There haven't been many figures as polarizing as Tim Tebow. The Broncos quarterback is unorthodox in every way - from his funky left-handed throwing motion to his preference for running into linebackers rather than around them.
He's a highly accomplished player who won both the Heisman Trophy and a national championship at Florida, and now he's the starting quarterback in Denver. Under his direction, the Broncos are 4-1 and suddenly in the race in the AFC West.
Critics argue against Tebow's throwing skills while his backers cite his late-game heroics and the bottom line. So we decided to step out of Patriots Land for one week and offer our perspective on the game's newest cult hero.
This week's Samsonite Make Your Case is as follows:
Can the Broncos win long term with Tebow at quarterback?
PFW's Erik Scalavino says ...
I seem to recall another quarterback who was belittled and beleaguered because he was unorthodox for the position. He actually played for the Patriots for a while. Remember? That guy named Doug Flutie.
Like Tebow, Flutie was a Heisman Trophy winner who found success first in the NFL, then Canada, then back in the NFL late in his career. Why? Because all he did was win.
We're only a few games into the Tebow era in Denver, but so far he's doing what Flutie did: win games. He's carrying the Broncos right now. Is he a prototypical NFL passer? Of course not. But who cares? The bottom line in sports is about winning, and whatever it takes to do that, Tebow has it.
Some, like my colleague Andy Hart, say Tebow is not only a fraudulent player, but also a fraudulent persona. However, I've yet to hear any former teammates or anyone who knows Tebow closely say anything disparaging about him as a person. On the contrary, guys like Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes have praised his leadership and on-field grit and determination.
People want to follow Tebow, on and off the field, and to this point, he's shown he's more than capable of the task.
PFW's Andy Hart says ...
Denver continues to win despite Tebow. For some reason he gets all the credit, including for things like interceptions returned for a touchdown. Thursday night's game was more of a Jets loss than a Broncos win.
You can't win consistently in the NFL by making just a couple plays, a couple throws a game. He's a nice little story right now. He's brought excitement to the Rocky Mountains. But if John Elway and the Broncos think they have their long-term answer at quarterback then they are going to set the team's overall development back by three to five years.
Anyone can win over the short term. Guys like Ray Lucas and Kyle Orton have been deemed winners at different times in the NFL. But there is a certain formula that truly wins at quarterback in the NFL. It involves being able to actually throw a pass where you want it to go and hit a receiver in the hands. It involves being able to read a defense and make more than two plays a game. Freaks can do things in an unorthodox way for a short period of time, but they never last.
And neither will Tebow's success with the Broncos. They are "just winning" right now thanks more to a very solid defense being built around a true franchise talent in Von Miller. Tebow is nothing more than an overhyped, overrated, fraudulent sideshow.
Miller is the future in Denver, not Tebow. At some point No. 15 can be left to do what he really wants to do - prove how much better a person he is than everyone else around him. Hey, he may indeed be God's gift, just not to the quarterback position.
*Now it's the fans turn to cast their vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll.