It's been a long road for the young man from Florida. Unbelievable highs and some ugly lows. After the news that Tebow was released on Saturday by the New England Patriots, let's relive them. We're going to skip his college career, because enough has been made out of that. We've seen all the tapes many times. Let's just focus on his NFL days.
Tim goes in the FIRST ROUND
I put the last two words in capital letters because that's how momentous of an event that was. Rewind to April, 2010. Tim Tebow, despite a magnificent career at the college level, was being picked apart by virtually every draftnik in the land. Too slow! Too inaccurate! Bad throwing motion! Rabble Rabble Rabble! You get the idea. People said he'd be lucky to go in the third round, at best.
What people couldn't have anticipated was Josh McDaniels, the rookie head coach for the Broncos. He must have been looking to make a statement because he and the team orchestrated a trade with the Ravens for the 25th pick in the NFL Draft. And then this happened:
Tim scores his first NFL touchdown
Tebow didn't play much initially with the Broncos, as the team was still relying on Kyle Orton. However, he did get some game action and scored his first professional touchdown on Oct 17, somewhat ironically against the New York Jets. It was just a 5-yard run, but it was the first of many in a Denver uniform.
Tim sets a Denver team record
Specifically, the Broncos record for the longest touchdown run by a quarterback. It came in his first NFL start, with the team out of the playoff race. He ran it in from 40 yards out in the first quarter:
He also became the first NFL quarterback to score a rushing touchdown in his first three starts. Tebow would have to wait another week for his first pro win.
TEBOW TIME begins
The 2011 season began the same as 2010: with Tebow on the bench watching Kyle Orton start. However, the arrangement didn't last long as new head coach John Fox named Tebow the starting quarterback before their Week 7 matchup against the Miami Dolphins.
After trailing most of the game, Tebow came alive late in the fourth quarter, leading the Broncos to a game-tying touchdown and an eventual overtime victory. The momentum was gaining.
Tebow fever keeps growing and growing
Following the win over the Dolphins, Tebow and the Broncos won the next two games and faced a Thursday night matchup against the Jets. After trailing yet again for the most of the game, Tebow directed a 95-yard touchdown, with him delivering the final blow:
Tebow's winning streak would eventually reach seven games, with the nation riveted in front of their televisions every week.
Tim does the unthinkable
After backing into the playoffs, Tebow faced what many believed to be an unwinnable game against the Steelers at home. After all, the experts said, Tebow might have beaten a bunch of weak AFC West teams and other league cellar dwellers, but this was the vaunted Steelers. Then, Tebow did this on the first play of overtime:
That's right, a touchdown pass. At that point, people were wondering if this guy could walk on water.
Tim finds a new home
Despite the magic playoff run, the Broncos decided to go in a different direction for 2012. And despite assurance that Tebow would be the starting quarterback, they went out and signed free agent Peyton Manning. The Broncos traded Tebow to the New York Jets on March 21, 2012.
Remember how excited Tim was to be with the Jets? You should, because he said "I'm excited to be a Jet" at least 40 times during the introductory news conference. People drooled over the possibilities of Tebow beating out Mark Sanchez for the starting QB job in the Big Apple.
Things fall apart
Well, that never happened. For whatever reason, Tebow never saw significant playing time at quarterback for the Jets. Instead, he was used sparingly in a number of questionable positions. It's hard to find any highlights, but here is one lowlight: him being hit in the head by a Sanchez pass.
Actually, there is one highlight
Remember the Mark Sanchez buttfumble? Check the tape ... don't see Tebow out there, do you? That has got to be a feather in his cap: