Local football fans were heartsick after the Broncos were thrashed by Seattle in this year's Super Bowl. But are they so distraught that they'd eagerly welcome Tim Tebow back to Denver?
That's a prospect being floated by folks from the A-11 Football League, which is teasing a possible Denver franchise with Tebow at the helm in an attempt to build credibility for the fledgling operation.
Could it really happen? Here are some factors to consider.
The A-11 Twitter account has been active since May 2012, and one of its earliest messages involves Tebow....
@TimTebowFanClub we definitely understand how lucky we'd be to get Tim and that he'd be a big cornerstone for the A11FL. Time will tell.
— A11 Football League (@A11FL) May 22, 2013
...with plenty of follow-ups, including this one from September 11:
— Brandi (@RblSports) September 11, 2013
In recent weeks, A-11's Tebow mentions have only increased in frequency, as witnessed by this NFL.com piece from February 7, in which both league founder Steve Humphries and commissioner Scott McKibben talk up Timmy, as well as synergy.
You see, A-11 has a deal with ESPN to broadcast some of its games, which will take place during the spring -- and Tebow is a newly inked ESPN commentator whose schedule during the fall college football season could presumably accommodate his on-field participation a few months earlier.
The latest? This weekend, the Denver Post's Woody Paige carried more water for the A-11, quoting McKibben as saying that while the league has named six franchises thus far, it's looking to field eight for its inaugural 2015 season -- and Denver's definitely in the running for one of the last two teams. Moreover, McKibben confirms that the A-11 has made Tebow an offer to get involved, with partial team ownership being dangled as an incentive.
What are the odds that Tebow will bite -- and potentially return to the Mile High City?
Continue for more about the latest Tim Tebow rumors, including additional photos and two videos. Well, the Tebow camp has been silent about the A-11 thus far. The main man's public focus is currently split between his unquenchable desire to play quarterback in the NFL and his thus-far more successful aptitude as a public figure and commercial spokesman.
The former is illustrated by his tutelage under the auspices of former NFL quarterback turned ESPN commentator Trent Dilfer, who suggests that Tebow's training regimen has reshaped his dubious throwing motion to the point that he's now ready to helm a squad in the senior league. Here's an ESPN clip on the subject:
Meanwhile, Tebow has become the latest face of T-Mobile, starring in a Super Bowl ad that found him having fun with his lack of an NFL contract:
Since the big game, he's continued to do promotion for T-Mobile, as this amusing poster demonstrates:
This campaign, not to mention the deal with ESPN, suggests strongly that Tebow isn't exactly starving these days -- so he can certainly afford to wait and see if any NFL teams buy Dilfer's pitch.
Our guess: They won't. After his showy stint with the Broncos, he landed two high-profile gigs with the New York Jets and the New England Patriots, neither of which turned out well for the squads in question. Twice bitten, twice shy.
As for the A-11, Tebow could potentially harm his brand if he inks with the new league, which will rightfully be seen as the B-team in comparison with the NFL. And if he doesn't tear up the A-11, his reputation would be diminished, especially given the level of competition. (Right now, the A-11 website is actually soliciting players online via an invite that reads in part, "Are you a professional level athlete? We're recruiting all positions.") His fan base is fed by his potential, and if that proves illusory, members would be left with only memories and good will to sustain them.
And yet, Tebow clearly isn't ready to give up on his gridiron fantasies, and if all the other professional-football options vanish, he might be susceptible to being romanced by the A-11. That still doesn't mean he'll be back in Denver: One of the six named franchises is in Tampa Bay, and he remains a god-like icon in Florida. But if the prospect of a Mile High comeback gets the A-11 more attention in the meantime, McKibben and Paige are more than happy to hint at the possibility.
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More from our Tim Tebow archive circa November 2013: "'Tim Tebow pass' to replace 'uncatchable' in NFL rule book?"