What-ifs are one of the most exciting things in sports, let alone the world. It allows you to delve deep into a dimension where dreams can become a reality and the impossible suddenly becomes possible.
Sports fans have what-ifs run through their heads every season. “What if my team wins a championship?” is probably the most common one.
Being a Cowboys fan, I’m all too familiar with what-ifs. What if the Cowboys didn’t blow the easily winnable games to the Jets, Lions, Cardinals, and Giants this year? Wouldn’t they be 11-2, fighting for a playoff bye?
What if Romo didn’t get hurt last year? Could he have won that game against the Giants, sent the Cowboys to 2-4, and led them to an improbable run to the playoffs?
What if that miscue against Seattle didn’t happen?
But enough ranting about the Cowboys, the main point I am trying to make is that what-ifs are only fun before the actual event takes place. Otherwise, you just kick yourself over them. If there’s anything I’ve learned been a Cowboys fan, it’s that.
Also, you have to make sure you temper expectations for these what-ifs. You could have unreal what-ifs like these: What if the Chiefs upset the Packers? What if the Colts score 75 points against Tennessee? Then you have your all too realistic what-ifs. What if Drew Brees throws for over 200 yards against the Vikings? Those kinds of questions aren’t fun at all. For the unrealistic ones, at least a man can dream.
What you must do is find a what-if that is very improbable and hard to believe it could happen, but still has that sliver of hope that you could actually consider it.
You’ve probably figured out what my question is right now. ‘What if Tim Tebow and the Broncos can upset the mighty Patriots on Sunday?’
If you’re reading this, this is probably the hundredth article you’ve read on Tebow all year. And those are for the normal people. If you’re a diehard fan that bleeds pigskin, that numbers may be in the thousands by now.
The reality is that every week, Tebow gives us something that makes us talk about him: wins. That’s what you want people to be talking about when they talk about you.
For those of you who don’t understand how in the world this continues to happen, let me try to explain it in the best way I have come to understand in these five bullets.
· Tim Tebow is not a bad quarterback: Tebow has improved, as you saw in the game against Minnesota. While it may look ugly, he is starting to make good throws and deep throws. And clutch throws have always been there.
· Tebow has an excellent team surrounding him: Willis McGahee has revitalized career. He is running hard and he is running with a purpose. Maybe it’s because many considered Grandpa Willis unfit to be a lead back in the NFL. Maybe it’s because he could probably break Knowshon Moreno’s paper and glass body with a simple bro-slap and hug. Whatever the case is, he’s hungry. Then you look at the defense. Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil lead a nightmare of a pass rushing attack as Champ Bailey anchors the secondary. And like McGahee, they are hungry.
· Tebow’s ability to run and run the offense: John Fox has done a marvelous job of creating a game plan that Tebow can succeed in. It allows Tebow to have several choices of what to do with the ball. One of those choices including talking it himself, which, if you haven’t gotten by now, is something he’s rather good at.
· The power of positive thinking: I’m sure this is the point where I’ll lose all the Tebow haters and people who hate corniness. But the truth of the matter is that Tebow has put his faith in God and truly believes that him and his teammates will succeed. Notice how I said will, not can. As a Christian, I am truly amazed by how strong his faith is and what he is doing with it. And even if you’re not a Christian, you can’t deny the fact that Tebow’s positive thinking hasn’t been anything short of a miracle. Unless you’re one of those people who hate corniness, in which case, you’re not reading anymore. Are you?
· Wins: Tebow is 7-1 as a starter this season. Clutch has been replaced in the dictionary with the word “Tebow.” In fact, on that note, I think now would be a good time to let you all know that “tebowing” is now an official word in the dictionary. But back to the wins, isn’t that all that matters? If Tebow can lead the Broncos to the Super Bowl, I’m sure all their fans will be laughing in the faces of those ignorant enough to continue criticizing him.
