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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Drinking the Tebow Kool-Aid.

Shannon Sharpe, who has never been a Tim Tebow believer, interviewed him in Denver for CBS Sports the week before the Chicago Bears game. Sharpe asked Tebow what he thought was a penetrating question on his lack of passing skills. "Doesn't a quarterback get paid to throw the ball," asked Sharpe. Tebow instantly replied that "a quarterback gets paid to win.”
Shannon Sharpe was almost speechless and you could see he didn't know what to say next.

Sharpe, a Hall of Fame tight end and broadcast journalist, is a really glib guy. He always has something to say and never hesitates to say it. When he was playing for the Broncos, he picked up the sidelines phone in a game at New England to call the National Guard to get "immediate" help for the Patriots, who were being "massacred by the Broncos."  Before Tebow did it in the interview, I have never seen anyone leave Shannon Sharpe at a loss for words. 

After interviewing Tebow, Sharpe picked the Broncos to beat the Bears, which they did.  When questioned about his pick on the CBS morning pre-game show, Sharpe explained that he "has been drinking the Tebow kool-aid." 

The Broncos success since Tebow became a starter, when the team had 1 win and 4 losses, is widely viewed as an unexplained phenomenon of nearly divine proportions.  Many print and broadcast commentators just can't understand how Tebow can be successful given his sloppy footwork, imprecise throwing mechanics and many badly thrown balls.  ESPN analyst Merrill Hoge, for example, basically pronounced on both ESPN and Twitter that Tebow was not and never would be a legitimate starting NFL quarterback.
But Tebow's success is no mystery to informed observers who closely follow the Broncos. He is a highly effective leader who knows how to win. He inspires his teammates and seems to make everyone on the team a mentally stronger player and a better player. His teamates not only believe in him, they believe in themselves. Confidence is a huge part of sports success, and the Broncos know they can win and expect to win. They are winning as a team, including offense, defense, special teams and coaching. 

Tebow makes his teammates believe in themselves. When receiver Demaryius Thomas let a long nicely thrown pass slip though his hands, missing a clear touchdown, Tebow didn’t flinch.  He sat down next to Thomas on the bench, put his arm around his shoulders, and told him not to worry because he is a great receiver and would catch the winning touchdown pass. Late in the fourth quarter, Thomas caught a touchdown pass to bring the Broncos within 3 points of the Bears. He drank the Tebow kool-aid. 

The Broncos then kicked a long field goal with only seconds left in the game to tie it up and win in overtime. The kicker was apparently drinking the Tebow kool-aid.    

Former NFL coach Herm Edwards gets it. He warned other teams not to "let the Broncos hang around until the fourth quarter because Tim Tebow will find a way to beat you."  Everyone on the Broncos believes this. They all drink the Tebow kool-aid. 

Preston Oade for Bleacher Report.  All quotes are based on televised interviews or reports and the NFL Network audio of Tebow, who was “miked” during the Bears game.

December 21, 2011. 

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