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The Denver Broncos victory over the San Diego Chargers last Sunday did more than prove that they are a legitimate playoffs contender. They established themselves as the most interesting thing on television.
All my life I have cheered and supported the Miami Dolphins. As a child, I watched the great quarterback Dan Marino shred defenses, and I endured the tough times that were highlighted by a one win season in 2007. Prior to this year, I paid little attention to the Broncos.
But now, I, along with much of the country, can’t help but be intrigued by this year’s Broncos.
What makes the Broncos so entertaining this year? The quick answer would be Tim Tebow and the “Tebowmania” that has swept everyone off their feet, but I find this answer to be incomplete. Tebow may be the reason people pay heed to the Broncos, but he is not solely why they are entertaining.
The Broncos play the most boring style of offense, their strategy being to run and then run some more. They are ranked 31st in the NFL in passing and first in rushing. Tim Tebow is barely averaging over 10 completions in his starts, and the team only converts on third down 32.4 percent of the time. So clearly it’s not Tebow’s offensive prowess that delivers the show.
Rather, the entertainment value of the Broncos stems from its defense. Linebacker Von Miller’s ferocity in his assault on the quarterback will amaze anyone, and the rookie is third in the NFL in sacks. Elvis Dumervil has also provided strong production on the defensive line and would be receiving more attention had he not been injured early. Cornerback Champ Bailey can still shut down any receiver and Safety Brian Dawkins continues to be a strong open field tackler.
For a team that averages more rushing yards per game than passing yards, a good defense is a necessity to winning. Throughout this four game winning streak of the Broncos, in three of the wins the opposing team failed to score more than 13 points. The defense is what puts the team in a position to win, and winning is what makes a team fun to watch.
Now enter Tim Tebow. He leads a very unconventional offense that relies on a plethora of option plays in which Tebow can either run the ball himself, or give the ball to the running back. More often than not he will give the ball to running back Willis McGahee, who is quietly having a very nice year. I say the style is unconventional because for the most part it doesn’t work, and is generally only used in college. When a strategy doesn’t work, the team can’t win, and when a team can’t win, it can’t entertain.
For some reason, though, when Tebow has the ball late in the fourth quarter, the option strategy works. The craze about Tim Tebow is that he finds ways to win, and I have to admit, he really does. Of course this is all possible only because the defense holds the opponent to under two touchdowns.
Always when it counts, though, Tebow morphs from a quarterback who can’t throw into a leader who will do anything to achieve victory. He will wait an antagonizing seven or eight seconds before completing a pass, or charge through defenders to gain yards. The combination of a close game, and a quarterback doing whatever it takes to win is the most entertaining form of football.
The knack for winning, however, would be impossible without the defense. The defense is the reason why Tim Tebow, and the Broncos in general, are fun to watch.
As long as they keep giving Tebow the opportunity to win, they will keep winning. If they keep winning, I will put aside my love for the Dolphins and continue watching and come Sunday, the rest of the country will continue watching, too.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Edward Quartin at Edward.firstname.lastname@example.org.