The second-year QB's inconsistent passing, dramatic wins and displays of faith drew fans and detractors as he led Denver to an 8--5 record as a starter, including a playoff win.
DAN PATRICK:Did you have fun this year?
TIM TEBOW: I did. If you had told me when I was six years old that I'd be playing quarterback for the Denver Broncos, I would have said that was a dream come true.
DP:What team did you dream of playing for when you were a kid?
TT: The Florida Gators. But in the NFL it was the Dallas Cowboys.
DP:I figured as much.
TT: Emmitt Smith was my favorite player. He was a Gator and maybe the best running back of all time.
DP:How many yards could you have gotten as a running back?
TT: How many touches a game?
TT: I'd probably average half a yard a carry. [Laughs.]
DP:Seriously, do you think you could run for 1,000 yards?
TT: I don't know. I hope so.
DP:I think you could, considering you ran for 660 yards as a quarterback. Can that statistic be a negative at your position?
TT: I don't think so. I know sometimes that's a knock. Just because you have the ability to do something else, it should be an addition to your game, not something that nullifies the rest of your game.
DP:Why were you more effective late in games?
TT: More than anything, the longer the game went, the better I felt and the better I was seeing defenses. By the end of the game, we were just having fun and trusting each other.
DP:The most down you got this season?
TT: After the loss to the Chiefs in the last regular-season game.
DP:Did that hit you like the loss to Ole Miss in your junior year at Florida?
TT:[Laughs.] They were both pretty disappointing. [Against Kansas City] we controlled our own destiny. We lost and didn't know if we were going to get into the playoffs. Right afterward I was able to put things into perspective because I got to bring a kid named Joey Norris to the game. We met on Twitter, and he said he was Tebowing while chemoing. As much as we care about winning, affecting him was more important.
DP:How surprised are you by the reaction to the way you carried yourself during the season?
TT: With the Tebowing thing, there are a lot of athletes who get on the ground and pray. I've been doing the exact same routine for the last seven years. This year it really caught on.
DP:Did the criticism bother you?
TT: I tried not to pay much attention to it. You hear it because it's hard to block things out. I try to stay secluded. Go into the office early and stay late.
DP:Could you go out to dinner in Denver?
TT: I didn't.
DP:Does that make you feel like you lost some control of your life?
TT: No, not at all. In season there are certain things you want to deal with and certain things you don't want to deal with. I didn't want more distractions by trying to go out. Being at home with friends and family, that's where I'd rather be.
"There were times this year where I was playing games completely confused. Not confused like dumb and I don't know what's going on. But like, I worked on this defense all week ... what's happening? This is not what I saw on film."
—Cam Newton, the Offensive Rookie of the Year, on adjusting to the NFL
Giants punter Steve Weatherford wasn't worried when Ahmad Bradshaw fell into the end zone with less than a minute left in the Super Bowl. "At that point, I knew we were going to be Super Bowl champions," Weatherford said. "You tell our defense not to let them score, they're not going to score."... Kurt Warner told me the difference between his former teammate Eli Manning as a rookie and now is "astronomical." Warner described Manning's performance in 2004 as "some of the worst quarterback play I've ever seen."... I asked New England owner Robert Kraft about the negative view fans around the country have of his team. "We're red, white and blue, and our name is the Patriots," Kraft responded. "How can you hate something like that?"... Packers linebacker Clay Matthews talked about how different Super Bowl week is when you're not playing. "Last year I was staying at a Ritz eating caviar," Matthews told me. "Last night I ate at a Waffle House."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
ANDREW H. WALKER/GETTY IMAGES (WEATHERFORD)
KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT/US PRESSWIRE (WARNER)
MICHAEL O'NEILL (KRAFT)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (MATTHEWS)
ROBERT BECK (TEBOW)