With that, I hope I didn’t confuse you even more. So to take a more playful side of the Tebow phenomenon, I’ll let you in on a moderately interesting and probably useless story.
I decided to play games of Madden 12’ with the Broncos that may actually occur in the playoffs, because I’m a dork. So I started off with their most likely first round matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As you would imagine, things got off to a rocky start. Pittsburgh got two quick field goals while Tebow fumbled on his first carry, and then Rashard Mendenhall broke off a long touchdown run. Before I could even understand why I thought an all out blitz would be a good idea on that play, I had just thrown a pick with Tebow. A Mike Wallace touchdown catch quickly made it 20-0 in the 2nd quarter.
Then out of nowhere, I tossed a 68-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Royal. Tebow magic?
Now in the second half, I was aided by a stingy defense, I continued to make stops and eventually led a Tebowesque (that word should be in the dictionary soon) drive, which ended with a Demaryius Thomas touchdown pass. 20-14.
The defense stepped up. I kicked a field goal. Then another. Then another. With less than two minutes to play, I was up 23-20. Big Ben had a one final chance to come back.
The Denver defense held him to a three-and-out. Broncos win.
I honestly didn’t feel fazed by the early deficit. I felt like as long as I made smart plays, I would be fine. I was channeling Tebow. Yes, in a video game.
I then went on to play the Patriots, a possible second round opponent. I jumped up to an early 17-0 lead and wounding up sacking Tom Brady nine times (remember that number on Sunday, just for the what-if purpose). Brady quickly came back in a fury that included a long touchdown to Wes Welker, a running score for Benjarvus Green-Ellis, and a few field goals that ultimately led to the score being 23-17. In favor of the Broncos, of course. Brady was driving again at the end of the game and had fourth down at about the Denver 20 with less than two minutes left. New England had three timeouts, so they elected to kick the field goal and kick the ball away instead of going for it. Not very realistic, but this is Madden coaching right now, not Belichick.
The rest was history, as McGahee killed the clock and ended the game. I was on such a Tebowhigh (more words), that I decided to play Baltimore in a potential championship game.
Two early interceptions got the Ravens out to a 10-0 lead. But it didn’t matter. Does any deficit really matter?
I eventually tied the score at 10 but surrendered the lead by giving up a late Ray Rice touchdown. With about a minute and no timeouts left, I had one final shot to salvage the game. Driving down the field and making some ridiculous throws, I set the ball up at the goal line with six second remaining. I asked myself, “What if I ran the ball?”
QB sneak. Touchdown Tebow. Overtime. Coin Toss won. Game-winning field goal: good.
Granted I didn’t have the same amount of luck when I played the Packers next. It was still pretty wild. And granted it was just a video game, it got me thinking: “What if that actually happened?”
The reason why I gave you that not-so-short story was to try and put you in a what-if mindset as we turn our attention to the game at hand.
It seems like an ideal matchup for Tebow. He has struggled against good pass defenses, which is something New England does not possess.
He finally gets an elite team after beating the scrubs and mediocre teams of the league and a chance to really prove something.
If the Broncos defense can keep the game close and not make it a shootout early, maybe Tebow gets a chance to win it at the end like he has been all season.
At this point, it’s harder to bet against Tebow than it is to bet on him. He has been so astounding so far and that Bears game was just the tip of the iceberg. I didn’t get the game in my area (I was in Pennsylvania), so I was forced to watch it on nfl.com. I saw Denver on the 41 and thought it was all but over. And then a blue screen popped up.
MATT PRATER 59-YARD FIELD GOAL IS GOOD.
I literally jumped. There’s probably still a hole in the ceiling. I also saw this one when it seemed Caleb Hanie had guided Chicago to a win.
MARION BARBER FUMBLES. DEN RECOVERS.
I jumped a little higher. He did it again.
What-ifs are a lot of fun. If you want to give your brain some exciting food for thought, you should ask yourself, “What if Tebow wins?” Then again, you may just want to ask yourself, “Why not?”