On August 21st Tim Tebow will make his Denver debut in what otherwise would be a meaningless preseason game against the Detroit Lions. I will be there! Just like I was 23 years ago, when John Elway made his Denver debut in a preseason game against Seattle on August 5, 1983.
Back in 1983 the Broncos didn't include the first preseason game in the season ticket package. This resulted in thousands of tickets being available on game day. I originally wasn't planning to attend the game, but decided after dinner to drive down to Mile High Stadium to buy a ticket. I was glad I did! I sat in the East Stands and I was immediately impressed with the strength of Elway's arm. As the video below shows, right from the start you could tell Elway would be good!
I'm hoping I get the same impression from Tim Tebow on August 21st. I do caution fans to be patient when evaluating Tebow. After John Elway's impressive preseason debut he struggled in later preseason games. Against Minnesota he kept throwing the ball in the dirt, missing wide open receivers. And he had a rocky start to the NFL season against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, being benched half way through the game after completing only 1 of 8 passes for 14 yards. Did this mean that Elway was a bust? No way! Later that year he claimed the starting quarterback job for good and led the Broncos to his first 4th quarter comeback win vs the Colts in December.
Tebow no doubt will have growing pains, and some plays that will cause fans to say "no way is he an nfl quarterback!" I say look for flashes of ability, like we did for Elway back in 1983, and give Tebow at least 2 or 3 years to prove he can be a legitimate NFL quarterback.
Will the scene on August 21st be like August 5, 1983? I hope so - here's a portion of video I recorded that night with Elway's fabulous debut, and what happened later that season: