Tim Tebow’s first start as the Denver Broncos quarterback came Sunday at Oakland, and it has been discussed, praised, questioned, debated for so long in advance of that start that you sometimes wonder what is left to say.
Only the future will tell us what it holds. You cannot predict it or rush it.
You can, however, prepare for it, and Tebow has worked very hard all year doing just that.
It is disappointing when you lose, and Sunday’s game at Oakland was an especially frustrating loss — if there is such a thing — in that the team fought so hard and played so well so often, but not well enough overall to get the win.
Nevertheless, Tebow’s performance excited Broncos fans and gave them new hope and promise for the future, however uncertain and unpredictable that future is at this writing.
But a game was played, Tebow went all the way at quarterback for his first time as a pro, and naturally, statistics were produced.
Once produced on the field, the statistics sit there on the pages of paper and they do not lie. They are comparative with other stats. Other games have been played by other pro quarterbacks over the 90 years of the National Football League. All the games lasted 60 minutes, and they all produced statistics.
A quick look at Tebow’s stats for one game, his first start, show this:
He had a 40-yard rushing touchdown and a 33-yard touchdown pass, making Tebow the first player since Michael Vick in 2002 to have a scoring run of 40 or longer and a scoring pass of 30 or longer in the same game. He is the first rookie to have accomplished this feat in pro football history.
He had a 100.5 passer rating at Oakland, the highest rating among the seven rookie quarterbacks who have made their starting debuts in 2010.
Tebow became the 15th rookie quarterback in NFL history to have a passer rating of 100 or more in his first pro start.
Among all Bronco rookie quarterbacks making their first start, all-time over the past 51 years, Tebow’s 100.5 rating is the best ever.
He rushed for 78 yards, more than John Elway ever gained on the ground in any game he ever played as a pro and second all-time among Bronco quarterbacks to the 120 by Norris Weese at Chicago on December 12, 1976.
In the 51 year-history of the Broncos, 42 quarterbacks have started for the team. Tebow’s 100.5 passer rating is seventh-best in his first game among all 42, including veterans, but ranks first among the 12 Broncos rookie quarterbacks in their first pro start.
So those are the stats.
You would always rather have a win, it is the only reason you play the game. No one is happy to lose, ever.
But any time the body of stats for a given game puts a player in the team and NFL record books, and even more notably when it is the first start of a career, that is an accomplishment and a step forward for a franchise and its fans, whether known as Broncos Country or Gator Nation, and in this case, both.