NFL legend John Elway remains skeptical of Tim Tebow's recent success quarterbacking for the Denver Broncos and what it’s meaning for the football franchise's future.
Elway, both the Broncos' executive vice president of football operations and its most successful quarterback ever, raised remaining doubts about Tebow's playing ability during his weekly radio broadcast Monday. Speaking to host Gary Miller, the revered Rockies athlete admitted he hasn't tagged Tebow as Denver's long-term quarterback just yet.
"Any closer to feeling like you have a quarterback on this team?" Miller asked Elway during Monday's broadcast.
"No," Elway answered. "I think obviously he's (Tebow's) making progress week in and week out. When you look at our third down numbers, those have to improve. I mean, that's the bottom line."
Tebow's status as Denver's current starting quarterback follows two tumultuous seasons in Colorado. His rookie season in 2010 was marred by inexperience, given he started only three games and played backup quarterback during another six. In 2011, he played second fiddle to starting quarterback Kyle Orton, only for Orton to underperform with a 1-4 record. He's has since taken the reigns and brought the Broncos to a split-record of 5-5.
It's proven an uphill battle for the popular but unproven sports star. Tebow has pleased football fans across the country with his open Christianity and his positive attitude regardless of wins or losses. In contrast, sports analysts have singled him out as an overall failure at his position on account of his passing technique and awareness on the field.
Loved or hated, however, Tebow has turned the Broncos' fortunes around. The team is now 4-1 under his leadership, with a 17-13 upset over the New York Jets serving as the team's most recent triumph. The narrow victory took place when Tebow personally ran for a touchdown with 58 seconds left on the clock. It also marked his third of four late comebacks, a trend that has Elway sweating more than he likes each game.
"Tim Tebow did exactly what he thought he could on (last) Thursday night," Elway said. "When we get in those tough situations, he's a guy that's going to be able to make those plays.”
"We can't go 3-13 and win a world championship," he continued. "Those are the type of things we have to keep improving."
The standoff between Denver's quarterbacks old and new took a turn for the extreme when Elway dropped Orton Wednesday, allowing the Kansas City Chiefs to pick him up instead. It's a drastic move given Orton could overturn Denver's second place ranking in their division should he perform well with the Chiefs. It may also mark Tebow's last turn to prove his doubters wrong.
"Getting rid of Tebow would be highly unpopular, but it wouldn't be overly surprising," wrote Michael Silver for Yahoo! Sports Wednesday. "I feel this way because Elway is running the show, and he possesses both the standing to tune out fan-generated hysteria and the unsurpassed knowledge of what a true franchise quarterback looks like. The Tebowites may be vocal, and they may be feisty, but they won't intimidate him."
Tebow, for his part, is seemingly weathering his future in football with patience and faith while earning additional wins. Taking to Facebook yesterday, he wrote "Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Psalm 100 GB²."
"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the Earth," reads the Psalm's NIV translation. "Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God and that it is he who made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture."
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise," continues its fourth and fifth verses. "Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."