Lovers. Haters. Whiners. The home-schooled, Bible-touting, end-zone-kneeling sophomore-winning Heisman champion just took the NFL playoffs by storm. In a weekend where most of the wild card matchups were a blowout with victories in the double digits, the Denver Broncos and their star quarterback, Tim Tebow, turned the final game into an overtime thriller. During the second quarter alone, where Denver has generally produced the worst offense in the entire league, they lit up the number one ranked defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers, scoring 20 points on fast and well engineered drives. But it was a single play in overtime that made history.
At the end of regulation, referee Ron Winter (who doubles as a professor at Western Michigan University) took several minutes to explain the newest change of rules to playoff overtime. Why? Because even though the rules had been enacted more than twenty months earlier, the previous season had no overtime contests. The new rules were supposed to end the arguably cheap version of sudden death, where the coin toss winner moves 40 yards and kicks a winning field goal. But no so fast. What if the coin toss winner gets a touchdown? Well, the officials say, that’s okay.
So to sum up the first ever non-sudden-death overtime in NFL history, here’s how it went. Denver won the toss and elected to receive. Pittsburgh punted the ball to their opposite end zone and Denver got a touchback to start from their own 20 yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Tebow throws to Demaryius Thomas on the run, Thomas stiffarms the defense, then runs 80 yards for a fast and furious touchdown. No whistles. No flags. And no arguments. Just like that, the Broncos move on the number one seeded New England Patriots next Saturday night at 8pm. No one can blame the tough, but injured Pittsburgh Steelers QB for playing his heart out on a high ankle sprain. He certainly gave the game everything he had. Unfortunately for him, someone else proved to be better on this given sunday.
Some have called it magic. Some have called it faith. Others just believe. But for now, the legend of Tim Tebow will continue to rise.
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