Sunday’s game is the biggest of Tim Tebow’s life.
In a season filled with hyperbole and drama, it is no overstatement to say that Tebow’s future as an NFL quarterback hinges largely on the outcome of the Broncos contest with the Chiefs on New Year’s Day.
Following a John Elway era that created expectations as great as a mile is high, the Broncos organization has seen the following from its quarterbacks in games of consequence:
2005: Jake Plummer lays an egg in the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers.
2006: Jay Cutler fails to beat a hapless San Francisco team on the last day of the season costing Denver a playoff spot.
2008: Cutler and Broncos lose to a similarly sorry Buffalo squad on the way to a three-game season-ending skid that keeps them out of the postseason and costs Mike Shanahan his job.
2009: The Kyle Orton-led Broncos lose at home to the 4-9 Raiders and 3-12 Chiefs to squander a 6-0 start and miss the tournament.
Win on Sunday and Tebow separates himself from this series of failures. Come away victorious and the argument that the second year quarterback is a “winner” -- many argue this to be his biggest asset-- stays intact. Win, and, as the quarterback who played a large part in getting the Broncos into the playoffs for the first time since 2005, it makes sense for John Elway to work with Tebow during the offseason in an effort to improve his pedestrian-at-best passing skills. In short, beat the Chiefs and No. 15 will still have access to the resources required to potentially transform him into a legitimate NFL quarterback.
Lose, and Tebow becomes just another fading Broncos quarterback who shows up for money time flat broke. Fail to win one of the team’s final three games and miss out on the postseason and the “winner” tag finds credibility only in Gainesville, Florida. Lose, and all bets are off regarding his future in Denver—and “The League.”
No pressure, Tim. It’s only your football life.