By Chris Lehman
Call me stupid and say I don’t know what I’m talking about. But hear me out.
MVP = Most valuable player. There’s a common misconception that this stands for the player who puts up the best stats. But stats don’t make an MVP. While Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady will probably win the award this year, and much deservedly so, Tim Tebow makes a very strong case to be in the running.
The most valuable player is one whose respective team needs or values them the most. It’s obvious that the award should go to Peyton Manning due to their 0-win season without him, but since he’s inactive, we’ll look elsewhere. While typically, the most valuable player to a team will put up great stats, Tim Tebow and this Broncos team are anything but typical. One statistic, however, that favors Tebow, is his 11-2 touchdown/interception ratio.
Before Tebow was named the starter, Kyle Orton led the Broncos to an atrocious 1-4 record. In that time, the defense allowed 28 points a game. But that was then…this is now.
Names aside, if there were a player who made everyone around him play better, that’s what you look for in a leader. A player who can impact a team even when he’s on the opposite side of the ball. A player who is charismatic and makes you watch him because you know every time he touches the ball (when the game is on the line), that something special is going to happen. That’s an ideal leader. We’re witnessing (proper use of the word) this now with Tim Tebow.
“Tim Tebow is the best at bringing out the best in his other players,” said former NFL coach, Jimmy Johnson. “His teammates are at another level when he is on the field.”
Over the last eight games, the team’s attitude has completely changed, and because of that, so have the results and their record. In that span, Tebow has led the Broncos to an outstanding 7-1 record. Among those teams, some of the notables wins were against: the rising Dolphins, the stingy Jets, the Chargers, the Vikings who have started playing better as of late, and most recently, the Bears who are known for having one of the top defenses. In those eight games, including the loss against the Detroit Lions who put up 45 points, the new-look Broncos defense has only allowed 18 points a game — ten less than they allowed under Orton.
Some would say that this argues against Tebow’s ability, because it makes his job easier. While yes, it does, there has to be a reason why this defense is playing better. As Johnson indicated, Tebow is that reason. It’s rare that you see a player who makes everyone on the team better, especially on both sides of the ball.
Every week, there is something that happens in the game that everyone wants to say is the reason why the Broncos managed to pull off a win. Whether it’s an onside kick, a late game interception or Marion Barber going out of bounds, it keeps happening. Luck doesn’t happen over and over. At a certain point, everyone has to realize that the Broncos are actually playing well, believe it or not.
You can just feel what he does for the game. Week after week, game after game, we as fans expect to see something special out of this team. How often can you say that? It’s one thing to expect a team such as the Packers, who are just better all-around than most other teams to go out each week and blow other teams away. But when you take a team who in terms of talent has to be near the bottom of the league, and week after week they keep winning, the only way to explain it is to say that they are inspired.
Going into their games, analysts keep saying that there’s no way the Broncos will win again, but time after time, Denver proves them wrong. When Skip Bayless was asked who would win the game between the Broncos and the Vikings, he simply replied, “The Vikings should win this game.” He was obviously implying that he didn’t think the Vikings would win the game, but that on paper, there was no reason to pick against them. This week, he said “The Bears should win this game.” Once again, he believed the Broncos would win.
It sounds crazy, but there’s no way to describe it. The effects of Tim Tebow on this Denver Broncos team is like nothing we’ve seen. He’s not the best quarterback in the league. He’s not extremely accurate, doesn’t always make the best decision and he doesn’t read defenses well. But none of that matters. Those are the characteristics of a typical pocket quarterback. But once again, Tebow is about as typical as the Indianapolis Colts winning games this year.
While I’m not suggesting that Tebow will win the MVP this year, or ever in his career, there is no denying his importance to his team. If you were to take every starter off their respective team, one at a time, there would be the most noticeable difference when Tebow was not on the field. The will and desire to win is greater than any amount of skill. Desire is contagious. He inspires his team and makes everyone around him better. But most importantly, he wins games. Tim Tebow is the most valuable player.