Is Tim Tebow headed back to the Denver Broncos — the team he once led to the NFL playoffs?
He is, if devoted Denver fans get their way. ESPN is reporting that a group of Tebow fans, sporting the hashtag #TebowTime, has launched an online petition to re-sign the quarterback, who has not played a single down in the NFL in four years.
The petition reads as follows.
“Coach Gary Kubiak’s offense would thrive with Tebow under center. He and the legendary John Elway can make this happen. We dont (sic) need a subpar throwaway from some other team, we need an original Bronco who has the fire, desire, and love of the game to play as a Bronco again! As a bonus the Bronco fans would be ecstatic! He just wins, we all know this! #TebowTime”
As of this writing, the petition now has over 6,100 signers.
The drive to get Tim Tebow to return comes at a time when the Broncos are at a crossroads. Star quarterback Peyton Manning (who replaced Tebow in 2012) just retired and Brock Osweiler signed with the Houston Texans. The Broncos have signed Mark Sanchez, owner of a 74.3 lifetime QB rating who only played four games for the Philadelphia Eagles last year.
When Tim Tebow Last Played for Denver
Tebow was a highly-touted college athlete when he played for the University of Florida Gators, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and leading his team to the BCS National Championship in 2006 and 2008, when the Gators went 13-1. When his college career ended, Tebow set new records for passing efficiency and rushing touchdowns in the Southeastern Conference.
He was subsequently drafted by the Broncos in the first round, and started the last three games of his rookie season.
In 2011, Tebow was named the starting quarterback after the first four games. After some initial struggles, the Broncos began to win under his leadership, and made it to the playoffs, where they upset the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild-card game, but were soundly defeated by the New England Patriots the following week.
For the season — the only season which Tebow, now 28, has been an NFL starting quarterback — his statistics were not very flashy. As recorded by NFL.com, he completed 46.5 percent of his passes, but threw 12 touchdowns to just six interceptions, and had a 72.9 quarterback ranking. However, Tebow was impressive at rushing, moving the ball 660 yards in 122 attempts (8.7 yards per carry), and scoring six touchdowns.
Denver and its fans will never know if Tim Tebow could have taken his game to the next level as that offseason, team president (and former Bronco quarterback) John Elway opted to sign Manning instead, and trade Tebow to the New York Jets. At the time, the move was controversial, given Tebow’s many come-from-behind wins. Elway told the Denver Post that parting with Tebow was a difficult decision.
“Tim Tebow is a great kid,” Elway said. “If I want someone to marry my daughter, it would be him.”
“You hate some decisions you have to make in football. But that doesn’t prevent you from making them. You do what’s best for your team. But that doesn’t take away the heartache. You’re dealing with human beings. It hurts.”
Tebow played in only eight games with the 2012 Jets, tossing only eight passes. Since then, he has not played in the NFL. While it remains unlikely that Elway will re-sign Tebow, many Bronco fans have not forgotten the excitement he brought to the field in 2011.
What do you think? Will Tim Tebow play in the NFL again?
[Photo by Bill Kostroun/AP Images]