Update below: KHOW's Dan Caplis is best known for talking politics -- and treating President Barack Obama like a piñata. But yesterday, he spent the majority of the program he shares with Craig Silverman discussing Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. He sees the Chosen One as a victim of bias by the media, which is prejudiced against him (some members for reasons of religion), and a lack of nerve from the team's braintrust, which Caplis thinks should name him a starter.
Caplis and Silverman's discussion jumped off from a USA Today article in which writer Mike McCarthy quoted various CBS Sports analysts mostly scoffing at the notion that Tebow could become a credible NFL quarterback. The main exception to this rule was Randy Cross, who suggested that a "hostile" press is "hating on Tebow for wearing his religious beliefs on his sleeve."
In contrast, Caplis, who speaks frequently and glowingly about his faith, is a Tebow fan in part for precisely those reasons. "I'm very open about the fact that my interest in Tim Tebow starts with the fact that he's a great person, a great leader -- a great Christian leader -- and a great role model. I think I'm an example of an awful lot of people in the community, who get more excited when there's a professional athlete who represents a lot more than just wins on the field, and that's what Tebow represents.
"A person doesn't have to be a Christian to be that guy or gal," he adds. "But Tebow's the complete package, including on the field."
With that in mind, Caplis says it "ticks me off" when members of the press complain that Tebow's throwing capabilities are woefully inadequate. He specifically mentions a recent piece by the Denver Post's Mike Klis, "Analysis: Don't Write Off Broncos' Tim Tebow." As the headline suggests, Kilis spends much of the item defending Tebow, which Caplis acknowledges. But the radio host hates the last line: "But, as a second-year player with three NFL starts continues to develop, consider how great a quarterback Tebow could become if he learns how to pass."
"Give me a break," Caplis says. "I mean, look at his first three starts," in the final trio of games last season," which he compares favorably from a statistical standpoint to the initial contests by "the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history." Yes, the Broncos were 1-2 in those games, "but that was better than Peyton Manning, who went 0-3, and as good as Tom Brady, who went 1-2. and it was better than the pace the Broncos were on last season," when they went 4-12. "And in those three games, they were competitive.
"In the Oakland game," which the Broncos lost, "he had the highest quarterback rating in Broncos history for the debut of a quarterback -- a rating of 100. John Elway, who I think is the greatest quarterback ever, had a rating of 0. And even though the Broncos won Elway's first start, they didn't win it because of quarterback play. They won it because the Broncos in Elway's first year were better than the Broncos that Tebow played with last season. And then there was the thrilling comeback against Houston, and a great comeback against San Diego," albeit one that fell short of victory.
Why can't Broncos decision-makers recognize that? Caplis believes they did -- which is why they tried to trade starter Kyle Orton approximately a month ago. "But nobody would take him," Caplis says. "And when they couldn't trade him, they made the enormous mistake of playing it safe. They're stuck with Orton, so they're making the safe choice, because he's not going to make as many mistakes as any young player would, whether it was a young Elway, a young Manning, a young Brady."
In other words, Caplis isn't arguing that new coach John Fox and Elway, in his capacity as a Broncos executive, are being swayed by the heathen press. He just thinks they've lost the courage of their previous convictions and should give more weight to Tebow's performances in real-game situations last year than his work in training camp and preseason contests this campaign. "But really, for me, the most disturbing thing about this is the media, including a lot of really good reporters who I otherwise respect, just going along with the company line in trying to justify the demotion of Tim Tebow. They're all choosing to ignore the most important facts, which is what the man actually did as a starter in the NFL.
"To me, that's very wrong, and very unfair to Tebow. I just think we need better from the media."
Update: After the publication of this item, Dan Caplis e-mailed to take issue with any suggestion that he saw press mistreatment of Tim Tebow as religiously motivated. This prospect was touched upon numerous times during the Wednesday broadcast described above, including references to the aforementioned USA Today article linked above, in which sports analyst Randy Cross said a "hostile" press is "hating on Tebow for wearing his religious beliefs on his sleeve." But Caplis stresses that he doesn't believe this to be true -- "at least not on the part of any of the local guys."
More from our Media archive: "Dan Caplis haters: Sorry to break it to you, but he just saved somebody's life."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.