A singular man will go up against an entire NFL team all on his own come Sunday.
At least that’s what you would think was happening if you listen to most coverage of the Steelers v Broncos AFC Wild Card game.
It’s not terribly surprising, given the national obsession with all things Tebow. But it’s a little distasteful to disregard the efforts of the entire Broncos team to focus only on how the Tebow Tale of the 2011 season will continue. Or end.
You know it’s bad when the coverage is so obsessive that even Big Ben says it’s a bit much. USA Today reported that the Steelers QB said
“Every time you turn it on, you see something about Tebow. I can only imagine what it’s like for his teammates. Just watching today, it’s the Steelers versus Tim Tebow. No, it’s the Steelers versus the Broncos, so I can only imagine what it’s like for him with all the eyes and the attention on him and the pressure. It can’t be fun. I feel for him a little bit.”
Feel for him, feel annoyed by him…take your pick.
Denver has some advantages heading into their Wildcard matchup. Home field advantage. Significantly fewer injuries than the Steelers. But it will all be with a young quarterback at the helm who struggles with his passing game.
In theory, Pittsburgh should be the hands-down favorite. A team that’s won multiple Super Bowls and finished #2 last year. Though Roethlisberger has proven that he can and will battle through injuries that would sideline every other person on the globe, how long can he keep pushing himself on his sprained left ankle and how much will it affect his play? Safety Ryan Clark won’t play due to his sickle cell anemia and how Denver’s altitude negatively affects his health. Center Maurkice Pouncey is out. RB Rashard Mendenhall is done for the season because of his knee, leaving Pittsburgh’s running game in the hands of Isaac Redman.
Who will ultimately triumph on Sunday, Tebow or…whoever that less appealing quarterback on that less exciting team his playing? Will the health issues of the Steelers prove to be too much for the team to overcome, despite more recent experience and success in the playoffs?
It’s worth noting that Big Ben is 10-3 in the playoffs and has never lost a road game. And I just can’t imagine him starting now, even if he has to crawl in the final minutes of the game. If there’s one thing we know about Ben Roethlisberger, it’s that he just doesn’t stop. Ahem.
Tune in for what may be your last chance to see Tim Tebow in action in the 2011 season on Sunday at 4:30 EST pm on CBS to find out if this is how the story ends or if it’s just the beginning for the Tebows–err, Broncos in the playoffs.
For expert insight into tomorrow’s game, check out Denver Horse Force’s game preview.