The Denver Broncos provided the shock of the first round of the NFL Draft, using the 25th pick of the draft to select an inspirational mascot: Tim Tebow. It's the first time a team has taken a mascot in the history of the draft.
"I just want to work hard and be a role model," said Tebow. "I want to do whatever is asked of me and just show my passion for the game of football and for this team."
The San Diego Chicken himself couldn't have said it better. And Tebow will follow through.He is expected to sell tons of merchandise, get casual fans throughout the Rockies interested in the Broncos, and also appear at numerous charity and community events.
"We didn't think there were any guaranteed star players available at No. 25 so we decided to go this route," said Broncos team president Pat Bowlen. "It was either bring in Tebow or get a dance team. We decided Tebow was the best option. The insurance premiums on even a 10-girl dance team are pretty high. And most dance teams are 12 or 16 girls. Tim is just one mascot. And, who knows maybe we can teach him to dance, too."
But the Broncos think Tebow is more than just someone who fires up the fans they want him to make an impact on the field, too.
"I definitely think Tebow will help us on the field," said Broncos cornerback and team leader Champ Bailey. "Anything that get fans more into the game, gets them cheering louder that energy is passed down to us players. He can be like our new Barrel Man."
Head coach Josh McDaniels says he can't wait to get Tebow out on the field to see what he can do.
"I am so excited about this pick," he said. "Can you imagine it? Tebow dropping back to throw? That hilarious motion of his? Launching tee-shirts wildly into the crowd? It's going to be so awesome. And so funny. He will be an instant crowd favorite. Would I have liked a player who can come right in and play? Sure. But we play for the fans, and this pick is all for them."
The Denver Broncos sported throwback jerseys from their inaugural season in 1960. Their opponent, the New England Patriots, also wore old uniforms from their AFL days. Even the officials and team media personnel were in period garb. Yet the cost of things at Invesco Field did not hearken back to the old days. In fact, they seemed to come from some futuristic, hopeless world in which hyper-inflation had spiraled out of control.
"I paid $9.25 for one beer," said Broncos fan Jack Whitelock. "My dad says you could get season tickets for the upper deck for that much back in 1960."
"Worst attempt at recreating history I have ever seen," said Broncos fan Roger Wiltmore. "Colonial Williamsburg kicks this game's ass. I don't recall Jay-Z being played during timeouts in 1960. Nor do I recall there being nachos in 1960. Nor do I recall paying $6.75 for said nachos. My granddaughter in third grade did a diorama of the signing of the Declaration of Independence that was more accurate than what I just saw."
While fans were disappointed at having to pay $62.50 for tickets to see a single game, in addition to $10 for parking "My entire monthly car payment was $10 back in 1960," said one enraged fan the players were also upset about their role in the festivities.
"This has to be the No. 1 priority in our next collective bargaining agreement," said wide receiver Brandon Marshall. "No more making us dress up like clowns so the NFL can make money off of it. We have to take pride in ourselves as a union. We have to take pride in ourselves as humans. We have to maintain our dignity."
Broncos linebacker Elvis Dumervil says that if the league is going to have throwback games, they should go all in.
"Let's play with the old-time rules, too," says Dumervil. "You should have seen how the refs were protecting Tom Brady like he's some delicate little flower. Nah. Let me punch him in the throat five seconds after he throws a pass. That's how they used to do it back in the day."
But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the throwback days are not created to make money on additional jersey revenue. He says they are designed to honor NFL players of the past and keep their memory alive.
"Bull crap," said 1960 Broncos lineman Eddie Holcutt. "I couldn't afford a ticket to get into the stadium. And then some guy outside was charging $125 for my own throwback jersey. My own jersey! If Goodell was commissioner back in 1960, more than his hair would be red. We'd make sure his whole face was covered in blood."
AVOID: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos Many fantasy owners expect big things this year out of the former Georgia star. But just because Mike Shanahan and his running back-by-committee are gone in Denver does not mean the Broncos starting back is now going to rack up big numbers. Why? Because this year Denver is using a running-back-beside-Kyle-Orton approach, meaning opposing defenses have no reason not to put eight, no 11 men in the box. Knowshon, know last.