You don’t need to be a fan or hater of Tim Tebow to acknowledge that Denver Broncos VP John Elway lied to and about him. Both are facts.
Back in December of last year, Elway conducted an interview with the Associated Press where he discussed Tebow and his future with the franchise. Mind you, this was right around the time when there was heavy speculation that Elway hated his young passer and was looking for any opportunity to put him on the shelf. Here is what he told the AP (via SportsGrid):
“Tim Tebow’s not going anywhere,” Elway said. “I mean, he’s going to be a Bronco and we’re going to do everything we can and hopefully he’s that guy.”
Not only did the endorsement mean a lot to all of the Denver fans who had been walking the fine line between defending Tebow and simultaneously not attacking Elway, but it also meant a lot to Tebow himself. A few days after Elway’s comments to the AP, the Florida Gators product replied with his own statement (via ESPN):
"Mr. Elway is obviously one of the best to ever play the game. To get any compliment from him is extremely nice," Tebow said. "He's been around this game a long time. That's nice to hear."
In January of this year, Elway went a step further. He noted that Tebow had earned the right to go into the following season’s training camp as a starter (via USA Today):
"I think Tim has earned the right to be the starting quarterback going into training camp next year," said Elway. "I think that he made some good strides this year."
And now, according to numerous reports, Peyton Manning is on way to becoming the Broncos’ starting quarterback.
The natural tendency to take a side for or against Tebow seems to cloud people's judgment when it comes to how Elway has treated him.
From the very start, Elway has clearly not been a fan of Tebow and his work.
The Broncos' VP felt as though he was pressured to throw a quarterback he didn’t draft and didn’t especially want into the starting position because of fan influence, and he resented the fact that Tebow sort of thrived in that starting role. Similarly, he probably resented the fact that whenever Tebow screwed up other people got the blame, and that when the team succeeded Tebow -- seemingly alone -- would shoulder the credit.
Again, Elway’s ill will towards his guy is fine. The problem is that he was never up front about the situation. He constantly tried to play slick games regarding what the future of the quarterback position on his team would be, and that’s what irked a lot of people.
Tebow’s numbers were rarely pretty, and reasonable individuals could easily make the case that Denver won despite of him rather than with him. Along the same lines, equally reasonable people could point out that Kyle Orton, with the same exact team, couldn’t achieve the results that Tebow achieved. Make from that what you will.
What is indisputable, though, is that Elway wasn’t straight up with anyone about his intentions to get rid of Tebow and install a new quarterback for next year. If it wasn’t Manning, Elway likely would have looked elsewhere to fill what he felt like was a hole. And no matter how much people hate Tebow, or how much the same people believe that a 35-year-old with multiple neck procedures is head and shoulders better than him, the fact that Elway lied remains unchanged.
Elway is betting his reputation on this Manning move. If it works out, people will probably forget that he intentionally misled both Tebow and Broncos fans in order to make this happen. It doesn’t work out, though, it wouldn’t be particularly shocking to see Elway’s standing decrease substantially among folks that used to idolize him.