Shrull: The most interesting man in football

He’s the most interesting man in football.

He doesn’t always play quarterback, but when he does, everyone takes notice.

Even when he’s not playing football, people are intrigued by the polarizing presence of Tim Tebow.

He’s been criticized, ridiculed, scrutinized, worshipped and praised. And the spotlight follows him around like a devoted puppy.

Tebow’s football exploits come with more storylines than the fiction section at the public library.

His career is a frustrating mishmash of potential, mystery and intrigue.

Few head coaches or mediocre quarterbacks want him on their team. The media hurricane that follows Tebow around rages with non-stop torrential intensity and an inferno of scrutiny zeroes in on anything in its path.

Tebow’s massive army of fans demand that the Florida Heisman trophy winner be treated with respect and adulation both on and off the field.

Through all these NFL trials and tribulations, Tebow continues to ride the storm with dignity and class. He never seems to say the wrong thing.

A class act, no doubt, but an NFL quarterback? That’s the question that we all want answered.

Through little fault of his own, circumstances have conspired against Tim Tebow.

There is no doubt that Tim Tebow is a flawed quarterback, lacking good mechanics. CNN is more accurate with media coverage than Tebow is as a passer. And that is saying something.

Tebow needs work, he needs constancy, he needs routine and repetition so he can work on his mechanics and improve his accuracy.

It all started with Josh McDaniels’ ill-advised first-round selection of Tebow in the 2010 draft. He started the final three games for the Denver Broncos and there were flashes of brilliance. And a barrage of excitement.

Then McDaniels was sent packing and the 2011 season was disrupted by the lockout.

Nothing hurts a young quarterback that needs work more than changing systems and no intensive work in the summer.

Now, the massive ego of McDaniels appears to be Tebow’s savior again. There’s little doubt that McDaniels — New England’s offensive coordinator — had a hand in bringing Tebow to the Patriots. This is more a testament to McDaniels’ arrogant belief that he can make Tebow an NFL quarterback than Bill Belichick, and his massive ego, believing Tebow is the Patriot’s QB of the future.

Tebow is now employed, but with little chance of seeing much time at QB in the near future. There’s some guy named Tom Brady that is still pretty good.

After a half season of putrid football, Tebow was handed the keys to Broncos’ offense in 2011. It was arguably one of the most exhilarating times in Denver Bronco history. Tim Tebow led the Broncos to win after miraculous win.

With every amazing comeback, there needed to be an asterisk to the “W.” Matt Prater making long-distance kicks, phenomenal catches, unexplainable blunders by the opponents, but regardless of the circumstances, the Broncos were winning.

With every victory, Tebow fans became more delirious and even non-Tebow fans started to believe.

As much as his skeptics — me included — point to all the other factors that led to those Bronco victories, it can’t be disputed that Tebow had a hand in those thrilling wins.

But most of Tebow’s performances were a mirage. He completed only a handful of passes in each game, including the 80-yard bolt of lightning to Demaryius Thomas to beat the Steelers in overtime in the playoffs. Then came the 45-10 embarrassment in the next round in Foxborough.

It looked like Tebow would finally be given his chance in 2012. A full training camp, another season in the same system, finally a little consistency and routine would all help Tebow’s development as an NFL QB.

Welcome Peyton Manning, good luck in New York, Mr. Tebow.

If he can make it there, he can … never mind.

Another setback in his development. Another system, another hurdle to stunt his development. He spent more time on the pine than a family of termites.

Everyone wants to know if Tebow will ever be an NFL quarterback. They want the proof.

Can he be an NFL quarterback if given the opportunity to remain in the same system with the same coaches for multiple seasons?

If his development is nurtured instead of stunted, can Tim Tebow be an NFL quarterback?

McDaniels and his offensive mind will indeed help Tebow, but for the next few years, balls of lint will make more appearances in the pocket than Tim Tebow.

Fans want to watch Tim Tebow succeed or watch him fail — but we want to watch.

That’s why the last half of 2011 with the Denver Broncos’ season still resonates with fans.

Tebow fans quickly taunt the fact that he’s won more playoff games for the Broncos than Manning. Since John Elway’s retirement, only two QBs have won a playoff game for the Broncos — one each by Tebow and Jake Plummer.

Forbes recently put Tebow at the top of its 2013 list of most influential athletes. Manning was fifth and LeBron James ninth.

He’s the most famous football player in the land. People who couldn’t name three NFL players know Tim Tebow.

His religious views off the field make him a polarizing figure who is both worshipped and vilified. On the field, he remains a great mystery packed with more question marks than The Riddler.

He’s Tim Tebow, the most interesting man in football.

A football player who wants a chance and a country of fans and haters that want to see No. 15 on the field again.

He now has a job with the New England Patriots. Now we will have to wait a little longer to see if Tim Tebow the quarterback is real or a mirage.

It will definitely be interesting.

Welcome back to the spotlight, Mr. Tebow.


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