Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning

Tim Tebow's future as a starting quarterback seems directly related to whether or not the team HAS another quarterback. Photo courtesy Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

At one point, when it still seemed possible that Peyton Manning could stay in Indianapolis, people began to ask if he could coexist with someone like Andrew Luck. The question made perfect sense. Sure Peyton Manning was, well, Peyton Manning; but he’s 35 and likely has his best years behind him. Andrew Luck, on the other hand, is an NFL scout’s once-in-a-generation dream.

Peyton said yes. Yes, he could coexist with the signal caller that would eventually replace him as the face of the franchise. So, naturally, I find it amusing that it took all of 30 seconds for Tim Tebow to be declared “trade bait” once Manning signed with Denver.

I mean, what gives? Does Peyton have something against Tim? Does he think he smells funny? Did Tebow find out Manning laughed too hard at the SNL parody of him? No, the answer is abundantly clear: Tim Tebow, at least in the eyes of the Denver Broncos, is not a franchise quarterback.

It kind of validates what I’ve been trying to say all along: ‘Tebowmania’ was a fad. With all due respect to Tim Tebow, that’s all it was. Just like legwarmers and pogs, he has been discarded as soon as the next hot thing came into town.

Just look at the teams Tebow’s name is now being  tied to. Miami, Jacksonville, Cleveland. What do these teams have in common? They’re desperately searching for any kind of solution at quarterback. When he was taken in the first round, I don’t think Tebow’s goal was for people to say, “Well, he’s better than Matt Moore, Blaine Gabbert, or Colt McCoy.” You could even look at the other teams that make sense for Tebow like New England and Buffalo. Sure, we’d expect Tebow to be second-string behind Tom Brady but Ryan Fitzpatrick? Really?

That, perhaps, is another indictment of Tebow’s future as a franchise quarterback: the teams that have an answer at signal caller already want him for his “shenanigan factor”. They don’t want Tebow so he can stand under center at quarterback, they want him so they can create wild formations and gadget plays. Last time I checked, no one ever made the Hall of Fame as a role player.

If you’re a big Tim Tebow fan, though, there’s no reason to get mad at me. I’ve expressed my doubts about Tebow’s future as a quarterback from the get-go. No, you should blame the fans like the ones in Denver. When Kyle Orton was starting for them, they were crying for Tebow. For Pete’s sake, people took billboards out with their OWN money to try and persuade the coaches and the front office to start him. The second their team started to struggle, they thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Now look at them: the Broncos sign a 35-year-old quarterback and Denver can’t ship Tebow away fast enough. Some love.

Personally, I love Tebow’s story. I love that he hasn’t quit in the face of immense skepticism and I love that he appears to be a LEGITIMATE role model for young  football fans. I watched the Tebow documentary “Everything in Between” and was rooting for him as much as the next guy. But more often than not the “feel good” players and the ones that win you championships are not one in the same.

My point is this: Tebow’s meteoric rise last season wasn’t because he was the next John Elway, it’s because he was the next Rudy Ruettiger. That seems like a strange thing to say about one of the best players in the history of college football, but it’s true. The NFL naysayers had doubts about Tebow’s game because there are doubts to be had. As much as we can like his story, there are holes in his game. And the NFL, more often than not, is an emotionless business.

Tim Tebow’s story post-college is one of an underdog, so in the spirit of March Madness I’ll make my point with this metaphor. Last year, VCU made the headlines, but UConn walked away with the trophy. Peyton Manning, even at 35, injured, and with, realistically, no more than two good seasons left in the tank, is such a better option at quarterback than Tebow that apparently Denver thinks it’s not even worth keeping T-squared around. And no matter what I write about him here, THAT is the most offensive thing said about Tim Tebow yet.

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When Bryan isn’t standing on a soap box, he is on twitter! Follow him @bclienesch!