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CBSSports.com National Columnist

Tebow's adoring fans leave destruction in their wake


Tebow's still No. 3 on Denver depth chart behind Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn. (AP)  
Tebow's still No. 3 on Denver depth chart behind Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn. (AP)  

Tim Tebow is a chemistry killer, a cancer, on an NFL team. And it's not his fault. Honest to God, it's not.

But it's the truth. Tim Tebow on your football team is a killer, something that goes way beyond distraction and shifts into disruption, or even destruction.

Because the thing is, fans love Tebow -- and not just in the way that fans typically love the backup quarterback. Fans love Tebow not because he's the backup quarterback, because his faults have yet to be exposed as clearly as the starter's faults have been exposed. I mean, they love him for that, yes. But they love him for more than that.

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They love him because he's Tebow. The All-American boy. The Christian. The WASPiest WASP in this great big WASP nest we call America.

And because they love him in Denver, they hate Kyle Orton. They boo Orton even as he's throwing for 304 yards -- yes, he had a bad fumble -- but not just because Denver is losing. They boo Orton because he's not Tim Tebow.

And mind you, this would happen in any NFL city where Tebow was the backup quarterback. Well, almost any city. It wouldn't happen in New England or New Orleans or San Diego. It wouldn't happen in Green Bay or Atlanta. It might happen in Philadelphia, but probably not. Because Michael Vick is that good, just as Tom Brady and Drew Brees and Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan are that good. They are so good, they can withstand the cancer that is Tim Tebow.

And it's not Tebow's fault. I can't stress that enough. He doesn't go around undermining the starting quarterback, whoever it is. He doesn't curry favor in the locker room or kiss up to the coach or clamor for attention from fans. He doesn't do any of that. He just does his job, does his practice reps, does his media obligations. That's all he does.

It's the fans who do the rest.

This is your fault, Denver fans.

But again, this would have happened in about 20 other NFL cities, in cities where the starting quarterback isn't a potential MVP candidate. This could have been you, Dallas. It could have been you, Chicago. It definitely would have been Cincinnati and Jacksonville and Miami and Kansas City and Buffalo and Seattle and Minnesota. And San Francisco and Chicago and Cleveland and Denver.

Oh, right. It is happening in Denver. This is your fault, you fans. You lemmings. You blind followers of a man who is no prophet or NFL-quality starting quarterback.

You love Tebow so much, you're killing your football team. Nice job. Well done. Shortsighted much?

Fans in Denver want Tebow to replace Kyle Orton, and they want it so badly that they've spooked Orton and ticked off the rest of the Broncos' locker room. You do remember that quote from receiver Brandon Lloyd about "the Tebow thing," right? Lloyd said that in the preseason because the hysterical shrieking was reaching a fever pitch. Denver fans wanted Tebow. They congregated wherever the out-of-touch congregate -- on talk radio and on fan websites -- and they made their voice heard. It was heard all the way in the Broncos' locker room, where Lloyd, a receiver of all things, felt the need to lament "the Tebow thing."

Translation: These stupid fans want us to play an unready guy at the most vital position on the field, simply because they love the way he lives his life.

By the fourth quarter of the season opener, Denver fans were booing Orton and chanting Tebow's name, and never mind that Tebow isn't even the backup in Denver. That would be Brady Quinn, which ought to serve as a lesson all by itself:

Tim Tebow can't even beat out Brady Quinn.

Do you know anything about football, Broncos fans?

Apparently not, and you know even less about human nature, because all of this Tebow talk is killing your team. You have Orton being quoted during preseason that he doesn't care what the fans think, a sensible train of thought for an unappreciated quarterback but a stupid thing to say for public consumption. You have coach John Fox being quoted this week that he didn't hear the fans clamoring for Tebow on Monday, and even going a step farther and saying the atmosphere was the best he'd ever seen in his 23 years as an NFL coach. That was a blatant lie, one I can't believe Fox told with a straight face, but he's playing to his audience. He knows Broncos fans can't handle or even digest the truth. They want to be lied to, whether it's Fox telling them they were great on Monday or whether it's their own heart telling them Tim Tebow would help the team win games.

He wouldn't, or he'd be starting over Kyle Orton. Don't you get that, Denver fans? As bad as Kyle Orton may be, as bad as Brady Quinn definitely is, Tim Tebow is worse.

But still they're clamoring for him in Denver, blind to the fact that they aren't wreaking change. They are wreaking destruction.

Gregg Doyel is a columnist for CBSSports.com. He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.

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