Tim Tebow is fired up as he runs over to the Broncos sidelines between plays, a wild-eyed look on his menacing face. He’s consumed by the moment as his athletic arrogance and competitiveness take over from the respectful personality he displays off the field.
“There is only one person who carries the ball right here!” Tebow screams at the Broncos coaches.
He doesn’t mean Knowshon Moreno.
It is Tebow’s rookie year in 2010, the next-to-last game of the season, and Denver has a second and goal from the Texans’ 6.
“Did you score on the next play?” Tebow is asked Wednesday.
“Yes, sir,” he says.
Tebow runs around the left side for the winning touchdown with 3:02 remaining in the Broncos’ 24-23 victory.
He has had success in the NFL as a starting quarterback, he’s just 25 years old and he’s extremely competitive. So how long can he possibly be satisfied as an afterthought in the Jets’ offense after taking just nine snaps in the ineffective Wildcat — it was more like the Pussycat offense — in the opener against the Bills? He ran five times for just 11 yards and didn’t attempt one pass.
He won’t make a stink during the season, but if Mark Sanchez doesn’t provide an opening to play, then I think Tebow is one-and-done as a Jet. I believe he endorsed the trade to the Jets rather than his hometown Jaguars because he felt he would have a better opportunity to get on the field as a quarterback. Sanchez was vulnerable, but he has responded to the pressure put on by Tebow.
If what the Jets saw from Sanchez against the Bills is what they will see all season, then not only won’t Tebow have a chance to take over as the starter, but the Wildcat snaps could diminish as well.
The entire Tebow package is what has made him so popular: his unique style of play, his faith, his mild-mannered way, the guy John Elway says he would want his daughter to marry the day he signed Peyton Manning and two days before he traded Tebow to the Jets.
Tebow is a football player. Football players want to play.
“I definitely am very competitive, but the number one thing to help competitiveness is winning football games,” Tebow said. “However I can help this team to win football games - that’s the ultimate goal and that’s why we’re all here. Whatever I can do to help us win football games, that’s what I am going to do.”
Just eight months ago, he threw an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime against the Steelers in the wild-card round of the playoffs. He passed for 316 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions as the Steelers dared him to throw.
On Sunday, the Jets play the Steelers, and Tebow craves any scraps the Jets throw at him to get on the field against the team he knocked out of the playoffs. He continues to provide all the politically correct answers about playing time and his role, but you know it has to be eating him up.
“I think he will be a good soldier,” one NFL source said Wednesday. “At the end of the year, I think he will express those concerns to the Jets. He will want to move on. The one thing about Tebow is he is the quintessential team player. He would never do anything that is going to undermine the team. But he’s football-aholic. It’s in his blood.”
If Tebow remains in his limited role all season, then the source anticipates the QB will sit down with Jets decision-makers and ask them to trade him. His contract runs through the 2014 season, and Tebow is not ready to concede defeat on being a starting quarterback again.
“Absolutely he will talk to the Jets or we will have misevaluated his competitive nature,” the source said. “There comes a point, where they get it and realize this is who I am and just accept that role. Tebow is not there yet.”