John Russell's sports column appears Sundays in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com.
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Steamboat Springs So what’s better?
Is it better to drink Coke or Pepsi? Do you want your beer to taste great or be less filling? Or maybe you have to decide if a day on the mountain is better spent skiing or snowboarding.
These are the type of questions that tend to keep us, or maybe just me, up at night.
Truth is, there isn’t really a right answer, but that hasn’t stopped these topics from causing more than a few uncomfortable family dinners and a few bar-room brawls.
But this year in Colorado, people are not taking sides when it comes to their favorite beverage. They could care less if it’s less filling, and any day on the mountain is a good one, whether you ski or ride.
The question that should be on everyone’s mind is who is more popular, Hall of Famer John Elway or newcomer Tim Tebow?
On one side, Elway led the Broncos to six AFC championship games and won two Super Bowl Championships during his legendary career. His style and determination made him the most popular quarterback in Broncos history — at least until Tebow.
Elway’s impact can be summed up in Denver’s win against Cleveland in the 1986 AFC Championship, when he drove Denver 98 yards in the final minutes of the contest to tie the game. The Broncos went on to win in overtime, and the feat has become known as “The Drive.”
While Tebow has yet to lead the Broncos to the playoffs, let alone the AFC Championship, you can’t help but notice the heart-stopping similarities between him and Elway.
Tebow has six game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, including last week’s 13-10 win against the Chicago Bears.
I understand that Tebow is riding a wave of popularity after going 7-1 since he was named the Broncos’ starter, but who knows how long that popularity will last?
It might take a hit this week when the Broncos face Tom Brady and the Patriots, but a win could put him on a different level.
I’m not saying he’s as talented as Elway, who always seemed to be poised for greatness. But time had been kind to Elway, and the success at the end of his career tends to cloud the frustration of his first few years in a Broncos uniform. We forget that one of the greatest quarterbacks in the game once lined up under his guard, and we forget the Super Bowl disappointments in 1986 (when the Broncos lost to New York, 39-20), in 1987 (when the Broncos lost to Washington, 42-10) and in 1989 (when the Broncos lost to San Francisco, 55-10).
Let’s face it: Elway was one of those special players who only comes along once in a great while. He had a great arm, the ability to sense (and avoid) trouble and the knack for turning a loss into a win.
It’s way too early to say whether Tebow is going to rise to the level of Elway, but like every other diehard Broncos fan, I’m hopeful.
Now, I just have to figure out whether I should enjoy the game with an ice-cold Coke or an ice-cold Pepsi.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com