Tim Tebow is getting help from outside forces. There’s nobody left who disputes this. However, what most people don’t know is that the higher power orchestrating these miraculous plays is actually the tandem of me and my college roommate/best man Jimmy. Every time we talk on the phone and simul-watch a Broncos game, they come back and win. This is not a stretch of the truth for the purposes of writing a column. I will swear on whatever scriptural text you shove in front of me. We are 8-0. Clearly, something is happening here.
I need to clarify that I neither like nor dislike the Broncos. I’m sure Jimmy feels the same way. He’s a Redskins fan and a high school football coach. I’m a Ravens fan and a dilettante. Both of us are lapsed Catholics. We don’t have a horse in this race (no pun intended). Sunday, October 23rd, we happened to be chatting on the phone and for whatever reason watching the Broncos at the Dolphins. As Matt Prater banged home a 52-yarder to get Tebow his first victory, we said our goodbyes and acknowledged that we had witnessed a semi-remarkable event.
The next weekend life caught up with both of us and I barely saw the good parts of the Ravens comeback against Arizona. Jimmy and I didn’t connect for a couple of weeks. As a side note, can we just acknowledge that nobody over 26 is “good at keeping in touch”? Everyone announces this with such shame, yet I don’t know a single adult who feels they do a good enough job keeping in touch with their friends. Anyway, we checked back in on the following Sunday and watched Tebow’s Broncos hang 31 second-half points on the Raiders. It became an unspoken man-date. Kansas City, New York, San Diego, Minnesota, and Chicago followed. It was around the overtime game in San Diego that forced us to acknowledge that our friendship was now largely Tebow-reliant. The moment that earnest bugger held up four fingers to the sky, our iPhones were buzzing one another.
Our fascination with Tebow comes from the fact that Jimmy and I are a special kind of football nerd. Everything unique about the game makes us giddy and talk at an inconceivable volume. Back in college, we used to spend hours trying to hack our copy of Madden to run obscure offenses against one another. We’ve spent hours talking about the A-11, the Lonesome Polecat, the Wing-T, the Air Raid, and the Flexbone Triple Option. Note: those are esoteric football offenses, some may also be sexual positions.
Even though the Read Option is yesterday’s news in modern football, it delights us to no end. We love when things happen unconventionally. “Football as chess” is probably an overused metaphor, but we like to view the game as a chessboard. Only in this particular chess game, someone smart enough comes along every few years and says “pawns can now move like knights.” These things are interesting to see executed at the high school level, but watching a pro football team basically burn their playbook mid-season and run a college offense is perhaps the most captivating thing you could show us from a football persepctive.
As the holidays kicked in, predictably Jimmy and missed our Sunday phone calls three weeks in a row even though we hung out in person twice. The Broncos went 0-3. People basically buried Tebow, putting his antics in the “fun while it lasted” bin. My family likes to stretch excuses to eat like “the Holidays” out as long as possible, so I was returning home from a family “Christmas” gathering on January 8th. I was tired and half-paying attention to the first half of Steelers-Broncos. Foolishly, I wrote the Broncos off and got into other stuff. Then, I got this text from Jimmy: You’re gonna make Tim Tebow lose! He needs us!
I quickly hopped on the phone, suddenly getting the urge to smite Pittsburgh if at all possible. You know what happens next. We watched the final drives as Denver’s defense dug deep to shove Ben Roethlisberger out of field goal territory. As overtime began, Jimmy’s girlfriend comedically kicked him off their giant television and relegated him to watching online, claiming a previously scheduled viewing of a non-sporting program. We determine, by using a shot of John Elway putting on lip balm, that his feed is now roughly 30 seconds behind mine.
“Just tell me what happens,” he sighs. The play unfolds before me. So much Tebow. So much Demaryius Thomas.
“Um, Tebow just throw an 80-yard TD on the first and now the game is over,” I say, unsurprised.
“Ha, yeah he did. Very funny. I’ll bet. Okay, play is starting for me now. Oh. Oh God. Oh God. What? What!? Ahahahahaha shut up!”
I relive the moment over and over again, via the replays on my own CBS station, then through Jimmy watching on his choppy stream.
“It’s fair to say we have powers, right?” I ask. Jimmy concurs.
“I think we need to reach out to him,” he suggests.
On Saturday evening, I will dial my best friend precisely at the start of the 4th quarter, still a cynic, an atheist and a pragmatist, but completely believing that my best friend and I have the power to dig a left-handed evangelical we’ve never met out of a 21-point hole against the Patriots.
The following week, if everything goes to plan and the Ravens defeat the TExans, I will make no such call. The feel-goodery ends if Tebow sets foot in M&T Bank Stadium. Make no mistake, we will use our powers for evil.
Dave Gilmore lives in Baltimore and writes “The Win Column” for Baltimore Sports Report. He is currently working on a novel about college football. Find him on Twitter @dave_gilmore or visit his web site at davegilmorejr.com