American Football: Tebow's flaws are exposed in fairy tale's unhappy ending

 

Washington

A mere 48 hours ago, he was America's most adored athlete, living a fairy tale that some dreamed might take his team to the Super Bowl. This chilly Monday morning, Tim Tebow is an afterthought to the NFL season as it moves towards its climax – a quarterback with uplifting game-side rituals but once again of uncertain career prospects.

Responsible for the transformation was the 45-10 rout of Tebow's Denver Broncos at the hands of the New England Patriots in Saturday's first set of divisional play-offs, a result that restores order in the universe of pro football quarterbacks.

With homefield advantage and a superior regular season record, the Patriots were the pre-game favourites. But at that point their superstar Tom Brady was the afterthought. Brady might be the greatest quarterback of an NFL generation richly endowed with great quarterbacks, but as the teams took the field on Saturday he was a bit player.

All eyes were riveted on Tebow – he who has mesmerised the land with his modest demeanour and virtuous private life, the devout Christian who falls to his knee in prayer, head resting on hand, after every Broncos victory, in a gesture that has made him a cult hero and given the language a new word, "tebowing".

But against New England, Tebow's much-discussed flaws as a player were ruthlessly exposed by a team looking once again like the franchise that, under Brady's generalship, dominated the NFL in the previous decade, winning three Super Bowls between 2001 and 2005.

Part of Tebow's allure was that he gave the lie to the know-all critics who mocked his cumbersome throwing style and allegedly poor readership of the game. The critics might have a point, but who cared? He might win ugly, but he won (as with his game-winning touchdown pass in the first seconds of overtime in the wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers).

But the Broncos' miracle came to a shuddering halt against the Patriots, combining suffocating defence with Brady's laser-like arm. Against Pittsburgh, who boasted the League's best defence, Tebow threw for 316 yards and never turned the ball over once. On Saturday he completed just nine of 26 passes and was sacked five times.

Brady, however, threw for 363 yards and six touchdowns, equalling an NFL play-off record. By half-time, with New England leading 35-7, the game was over. Long before the end Patriots fans were mocking their opponents with chants of "Tebow, Tebow".

Their magical ride over, Tebow and the Broncos now confront reality. The player knows that even divine intervention does not always compensate for technical shortcomings, while the Broncos management must decide whether its current quarterback, who was close to being benched at one point in the regular season, is the longer-term answer to their problems.

In the meantime, the play-offs continue. In a game as thrilling as the Patriots/Broncos match-up was one-sided, San Francisco defeated the fancied New Orleans Saints 36-32 in a contest where the lead changed hands four times in the final four minutes. If they win the NFC Championship game this weekend, the 49ers will be involved in their first Super Bowl since 1995.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
This weekend's 'Big Hero 6' by Disney Animation Studios
arts + ents
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Transport Administrator / Planner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

Austen Lloyd: In-House Solicitor / Company Secretary - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee