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Tim Tebow: 68 percent of ESPN SportsNation viewers want Mile High Messiah to start Sunday

Thousands of local Broncos fans aren't alone in hoping that Tim Tebow gets the start in Sunday's game versus the Oakland Raiders in the Black Hole.

A survey of ESPN SportsNation viewers showed that 68 percent of them want Tebow under center from the get-go -- a big jump from the 48 percent of SportsNation that voted that way in October, much to co-host Colin Cowherd's chagrin.

Cowherd hasn't changed his mind during the past six weeks or so. "Here's how bad Tim Tebow is," he said on the latest broadcast. "They gave up three draft picks for him, they are 3-10, and they've only let him throw one pass. By starting him, you are throwing him to the wolves, crushing his spirit -- and all Tim Tebow has right now is spirit. He has no game."

To that, co-host Michelle Beadle responded, "They are 3-10 right now, the season is over, and you already know what Kyle Orton can do. You gave up all these things to get him. Why not see what he can do?"

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The viewers were on Beadle's side, and understandably so, since without this quarterback debate, there's absolutely no reason to follow the Broncos' final three games -- other than to root for Denver to lose them, so they'll wind up with a better draft position. Moreover, Kyle Orton's rib injury gives interim coach Eric Studesville the perfect excuse to offer Tebow a shot, because the decision could be portrayed as injury-related rather than a negative evaluation of Orton's performances, which have tailed off in a big way over recent weeks.

If Tebow gets the start, however, Tebow lovers and haters alike should avoid a rush to judgment -- because even future all-time greats typically suck the first time out. Hear that, SportsNation?

More from our Sports archive: "Tim Tebow draft pick good for Broncos and America, says Focus on the Family."

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