The Denver Broncos played quarterback musical chairs this week. First, they signed future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning to a five-year contract, and then almost immediately agreed to deal their former starting signal-caller, Tim Tebow, to the New York Jets for a pair of draft picks.
Bill Littlefield spoke with Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post to sort out the moves.
“Broncos fans are very excited,” Jones said. “Although it has been a bittersweet week, because Tim Tebow is beloved here. The ride that he took the Broncos on in 2011 was probably the most exciting thing that’s happened to this franchise since John Elway retired right after winning the second of two Super Bowls back in the late ’90s.”
The Broncos went 8-8 last season, but won the AFC West and defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the playoffs, despite some below-average performances at quarterback. Jones says with Manning in town, the Broncos have improved their chances of reaching the Super Bowl.
“There are still a lot of questions with this team, especially on defense. The AFC West is definitely winnable, so there’s reason to believe that once they upgrade their quarterback play, they should be able to make a significant run in the AFC.”
Tebow was Denver’s first-round draft choice in 2010, and was 8-5 as a starter last season, including that playoff win over Pittsburgh. However, after he was traded for two late-round picks, Bill wondered why Tebow’s stock fell so low.
“There was always kind of a sense that there was some sort of magic going along with this. Even in the midst of that six-game winning streak, it wasn’t like you were looking at tremendous quarterback play,” Jones said. “Tebow inspired the team, he sparked the team, he led them on these crazy fourth-quarter comebacks, but you’d never look at those games as a whole and say, ‘Alright, he’s got it. He’s figured it out.'”