If I could summarize the position of many -- starting last season but certainly culminating on Sunday and today, when Tim Tebow is expected to be named the Broncos starter a week from Sunday in Miami -- it is simply this:
Give Tebow a chance.
We saw what happened at the end of last season: Capable (even winning) play from a QB that way too many people said had no business being on the field as a rookie. (And, as a bonus, eye-popping fantasy football numbers.) Give Tebow a chance.
We saw what happened on Sunday: Kyle Orton was ineffective. The team was behind. John Fox begrudgingly inserted Tebow. Presto: A boost of crowd enthusiasm. A boost of player enthusiasm. "Vitamin T." Then the scores. Then the oh-no-WAY last-gasp sequence, where Tebow pulled off a play that maybe 3-5 other QBs in the league could -- spinning out of the defense's way for seemingly endless extra time, then a pass delivered into an open window the size of a football helmet. (BTW: Is there any doubt that on that missed 2-point conversion, Tebow could have run it in himself, rather than put him in a position to throw to Lloyd? Then all the Broncos would have needed was a game-ending field goal.) Give Tebow a chance.
There are plenty of reasons the Broncos should be starting Tim Tebow:
*In an otherwise lost season, fans will be engaged as enthusiastically as if the Broncos were a playoff contender. We saw that Sunday.
*The media -- nationally -- will give close attention to a team that is otherwise among the league's bottom-feeders. We saw that Sunday and Monday -- and every day for the next two weeks, culminating in an insane scene in Miami (for "Gator Day").
*In a point we've made here regularly: Even if John Fox HATED Tim Tebow (and he seemingly does), playing him has no downside: If the team wins, Fox gets credit; if Tebow plays terribly and the team loses out, Fox can say he gave Tebow a chance, then go draft Andrew Luck or Landry Jones or Matt Barkley.
But for all the power of Tebow as a passion point for fans or a draw for the national media or fun with fantasy football or even a backdoor way to find a different QB, the biggest reason to give Tebow a chance is this:
He can play. He makes the team better. He gives the team a different kind of chance to win. He will only get better with experience. He is a gamer.
There's such a "straw-man argument" out there in the media that Tebow fans insist Tebow will be an NFL superstar. I follow Tebow and the Tebow phenomenon as closely as anyone, and I just don't see that.
What I do see is Tebow fans -- and, now, national media coming around -- simply asking for the Broncos to give Tebow a chance.
(And by "a chance," I mean a real chance: Starting every offensive snap for the next 11 games. Even then, I'd say that he would have only begun to climb the learning curve and if he shows any progress at all, he will have earned the right to start a full season next year.)
He may flop. He may excel. He may exceed expectations. He may increase expectations, only to fall short of them. He may -- he will -- probably land somewhere in the middle, something even Tebow himself would agree with: He will make some great plays; he will show room for improvement. He will never be satisfied, even when he makes plays and wins games.
But all Tebow wants is a chance. All the fans want his for him to get that chance.
He's going to get it, and -- like the end of last season -- it's going to be fascinating and thrilling and even sometimes maddening (particularly if the coaches keep insisting on cramming Tebow into their pre-conceived notions of NFL offensive orthodoxy, rather than tweaking things to play to his unique skills).
But Tebow is going to get the chance to play. That's all he, we, you or anyone can ask for.