After the Broncos traded Tim Tebow to the Jets, televangelist Pat Robertson accused Denver of treating Tebow shabbily. But a spokesman for Colorado Springs' Focus on the Family, for which Tebow made a 2010 Super Bowl ad, doesn't echo this claim. Instead, he believes the events that led the Broncos to sign Peyton Manning and deal Tebow resulted in a win-win for all involved, including the QB who may someday be known as "Times Square Tim."
At various times over the years, Times Square has been known as a rundown tribute to degradation and sin and a tacky/gaudy tourist trap -- but the proposed nickname of Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger refers to neither of these incarnations.
"There's a lot of street evangelism going on down there these days," Schneeberger points out. "And that's a lot more Tim than Broadway. I told a reporter from the New York Daily News, 'You guys are accustomed to Broadway Joe'" -- a reference to Joe Namath, who led the Jets to their only Super Bowl victory in early 1969 -- "but Tim's more like 'Times Square Tim.'"
Schneeberger concedes that the Tebow trade "was sad for those of us who love Tim" in Broncos Nation -- particularly Coloradans. Recall that in 2010, Schneeberger described Denver's drafting of Tebow as good for the Broncos and America. But he understands why the move was made.
"Peyton Manning is the only four-time MVP in football history, and he's gone to the Super Bowl twice" with the Indianapolis Colts. "Fans loved Tim Tebow, but if you're going to have any grace at all in trading Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning is the guy."
Not all Tebow boosters agree, particularly in Colorado Springs. "Down here," Schneeberger says, "I've heard a lot of comparisons to Johnny Unitas," the undisputed greatest Colts quarterback of all-time before Manning came along. "He was great, but at the end of his career, he went to the Chargers, who were not a good team -- and people remember old, limping Johnny Unitas on the sidelines bleeding from the mouth because he was getting beaten up. But Peyton Manning is only 36 years old -- and just 35 in football years, because he didn't play last year. So if he's healthy, it's really hard to argue with the move -- and most people who were Broncos fans before Tebow have applauded it. If you have a chance to pick up a guy like that, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you grab it."
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He feels the news is equally good for Tebow -- and not simply for marketing reasons.
Page down to continue reading Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger's take on the Tim Tebow trade. "New York is the number one media market in the country," Schneeberger concedes. "But when people were saying that was the reason he wanted to go there, well, when he was on his hot streak last year, he couldn't have gotten much more media-saturation. The cover of USA Today is about as big as you're going to get whether you're in New York or anywhere else -- and yesterday, 15,000 people turned out to see him at a church in Texas, not New York. But I know Tim didn't go to New York to ratchet up endorsement deals. He's focused on playing football."
Will he get that chance for the Jets?
"I think Tim Tebow's chances of being a starting quarterback with New York are better right now than they would be with the Denver Broncos after getting Peyton Manning," Schneeberger replies. "Mark Sanchez is a good young quarterback, but he's no Peyton Manning. So Tim's got a pretty good shot of making the starting lineup if he performs well. And as a backup quarterback, he's just great. There was a guy for the Buffalo Bills in the '90s named Frank Reich. He backed up Jim Kelly, and when Kelly was hurt, he led the greatest comeback in NFL playoff history.
"When you're looking for a backup, you're looking for a guy who can come in and win a game for you. And if Tebow proved anything last year, it's that he can win football games. Defenses will have schemed for Sanchez, and in comes Tebow, a proven winner."
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The bottom line for Schneeberger: "I think it's a good move for the Broncos, a good move for the Jets, and a good move for Tim Tebow, who I'm certain will prosper."
Amen to that.
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More from our Media archive: "Focus on the Family's Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad 'absolutely not anti-anything, says Focus spokesman."