Yahoo! Sports writer Michael Silver recently wrote an article for the March issue of GQ Magazine titled The Year of Magical Stinking: An Oral History of Tebow Time in which several people including head coach John Fox, Trent Dilfer, John Elway, Terrell Suggs, Kurt Warner and even Brady Quinn talk about the year of Tebow. Some quotes are supportive and others are detrimental but no one expected the backup quarterback would be his biggest critic.
Silver does an incredible job with the timeline of quotes that begin with Tebow’s first start of the season and end with the embarrassing loss to the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs. Silver injects crucial quotes throughout the piece but I am sure he was even taken back by some of the things Quinn had to say.
“Early in the season, there was a game when Kyle [Orton] got hurt and the coaches were calling for me to go in, but Kyle got up and finished the game out,” Quinn said. “So I was the second-string guy. Then, a few weeks later, they decided to put Tim in. I felt like the fans had a lot to do with that. Just ’cause they were chanting his name. There was a big calling for him. No, I didn’t have any billboards. That would have been nice.”
There is no doubt Quinn is correct in saying the fans had some say in why Tebow got to play. To chant his name every time they see him, to make his jersey the number one seller on the team and to put up billboards pleading to start him is a tough situation to beat for any quarterback. No owner in their right mind would allow their coach to not play a player who the fans desperately want in. Also, Quinn says that it would have been nice if the people of Denver put up billboards for him, but why on earth would they do something like that? Quinn has clearly proven he is nothing special. He had his opportunities with two different teams and could not capitalize on either of them.
Weeks 9 and 10 of the NFL season were a rollercoaster ride for Tebow and the media. In a victory against the Oakland Raiders, Tebow rushed for 118 yards and passed for two touchdowns. The following week he completed only two passes against the Kansas City Chiefs while the Broncos rush 55 times for a 17-10 win.
“The entire game, the defensive line is chasing the quarterback around, and that wears down the pass rush,” Quinn tells Silver. “Meanwhile, the defensive backs are chasing receivers, but you only throw eight passes, so they start to feel lazy. It only takes that one play, that one big pass, for a touchdown.”
Quinn does not want to give credit for the victory to Tebow and others feel the exact same way. Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawn Merriman tells Silver, “His teammates are making him look a lot better than he is.” Meanwhile Suggs is even more critical with his words.
“I mean, it’s an insult to us players. You know, wins are hard to come by in this league, and if I was Denver’s defense, I would feel a certain way—they’re not allowed to [say it], ’cause they’re all on one team, but people are making it look like Tim Tebow is the kid from Foxboro—which, that couldn’t be more opposite,” Suggs tells Silver. “It’s just crazy that we’re calling him a phenomenon when basically he’s mediocre. Cam Newton’s a way better quarterback than Tim Tebow, and we don’t have a Cam Newton phenomenon.”
The Broncos make an incredible comeback against the Chicago Bears in week 14 that had the airwaves buzzing with Tebowmania. Down by three with 2:08 left in the fourth quarter the Broncos get the ball back and kick a 59-yard field goal to send the game to overtime. The Bears basically have the game won until Wesley Woodyard makes an incredible play and strips the ball from Marion Barber. The Broncos recover and Tebow marches the offense down the field to set up a 51-yard game-winning field goal.
It seems like everyone had something good to say about the performance. Von Miller tells Silver, “I mean, you could just see our team’s resiliency in action,” and Kurt Warner calls it “divine intervention.” The entire team was convinced the reason for the win was their resiliency but Quinn, the guy who never even stepped on the field during the game, tells Silver, “We’ve had a lot of, I guess, luck, to put it simply.”
Was there luck involved? Maybe, it was definitely lucky Barber ran out of bounds and stopped the clock giving the Broncos a chance. However, I believe it was all skill when Woodyard forced a fumble in overtime to allow Denver’s offense to set up a field goal to win the game. For a backup quarterback to throw his team under the bus like that after a thrilling and momentum shifting performance is downright irresponsible. Quinn had nothing to do with the the game besides relaying plays to Tebow and yet he feels it was necessary to dispute his team’s gutsy performance.
A heavy topic for most people in the interview was the religion and praying. Some people did not mind how Tebow showed his faith on the field after a win and others disagreed with it immensely. Nick Barnett tells Silver, “I think it does rub some of the guys the wrong way. For a lot of Christians, using football as a measuring stick of how good God is—it’s not necessarily what you’re supposed to be doing.” Others such as Dilfer do not have a problem with what Tebow is doing but “what the Christian community is doing with his faith.”
Quinn is one of the people who do not quite understand why Tebow goes about showing his faith the way he does.
“If you look at it as a whole, there’s a lot of things that just don’t seem very humble to me,” Quinn tells Silver. “When I get that opportunity, I’ll continue to lead not necessarily by trying to get in front of the camera and praying but by praying with my teammates, you know?”
It is not so much when he will get that opportunity but if he will. Fox has already stated that he wants a quarterback competition in training camp and Executive Vice President John Elway said Tebow is not guaranteed the starting job next season. That means Quinn is likely to be the best competition for Tebow, unless they bring in someone else, but I cannot see Tebow giving up the starting position. No matter what happens between now and then there is one thing for sure, after this interview it seems things will get heated in camp.