Few were tougher on Tim Tebow out of the gate than ESPN's Merril Hoge, but he publicly changed his stance Monday, telling "Mike & Mike in the Morning" that his eyes were once "clouded," but he's come to see the Broncos quarterback, and Denver's uprising, as an inspiration.
"The lessons that (the Broncos) are showing (are) what sports are about. ... I've been obviously very hard on Tim Tebow, very critical of him as a quarterback and his skill set," Hoge said.
"... I've been wrong on a lot of levels with (Tebow). I've lost the ability, or the opportunity, I should say ... to shed light on what an amazing story (about) how he has worked, persevered, changed -- his diligence -- all those things that you try to teach young people ... (what) sports are really about."
Hoge made the important distinction of labeling Denver's surge a story about the Broncos, not just their quarterback.
Tim Tebow's early detractors, in large numbers, now can be found sliding away from predictions of his doom -- or flat-out cheering for the guy in taverns and living rooms.
Yes, there are more important things happening in the world, and maybe that's what has the average Renaissance man befuddled and red-faced -- because, yes, it is absurd to find yourself reading a story about a guy who tattooed his leg with a Tebow-headed centaur.
If you turn down the white noise and some of the overreaction, however, and weigh what the Broncos have accomplished after so many wrote them off, it's as vivid a football narrative as we've had in many, many years. At its core, it is what so much of sports fails to be today -- meaningful.