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CBSSports.com National Columnist

Hear me out: Tebow a legit MVP looker -- not winner, but candidate

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Teammates may love him now that Tebow has the Broncos at 5-5, but is that MVP-worthy? (Getty Images)  
Teammates may love him now that Tebow has the Broncos at 5-5, but is that MVP-worthy? (Getty Images)  

The extremist commentary on Tim Tebow -- exalted by some, excoriated by the rest -- reached critical mass a few days ago when some idiot went to Twitter with the following joke: Tim Tebow should be a candidate for Most Valuable Player.

Only, hang on. That idiot was me.

And I wasn't joking.

Now please, hear me out. Please? Thank you. You did not read in the first paragraph, and you are not reading now, that Tebow should win the MVP. Nor have you read here that Tebow should be considered the front-runner.

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But a candidate? Tebow? Sure. You did just read that. Tebow should be a candidate -- and not in the ethereal sense that everyone in the league is a candidate. I mean, Tim Tebow should be a legitimate candidate.

If this keeps up.

The bottom could drop out on him, and it probably will. Like a lot of people, I'm stunned the Broncos -- who were 1-4 with Kyle Orton as their starting quarterback -- are now 4-1 with Tebow. That can't continue. Why? Because it can't. Because it makes no sense. Tebow doesn't throw like an NFL quarterback, and these are the pass-happiest days in league history. And yet Denver is winning games with Bronko Nagurski under center.

Makes no sense. Cannot continue. And if it does not continue, then obviously Tebow would not be an MVP candidate late next month when votes go out.

But if it does continue ...

If Denver does keep winning, and keeps winning the way it has been winning ...

How could anyone deny Tebow's viable candidacy? Make no mistake, I think Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the far-and-away MVP at this point in the season. But just as the case with Tebow, Rodgers has to keep it up. He doesn't have to keep putting up Xbox individual numbers, no, but he has to keep the Packers winning. Every game? No. The Packers don't have to win every game for Rodgers to finish off what looks to be an MVP season. But the Packers had better win at least as often as they lose from here on out. All bets are off if the Packers limp home at 2-4.

And if Tim Tebow keeps doing his often infuriating, always baffling, mostly boring, ultimately winning thing.

Stop looking at me like that. I'm neither kidding nor being sarcastic. Tim Tebow, MVP candidate? Absolutely. It's not only that he plays quarterback for a team that has won four of its past five games. Tebow should be a legit MVP candidate -- if this keeps up -- because of the way the Broncos are winning these games.

They're winning because of Tebow. Or rather, Tebow is winning these games.

He doesn't win them for 60 minutes, no. That's what Aaron Rodgers has been doing at Green Bay, and that's why, again, Rodgers can, should and will win MVP if he keeps it up. Anyway, that's not what Tebow is doing. He's not playing great for 60 minutes, mauling opponents from the first drive. He's not. If anything, he has been borderline bad for the first 45-plus minutes of most games.

But then comes the final quarter, and Tebow becomes special. The defense gives the Broncos a chance to win, and Tebow takes over. He capitalizes on that chance. The game gets tight, the clock starts ticking down, and Tebow goes from awful to awesome. He's Semaj NorBel -- the opposite of LeBron James.

In his first start, at Miami, Tebow was miserable for 55 minutes -- 4 for 14, 40 yards -- but he threw two touchdown passes in the final 2:44 to force overtime, where a long field goal gave the Broncos a 18-15 victory.

Two games later, Denver trailed the Raiders by 10 in the third quarter when Tebow led two touchdown drives and a field-goal drive. Throw in a punt-return TD by Eddie Royal, and the Broncos scored the last 24 points of a 38-24 win on the road.

Fourth game? Tebow completed just two passes all day, but one was a 56-yard touchdown to Eric Decker in the fourth quarter for a 17-10 victory at Kansas City.

Game five? Tebow was horrendous until driving the team 95 yards late in the fourth quarter, and capping that with a 20-yard touchdown run with 58 seconds left for a 17-13 victory against the loaded Jets.

That's four wins, with Tebow providing the winning plays in all four games. It can't continue, and we all know that.

But what if it does? What would that mean?

Tim Tebow, MVP candidate. That's what it would mean.


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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