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The next Elway? Numbers put Tebow in legendary company

John Elway will forever be legend in Denver, but make no mistake, Tim Tebow is creeping in on the man's territory.

"I've never seen anything close to this," Elway told NFL Network on Thursday, "and I'm not sure we'll ever see anything like this again."

And that was before the game.

Before Tebow's stunning 95-yard, game-winning drive that put the Jets' season on the endangered list.

As Elway watched from up high, the Broncos team executive undoubtedly recalled his own 98-yard, AFC Championship-winning drive against the Browns in January 1987, which sealed his legacy and paved the way for a Hall of Fame career. 

Elway's job with the Broncos is to, as Rich Eisen put it, find the franchise's "next him."

People recall Elway's moments of grandeur, but forget he struggled out of the gate. 

Examine the numbers from their first eight starts, and Tebow outshines Elway in every single category save for completion percentage. 

Before Thursday's game, Eisen asked Elway if he would have drafted Tebow back in 2010.

"Would I have drafted him? You know what, I don't know," Elway said. "Obviously, I wasn't in that situation."

It speaks to the fact that Elway inherited Tebow, and while his support of the second-year quarterback appears genuine, there's some concern the Broncos are almost stuck in the middle of a circus that's come to town. You ride the Ferris wheel and get conked on cotton candy, but there's no long-term solution in a circus. It moves on.

Elway, probably remembering that everything Tebow-related goes viral in this society, paused a moment before revising his initial response.

"Yes, I would have drafted him," he said. "Now, if you're asking me if I would have drafted him in the first round. I don't know, because I wasn't in those draft meetings. ... I didn't study Tim Tebow before he came out."

He's studying him now.

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