“Friday Night Lights” is a critically acclaimed sports movie, TV series and originally a book. One of the best lines from it is “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose”. I am constantly reminded of it when I watch Tim Tebow. He has been THE story of this NFL season since he started playing and it just keeps getting better for him and the Broncos. His record is 6-1 and today at Minnesota, he even demonstrated his passing skills. Another game on the road, another late-game thriller, another comeback performance and another win. Tebow sure seems to have clear eyes – he rarely throws interceptions and this may not be the most complicated or sexiest explanation, but his low turnover number is one of the main reasons behind Denver’s success. We know he has a full heart. Actually he is all heart, toughness and grit. Also, his heart is probably filled with Jesus too. Tebow seems like a really well-behaved kid committed to his faith. And of course he sure can’t lose right now. Denver right now is convinced that there is no way they can lose a football game and I don’t blame them.
I have no dog in this fight, but I still can’t look away. That’s the power of this Tim Tebow story. I am not a Denver fan. As a matter of fact, I have not liked them all that much since the day they kicked Jake Plummer – my favorite Sun Devil, out of town. I know that a lot of people are Tebow fans and want to see him succeed just because of his (and their) religious faith. But I am not religious like him and hence that’s not an endearing factor for me. I do like him because he seems like a decent, well-behaved and humble human being, but his journey this season is fascinating to follow regardless of your affiliations. On the one hand, you have people who think he is God’s gift to football who can win any game just with his intangibles and on the other hand, you have football experts who say he can’t throw the ball to save his life. And Tebow is constantly proving both sides right! He is winning in unconventional ways and when you are quarterbacking a team to a 6-1 record after taking over at 1-4, it can’t all be an accident or a lucky coincidence. He deserves more than some credit.
It almost feels disappointing if he has a good game and they win like he did today. It’s a much better story if he wins while just completing 2 passes or throwing for just 60 yards or something crazy like that. He seems to be winning in all these different ways and has the Broncos leading the division. A team that at one point was the worst team in the division is now tied with the Raiders and is leading via the tie-breaker. That division has completely flipped in 12 games with Denver on top and San Diego at the bottom. The Raiders had an embarrassing loss today at Miami. With most of Oakland’s talented offensive play-makers hurt, and with their trip to Lambeau coming up, this may become Tebow’s division to lose. Raiders are a better team – especially on offense, but Carson Palmer is definitely missing his speedy receivers and they need Darren McFadden back. Plus Denver’s schedule is slightly easier than Oakland’s. Raiders are officially in a dog fight and their home losses to Kansas City and Denver may come back to bite them.
At the end of the day, AFC West will be won by the team that has clear eyes, full hearts that refuses to lose.