After a 1 &4 start, no one predicted that the Broncos would finish the season as AFC Champions. Even as the Broncos prepare to host a playoff game for the first time in many years, most people don’t feel as though the Broncos earned their spot in the playoffs, let alone give them a chance to win even one game. This year’s team can really be broken down into a 1&7 team and a 7&1 team. The difference between the 2 teams was leadership. When the team was winning they had a leader who believed in them no matter the circumstances. They had a leader who gave hope when all hope was lost, propelling a below average team on one of the most improbable winning streaks in league history. The team with 1 win and 7 losses was just the opposite. That team had no leader, no one to believe in and no one rallying the troops when the chips were down.
The ironic part of that 1&7 team is it had 2 different quarterbacks. One quarterback being Kyle Orton and his 1&4 start, the other consisted of the 0 and 3 finish by Tim Tebow. Finishing off the season with one of his worst performances to date, Tim Tebow was not the jubilant, energized leader that his teammates fed off of earlier in the season. His performance against Kansas City was a perfect impression of the quarterback he replaced earlier in the season. With the Broncos needing only 1 touchdown on offense to win the AFC west on their own, the offense couldn’t manage to do much of anything. Tebow’s lack of ability to throw the ball was equally matched by the receiving corps inability to run quality routes. Tebow spent most of his time on the bench praying and sulking while the game slipped from the Bronco’s fingers. There would be no mile high magic that week.
Despite their failure to win the AFC West on their own, the Broncos still managed to win the division with a loss by the Raiders. The question now becomes, which Broncos team will play a home playoff game this Sunday versus the Pittsburgh Steelers? Will the uninspired 1&7 Broncos emerge from the tunnel only to disappoint their fans and open the door for an offseason filled with Tim Tebow trade rumors? Or will the 7&1 Broncos charge onto the field and win a home playoff game against a bruised and battered Steelers team, led by their quarterback with 2 college national championships under his belt?
If Tim Tebow wants to be respected as a true NFL caliber quarterback and have a shot at starting for the Denver Broncos, or any team next year, the 7&1 team must take the field. Tim Tebow must find a way to put one of his worst performances behind him and recapture his own mystique. A mystique that isn’t really all that mysterious. What makes Tim Tebow successful is his leadership and his ability to motivate through both words and actions. When the Broncos were winning the entire team was having fun even when things weren’t going their way. Tim Tebow was a consistent motivator on the sidelines, cheering on his teammates every chance he got. In the Broncos last 3 losses there was a noticeable difference in his demeanor. Tim Tebow allowed himself to become a mirror image of the defeated quarterback that was run out of town earlier in the year.
Part of what made the Broncos successful, is that with a record of 1&4 they had nothing to lose and a team with nothing to lose can be very dangerous. As the wins mounted and the media rolled into town, the pressure on the team grew exponentially. Unfortunately the mediocre team and its fearless leader crumpled under the pressure. Now that the regular season is over and Tebowmania has died off, the Broncos are back to being a team that everyone is overlooking. They are back to being a team that isn’t expected to win and has nothing to lose. That very simple fact, combined with a little luck, some motivation and perhaps a little mile high magic could prove disastrous for the Steelers. Click here for my Official Prediction!