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Monday, December 12, 2011

Do You Believe in Magic?

This morning, I had planned on writing about the Hot Stove in Major League Baseball. There were a few noteworthy player transactions, particularly one by the Los Angeles Angels. However, it should come as no surprise that an NFL story over the weekend trumped Major League Baseball offseason news.

What would have surprised me, a month ago, is that Tim Tebow’s success on the field is the hot topic for at least the fourth time this season. Tebow is a critical part of the Broncos run for the playoffs this season. While the last minute heroics have often been dubbed as “magic” in the media, several components of the Broncos six game winning streak are anything but magic. They are simply good football and high-level, high-pressure execution.


Situation: The Broncos trailed the Miami Dolphins, in Miami, 15-0 in the final three minutes of regulation.

Result: Tebow throws two touchdowns, one with a two point conversion, to tie the score with 17 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter, leading to an 18-15 win in overtime.

Situation: The Broncos trail the Oakland Raiders, in Oakland, by 10 points in the 3rd quarter.

Result: With 118 rushing yards, Tebow helps the Broncos rally to beat the Raiders, 38-24.

Situation: The Broncos, with only three points scored by the offense all night, trailed the New York Jets by three points in the final six minutes, with possession of the ball at their own five yard line.

Result: Tebow leads the Broncos down the field, finishing a 95 yard drive with a game winning 20 yard touchdown run in the final minute.

Situation: The Broncos trail the San Diego Chargers by three points in the final two minutes.

Result: Tebow leads the Broncos to a game tying field goal, leading to a 16-13 win in overtime.

Situation:  The Broncos, on the road trailed the Minnesota Vikings, 29-21 in the 4th quarter.

Result: Tebow helped lead a touchdown drive, with a two point conversion by Tebow, to tie the score. The Broncos would fall behind, again, by three points with just over three minutes remaining. Tebow would get the Broncos in position to kick two field goals in the final 93 seconds, including a game winning kick as time expired to win 35-32.

Situation: The Broncos trailed the Chicago Bears, 10-0, not having scored a single point all day, with under three minutes remaining in the 4th quarter.

Result: Tebow led the Broncos to a touchdown with just over two minutes remaining. Then, The Bow made the plays to put Matt Prater in position to attempt and make a 59 yard blast of a field goal as the 4th quarter expired. Prater would also kick the game winner in overtime.

Matt Prater nails a 50+ yard kick at the end of the game with the Bears. 1


Once can be a coincidence. Twice is a pattern. Three times is a trend. Tebow has led his team from second half deficits for victory six times in the past seven weeks.

There is no such thing as magic in the sense of waving a magic wand and waiting for the results. But in sports, as in life, “luck” is where preparation meets opportunity. The Broncos have a great defense. They held the Bears to 10 points in the entire game. The Bears made two key errors: Marion Barber running out of bounds in the final two minutes, stopping the clock in spite of having the lead; the other error was Barber’s lost fumble in overtime.

The biggest difference with Tebow, however, is that he is improving with every week. Tebow completed more than 10 passes for the first time all season on Sunday. His coaches are growing more comfortable with Tebow who, in turn, is throwing more passes and taking further control of a football game.

Far from hocus pocus.... 3

Tebow’s late game heroics may be labeled “miracles” or “magic”. But a more rational explanation is that the Broncos are a team that is increasingly gaining confidence in Tebow who, in turn, is gaining confidence in himself. As Tebow’s game improves, expect him to be placed in fewer positions in which he has to rally his team late. There is little doubt though that in any game in which the Broncos trail late, something special could be about to happen.    

And THIS is no rabbit and he certainly did not pull her out of a hat! 3
1) Image from

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