue to lead not necessarily by trying to get in front of the camera and praying but by praying with my teammates, you know?"
Will Quinn get that opportunity? Fox says he wants two new quarterbacks to contend for the top job in Denver in the fall. So despite leading his team to a playoff victory, Tebow will have plenty of headwinds when training camp opens.
And it's likely not all of the doubters will be outside the Broncos complex.
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