After throwing only one pass in Denver's first 13 games, the rookie started the final three, averaging 217 yards passing and 66.3 on the ground
Dan Patrick:Do I call you the Broncos' starting quarterback?
Tim Tebow: It doesn't matter what you call me, Mr. Patrick. You can just call me Timmy, and I'll answer to that.
DP:You're a pro now. You can call me Dan. Do you look at yourself as a starting quarterback?
TT: For the last three weeks I did. I tried to handle that as best I could. Now I'm trying to go out and compete and not worry about what kind of title I have, just about what kind of work ethic I have.
DP:Are you concerned a new coach will come in and want a different style of quarterback?
TT: Well, I'm not too concerned with that. I'm just going to worry about what I can control.
DP:How different are you as a quarterback compared with a year ago?
TT: I've improved a lot of my footwork, body position, balance ... different things with my throwing motion. I think I'm improving.
DP:Have you ever signed a baby?
TT: I have signed a baby more than once.
DP:Where do people want their babies autographed?
TT: The forehead. Kind of reminds me of Will Ferrell [in Talladega Nights]: "Absolutely, ma'am, I would love to sign your baby."
DP:Have you talked to John Elway since he's taken over as Broncos VP of personnel?
TT: I have. He's been very supportive all year long, and I have a great relationship with him. I'm very excited to have him.
DP:Can you outthrow John Elway right now?
TT: I don't know, he has a pretty strong arm.
DP:How did you find out about Urban Meyer's stepping down?
TT: I talked to him a few minutes before he [announced it]. I congratulated him because I knew it was the right decision for him and his family. I'm proud of him for making that decision.
DP:Do you think he'll coach again?
TT: That's a very good question. Give me 30 years, and then ask me again.
DP:Could you see him coaching in the NFL?
TT: No, I could not. He likes investing in young men, men that are coming out of high school that he can try to help, try to groom into being young men of character.
DP:Did anyone talk trash to you your rookie season?
TT: A few people did.
DP:What did they say to you?
TT: Most of the time it was "Good luck, God bless. You play really hard." Stuff like that.
DP:Oh, c'mon. Maybe Kurt Warner said that. Did the Raiders talk trash?
TT: They talked a little bit. But I have a good relationship with some of the players on their team. I played versus Rolando [McClain] in college. Some of them did talk trash. That's what you get when you're a rookie quarterback. They want to put pressure on you. They want to intimidate you. I enjoyed that.
DP:When they talk trash, do you ever tell them you'll pray for them?
TT: Sometimes I'll throw out there, "God bless." "Jesus loves you." I can get pretty dirty too.
DP:So they curse, and you say, "God bless"?
TT: Oh, absolutely. They don't know what to say.
• Hair Majesty
After admitting that he sometimes puts gel in his hair before a game, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan made another confession. I asked him which took more planning: popping the question to girlfriend Sarah Marshall or playing a meaningless Week 17 game against the Panthers. "I'd be wrong if I told you there wasn't more game plan going into the proposal." They worked out equally well. Marshall said yes, and Ryan was 22 of 32 for 236 yards and two TDs in the Falcons' rout.
• Hall Monitor
Why do the Baseball Hall of Fame voters get 15 years to ultimately decide if a player deserves a plaque in Cooperstown? It should be one-and-done. Players shouldn't be left twisting in the wind, forced to drum up support. Voters should know right off the bat if a player belongs or not. Make the election a televised event. Have Bob Costas call out the results, and it would be one of the highlights of the year.
• Line of the week
I asked Patriots mammoth defensive tackle and last week's SI cover boy, Vince Wilfork (left), who had a better body, him or his quarterback, Tom Brady: "Me. Hands down. At least I have muscle."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Will Muschamp on his new job: Florida football coach.
2. TCU coach Gary Patterson discusses the BCS.
THE FINE PRINT: Before he can be traded to the Nets, Carmelo Anthony must agree to a $65 million extension. Or $62 million if he flies in and out of Newark.
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
SCOTT CUNNINGHAM/GETTY IMAGES (RYAN)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (WILFORK)
JUSTIN EDMONDS/GETTY IMAGES (TEBOW)