The debate is officially over. Tim Tebow earned the right to be called the Denver Broncos' starting quarterback for the 2012 NFL season.
It's unclear at this point if Broncos Vice President John Elway fully agrees, but he should.
With less than two years of NFL experience, Tebow has already mastered the two most difficult responsibilities a franchise quarterback can face _ winning when it counts and changing a team culture _ all in one amazingly strange season.
That's pretty impressive when you consider how some of Tebow's more heralded peers ended their seasons. Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys are a dysfunctional mess. Mark Sanchez's locker room is in such disarray that even backup quarterback Greg McElroy spoke out about the New York Jets' "corrupt mindset." Michael Vick and the "dream team" Philadelphia Eagles looked more like a nightmare. And although Peyton Manning missed the season with a neck injury, his mere presence wasn't enough to keep the Indianapolis Colts from an embarrassing collapse despite a roster that still carried a handful of Super Bowl champions.
Now, Tim Tebow and his questionable throwing motion and poor accuracy stand just two games away from the Super Bowl.
I guess the joke is on the "experts."
How many people really believed Tebow's Broncos would advance past big-time play Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card game Sunday? And don't give me the injury excuse, the Steelers are always playing with a host of injuries (remember last year's Super Bowl?)
There is a universal lesson about the success of Tebow this season that stretches beyond sports, reason and logic.
Talent makes success attainable. Faith makes success possible.
Understand, I'm not talking about faith in the context of religion. I'm talking about the simple, quiet confidence to believe in yourself when everything and everyone suggests otherwise.
Or in Tebow's case, the ability to believe in something beyond his own flaws.
It's difficult to ignore the impact Tebow's attitude has had on his teammates. They started the season 1-4 under Kyle Orton and ended the regular season 7-4 _ including an impressive 6-0 run _ and a division championship under Tebow.
Even after the Broncos hit a rough 0-3 patch and critics started to question if they belonged in the playoffs, Tebow and his teammates still believed and they were rewarded with a 29-23 overtime victory.
The game's final dramatic play was a tribute to a team that is building its identity on believing in the impossible.
Tebow's been criticized for his inaccurate, awkward passing and Demaryius Thomas hasn't exactly been the breakout star receiver the Broncos hoped for when he was selected 22nd in the 2010 NFL draft.
But Tebow connected with Thomas for an 80-yard play action pass on the first play in overtime and Thomas stiff-armed Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor and outran Ryan Mundy all while Broncos running back Willis McGahee shouted "trust your speed, don't cut back."
It sounds like something written out of a movie script, but Broncos fans just call it Mile-High Magic.
Magic sounds nice, but a good game plan from the Broncos coaching staff and stellar defense that kept the Steelers out of field-goal range in the final minutes had more to do with it. The rest came down to the players ability to believe they could execute.
Teams reflect the attitude of their leaders and Tebow's outlook has always been simple; believe.
So maybe Orton had the better arm, but Tebow has the better attitude.
I guess we could continue to debate about which attribute is more important for an NFL quarterback, but you can count me out of that one. I'll be too busy watching the Broncos-Patriots game.
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