Rand: Manning-Tebow debate seems silly now

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 7, 2013 - 6:54 AM

Tim Tebow

Photo: Joe Mahoney • Associated Press,

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As we advance through life, there are ample moments when we look back at history and wonder, “How on Earth was this ever a topic of debate.”

Such moments are generally reserved for things with major historical implications. If you will allow a much less serious example here, we bring you back to a time just 18 months ago. There exists ample evidence that there was a serious debate — nay, controversy — in Denver at the time that seems so utterly ridiculous now, even in the context of the era and the moving parts of the situation.

We are speaking, here, of the notion that the Broncos once faced a major decision in trying to choose between Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow as their quarterback.

Yes, we understand that Manning was coming off a very serious injury that threatened his career. And yes, we understand how Tebowmania —loosely described here as Tebow generally playing awful for three quarters every week, the defense keeping the Broncos in the game and then Tebow igniting a rally — once swept Colorado.

No, this really happened: In March 2012, as the Broncos were wooing Manning, this was written on NFL.com: “Broncos fans vote,” the billboard screams, directing passerby to a website, OneSwoosh.com, set up to tally the results. The billboard space and website are owned by Multiline International Imports, and company employee Tariq Suleiman told NFL.com that Tebow held an early lead Thursday, but estimated that, by Friday, ‘it’s neck and neck.’”

A Bleacher Report opinion piece — taken with the requisite grain of salt — began thusly around the same time: “If the Denver Broncos were to trade Tim Tebow to land an aging Peyton Manning, all of the momentum that the team built last season would be quickly diminished.”

Manning, of course, played at an elite level last season. This season, he is playing at a level that has him on pace for the greatest season for a QB in NFL history and is completing roughly three of every four passes.

Tebow completed less than 50 percent of his passes in 2011, after which some Broncos fans still clamored for him. He has thrown exactly eight NFL passes since then and is currently not on an NFL roster.

It’s enough to make us wonder how there ever was an honest debate. And to those who point out with a straight face that Tebow won a playoff game while Manning did not as some sort of strange contrarian evidence? Well, there always have to be a few on the wrong side of history.



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