Admit it, when Tim Tebow took a right-hook, punch-and-grab to his facemask in the fourth quarter and referee Ron Winters chose to ignore it, giving Pittsburgh a chance to win it all late in the fourth, you figured it was just another postseason case of the NFL officials hooking up the storied franchise.
Winters' crew was making a habit of hooking up the Steelers in their comeback from a 20-6 halftime deficit at Mile High yesterday — see the fumble-called-incomplete pass in the third to Mike Wallace for further proof.
But in this thriller, "Jesus" would have nothing of pompous Pittsburgh. Tebow simply tore the down that Curtain, a la Christ in the Temple circa 30 A.D. He willed his football team, once doomed at 1-4 with Kyle Orton behind center, into next Saturday night's AFC semifinal at Foxboro against the top-seeded New England Patriots.
Those of you out there who love to flood my email when I pick the Jets to make the Super Bowl (September) and cackle at my ridiculous 8-8 mark in picking Pats' games, remember who told you back first in November and again in mid-December that Tebow and the Broncos would figure in a Pats playoff run.
And you had better believe that Tebow's Broncos, two TD underdogs as things opened up in Vegas late last night, present a serious threat to your playoff hopes.
Tebow's performance yesterday against the great, Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu, could be branded a "Mile High Masterpiece."
The meeting of those minds was a first-round KO.
He hit 10 of 21 passes for 316 yards and a pair of TDs, including the overtime, 80-yard game-winner to Demaryius Thomas. For kicks, the second-year pro also ran for 50 yards and a score on 10 carries.
Honestly, the overtime heroics wouldn't have been necessary had Willis McGahee not coughed up the football late in the fourth with Denver in position for a clinching field goal.
But Tebow is no stranger to adversity. When Elvis Dumervil breathed life into the Broncos with a last-minute 11-yard, strip-sack of Ben Roethlisberger in regulation, Tebow went for the jugular and got it.
Clean, quick and lethal.
Now I can hear Steve Young and Phil Simms and Boomer Esiason and every other Tebow basher out there pointing to his 10 of 21, and how you can't win in this NFL era by hitting less than 50 percent of your passes.
I say, "why not?" and point to the 49ers' coaching legend Bill Walsh, who professed that the key QB stat was "yards per attempt."
Average seven-plus yards and attempt and you stand in prime real estate.
Tom Brady and Joe Montana each own 7.5 numbers. Greatness personified.
Yesterday, Tebow (6.8 for his career) torched the Steelers for over 15 yards per throw.
Sorry folks, but I told you we'd see him again.
I'm with Eli, Zak, Giants
Patriots fans, if there is a football team to root for if your team goes down, it is the New York Giants.
No, this is not a let's get Zak DeOssie a second ring rant — although that would be nice and he'd have a leg up on dear old dad, Steve.
If the Pats can't have a title, I back the Giants, just so Eli Manning gets his second ring before his big brother, the most overrated athlete ever to play professional sports — Peyton Manning.
You have to give Eli credit. He's shown guts this year. The guy makes plays in the Roethlisberger mode, hanging in the pocket while things disintegrate around him.
The David Tyree Super Bowl miracle proved that, and Eli has spent this season showing he gets it done. In the Giants' all-or-nothing season finale, Eli proved plenty, making plays with DeMarcus Ware hanging all over him.
Would big bro have done it? Sorry, I say no.
Poor Peyton. Once thought of the best quarterback of all time, by the time February rolls around he might not be considered the best QB in the family.
O'Brien much too good for Penn State
Can't help but weigh in on the Bill O'Brien hiring at Penn State.
I am just going to go on the record that if this is where Andover's O'Brien wants to be, I salute him. Perhaps he wants to be in the college game, and he's picked a gold mine at Penn State.
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio are fertile, fertile recruiting grounds. And he will kill it there. In addition, Joe Paterno has been an absolute dinosaur. Putting the old man's handling of the Sandusky mess aside, he's mismanaged his football dynasty into a mediocre middle-of-the-pack mess over the last couple decades. He's got one true bowl win in 15 years, the 2005 Orange Bowl.
Combine that with the Sandusky garbage, and it's clearly a job that is below OB, a job more suited for a shmoe like (ex-Pats defensive coordinator) Dean Pees, not a rising star like O'Brien.
That said, I have confidence that O'Brien will again put Penn State on the football map, where it hasn't been since the mid 90s or before.
I just wonder what he might have done in the big leagues, say in Tampa or in Jacksonville.