I've been pretty quiet about the whole Tim Tebow thing here so far, but what the Denver Broncos are doing is getting too big to ignore. Despite his limitations as a pro-style passer in the mold of Rogers, Brady, Manning, etc., Tebow has managed to help lead a 1-4 Broncos team that was 4-12 the year before to win six in a row and seven out of eight. Certainly the Broncos have enjoyed strong play lately from their defense, running game, and special teams, but the change at the QB position has made the difference for this team. Another factor that makes this streak even more remarkable is that the team has done all this without their best WR, Brandon Lloyd, who was traded to the Rams just before Tebow got his first start.
The addition of Tebow at QB has clearly had a synergistic effect on the Broncos. Synergy, according to freedictionary.com is "the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects." Right now, the Broncos as a team are playing greater than the sum of their individual parts. The way they are winning games is even more mind-boggling: six of their seven wins involved second-half comebacks, including three overtime wins. They have trailed in the 4th quarter the past four weeks; yet no matter how badly they play, they manage to find a way to win ballgames.
From this article: "I don't want to give him all the credit," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said of Tebow. "But at the same time, he comes through at crunch time every week. Every single week it's like, 'You've got to be kidding me.' It gets to the point where you say, 'What the frickin' is happening here?'"
"Merrill Hoge, one of Tebow's detractors, has finally come around as well (Mike and Mike show podcast) and is now "a huge fan" of the Broncos and Tim Tebow. I heard him talk this morning about his amazement in what Tebow has accomplished in leading this Broncos team on this winning streak (bearing similarities to the theme of Hoge's new book, Find A Way). Hoge says, "Now, I'm not saying they're going to win a Super Bowl, but the lessons that they are showing what sports is about; that regardless of your skills set...is how you maximize that skills set." He genuinely admires what the Broncos are doing from a team standpoint and the value of the sport of football and he made a great point that a team doesn't have to win a championship to be champions.
Peter King quoted K Matt Prater here in his MMQB column after the improbable comeback win vs. the Bears: "You know what's fun about this?'' said Prater. "Everyone keeps saying what Tim can't do. And he goes out every week and we win. We love the guy. He's so real. Now we just feel like anything's possible.''
Mark Kisla from the Denver Post says this here: "There are more talented squads in the NFL. But right here, right now, nobody in the league is playing with more heart than the Broncos."
The answer to Champ Bailey's question about "what is happening here" is that the Broncos as a team have an incredible belief in one another that has this team playing greater than the sum of its individual parts. The adversity that they have overcome again and again in coming back to win games the way they have only fuels this belief and the "legend of Tim Tebow." But Tebow quickly gives his team credit here: "I don't think it's Tebow Time. I just think it's Bronco Time, and the team steps up." He adds here: "I think because we’ve been through these situations it makes us more comfortable. But I think overall we count on the guy next to us. We trust the guy next to us and lay it all on the line on every play. When that’s your mentality, and you have that perseverance, and you believe the guy next to you is going to do his job, then until the clock hits zero and maybe even after that, we’re going to keep believing."
Many former players say that the camaraderie among teammates is what they miss the most about the game. I can only imagine what it feels like to be a part of the Denver locker room and having the confidence that they must have. It is truly a special thing this team doing right now—unlike anything I have ever seen in sports. Tim Tebow has given this team faith to not just believe that they can do the impossible, but that they expect to do the impossible.