No question about it, the ascension of Tim Tebow has established a unique style of football in Denver. The Broncos have managed to distill all the heart-pounding excitement and nail-biting competitiveness of NFL action and compress it into the final couple of minutes (and sometimes the final couple of seconds) of an improbable comeback, wiping out painful memories of the first atrocious 57 minutes or so of the game.
And there's money to be made from that sort of thing.
Granted, it's an odd formula -- since almost every contest this season since Tebow took over has been, until that storybook ending, a largely unwatchable exercise in frustration: sputtering options, dropped or uncatchable passes and other inept stabs at something like an offense, with outstanding defensive and special teams play keeping the contest from turning into a blowout. (Come to think of it, the Detroit Lions did manage a blowout.)
A colleague recently observed that watching the Broncos is a bit like sitting through the movie Melancholia, the Kirsten Dunst turkey that's just awful for the first hour or two, and then gets all apocalyptic. You leave thinking, Wow, the end of the world. Cool.
That's not all Tebow's fault, of course. Coach John Fox's throwback preferences in play-calling, which manage to catch boredom in a bottle, have a lot to do with the tedium on the field. But since Tebow is the player most closely associated with this special brand of football -- something that sucks through three quarters or more before catching fire for a miraculous finish -- he's the one who stands to benefit from franchising this approach and putting his stamp on a wider world of commerce.
Here are five top contenders for Tebow-branded businesses and services:
Tim's Community Theater: Specializing in works of excruciating opacity by playwrights who know nothing about dramatic development. For the first two acts, characters wander in a miasma of existential doubt, saying and doing little. Then the actors inexplicably burst into song for a Cirque de Soleil-style finale, featuring fireworks and high-kicking acrobatics.
Tebow Chow: A chain of high-end diners offering five-course, prix fixe meals. Patrons arrive with inflated expectations and are routinely subjected to long waits, lousy service, and one course after another of inedible swill. All of which makes the spectacular flaming dessert a truly memorable experience.
TT Civil War Reenactments: Authentic uniforms but a total revision of the usual ho-hum skirmishes. The bluebellies get routed in battle after battle, and Confederate troops march deep into New England. Just when all seems lost for the Union, the rebels go into a prevent defense and are quickly overrun, resulting in the sacking of Atlanta -- the city, not the team. Page down for the top two franchising opportunities!
Tebowling: Imagine a mess of family fun centers stretching from sea to shining sea. No profanity, no alcohol, and a whole new approach to the idea of a bowling alley. Instead of trying to be "perfect" and score 300, players try to keep their scores as low as possible, throwing gutter ball after gutter ball. Things only get serious in the ninth and tenth frame, when spares are permitted and a string of lucky strikes are just what the Doctor ordered.
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SHOW ME HOW
Tebow Lightning Language Centers: A total immersion (as in baptism) method of learning new languages. For the first nine weeks of the course, the student is inundated in sounds and gestures that seem to make no sense whatsoever. But it all comes together in the last session, during which astonished students find themselves "speaking in tongues" and thanking their Lord and Savior in the language of their choice.
Photo illustrations by Jay Vollmar.
More from our Sports archive: "Tim Tebow and Fox News: Bill O'Reilly, Steve Doocy fighting 'War on Tebow'?"