Tim Tebow timeline
- Published: Jan. 11, 2012 at 04:02 p.m.
- Updated: March 26, 2012 at 01:27 p.m.
New York! New York! It’s a helluva town! Tebowmania is up, but Sanchez looks down. With that in mind, here's a look at Tim Tebow’s life since he has entered the NFL.
Tim Tebow left the University of Florida as one of the most decorated college football players ever with two national titles and a Heisman Trophy, but draftniks picked apart his unorthodox throwing style and shoddy footwork. A poor performance at the Senior Bowl certainly didn't help matters.
Despite being widely projected as a second-day pick, Tebow was selected 25th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Broncos. Denver coach Josh McDaniels became enamored with Tebow in the pre-draft process, and Denver traded Baltimore its second-, third- and fourth-round picks to move up and draft the Gators legend.
Through the first 13 games of his rookie season, Tebow was limited to spot duty in the "Wild Horse," a package of plays designed to maximize his bruising running style. The rookie scored his first regular-season touchdown on a 5-yard run against the Jets in Week 6.
A Week 13 loss dropped Denver to 3-9 and officially eliminated it from postseason play. One day later, the Broncos fired Josh McDaniels, the chief influence behind Tebow's draft selection.
Starting with a bang:
With Kyle Orton nursing bruised ribs and the Broncos toiling away at 3-10, Tim Tebow was inserted into the starting lineup against the Raiders. Although Denver lost the game 39-23, Tebow enjoyed an effective debut, going 8-for-16 for 138 yards and a touchdown, and also running the ball eight times for 78 yards, including an inspired 40-yard scoring scamper.
"Tebow Time" is born:
With Tebow in the starting lineup again the following week, Denver fell behind 17-0 at halftime to the visiting Texans. But Tebow rallied the troops after the break, guiding the Broncos to scoring drives on each of their four second-half drives, and Denver prevailed 24-23. Tebow thrilled the Broncos faithful with 308 yards passing.
Back to the bench:
Tebow entered his sophomore season thinking he would be the Broncos' quarterback, but he took a back seat to Kyle Orton, who thoroughly outplayed him throughout training camp. For a while, it was unclear whether Tebow or Brady Quinn was the Broncos' true backup.
"We Want Tebow!":
As Denver stumbled out to a 1-4 start, rally cries for Tebow got louder by the week. Broncos fans could be heard chanting "We want Tebow" at multiple games. Eventually a Denver company took to a digital billboard, begging John Fox to play Tebow.
A fateful decision:
During Denver's bye week, Fox switches quarterbacks from Orton to Tebow, but claims the fans did not influence his thought process. "It's not so much fan outcry as we're in a result-oriented business, and we're 1-4," Fox said. "It's not one guy. We'll see if this helps."
The first miracle:
Despite a welcoming road environment in Miami -- thanks to an odd Dolphins promotion that honored the 2008 Florida Gators national championship -- Tebow plays horribly through the first 57 minutes of the game and the Broncos fall behind 15-0, well on their way to 1-5. But in the final 2:44, Tebow miraculously throws a pair of touchdown passes and notches a two-point conversion with his legs to send the game into overtime. Eventually, Denver wins on a 52-yard Matt Prater field goal.
The Lions absolutely mauled the Broncos, 45-10. Detroit sacked Tebow seven times and converted his two turnovers into touchdowns.
On the heels of planking, Tebowing becomes a nationwide trend, practiced by some high-profile celebrities and athletes. What is Tebowing? Well, according to the man himself: "To get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different."
Riding the read-option:
The Broncos stormed the Black Hole in Week 9 and took it to the Raiders, 38-24. Much of Denver's success came from the implementation of the read-option, an offensive tactic normally reserved for the college ranks. The Broncos churned out 299 yards on the ground, including 163 from Willis McGahee and 118 from Tebow.
Two completions, one win:
The Drive, Tebow style:
Facing a 13-10 deficit to the Jets in Week 11 with less than six minutes remaining, the Denver offense took over on its own 5-yard line, having punted on its previous eight possessions. Tebow proceeded to calmly march the Broncos 95 yards to paydirt, accounting for 92 yards on his own, including the game-winning, 20-yard scamper with 58 seconds left.
Escape from San Diego:
With Chargers kicker Nick Novak lining up for a game-winning field goal in overtime, Tim Tebow began praying on the Broncos sideline. Was he asking The Almighty for a miss? "I might have said that. Or maybe a block. Maybe all of it," Tebow admitted postgame. His prayers were answered, as Novak couldn't convert the 53-yarder. Tebow proceeded to drive Denver for the game-clinching field goal. In the 16-13 win, Tebow ran the ball 22 times -- the most carries by an NFL quarterback since 1950.
The Broncos outlasted the Vikings, 35-32 in Week 13, with Tebow enjoying the most efficient passing game of his professional career. He completed 10 of his 15 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns, giving him a near-perfect quarterback rating of 149.3. Tebow helped set up a pair of field goals in the game's final 93 seconds, including Matt Prater's 23-yarder as time expired.
You gotta believe!:
The Broncos won their sixth straight game in highly improbable fashion, leading many to sight divine intervention. "If you believe," Tebow said, "then unbelievable things can sometimes be possible." Unbelievable, indeed. The Bears took a 10-0 lead deep into the fourth quarter, but Tebow rallied the Broncos in the last few minutes of regulation, with Matt Prater nailing a 59-yarder to send the game into overtime. An OT fumble by Marion Barber, who also had an inexplicable (and costly) mental error late in the fourth quarter, set up Prater's 51-yard game-winner.
Back to reality?:
Tebow and the Broncos struggled mightily down the stretch, losing their final three games of the season to New England, Buffalo and Kansas City. But Denver's 8-8 record was good enough to take the AFC West. Tebowmania was playoff-bound.
Mile High madness:
Nobody gave the Broncos much of a chance in their wild-card matchup against Pittsburgh, with the Steelers boasting the top-ranked defense in football. But a 20-point explosion in the second quarter -- the period that had haunted Denver all season -- gave the Broncos a shocking 14-point lead at the half. Pittsburgh stormed back after the break and sent the game into overtime. On the very first play of the extra period, Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas in stride across the middle of the field, and the second-year wideout did the rest of the work. Thomas stiff-armed Ike Taylor and raced 80 yards to the end zone for a walk-off touchdown that sent Denver fans into a frenzy. Tebow passed for 316 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 50 yards and an additional score.
Tebowmania takes a bite out of the Big Apple following his trade to the New York Jets. The Jets fans will be making catcalls for Tebow, beckoning the backup every time Mark Sanchez throws an incomplete pass. But Tebow not only benefits the Jets, the competitive New York tabloids might have taken a knee in thanks of this Godsend of Page Six fodder.