Icon over fan fa­vorite was never a ques­tion

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Poor Tim Te­bow, Alex Smith, Matt Has­sel­beck, Kevin Kolb and Matt Moore. Their teams cov­eted Pey­ton Man­ning and viewed him as an up­grade. How can those bruised egos over­come such emo­tional trauma, know­ing they were viewed as to­tally dis­pens­able? Please. Take Smith, for ex­am­ple. He led the San Fran­cisco 49ers to the NFC ti­tle game and re­port­edly was of­fered a $24 mil­lion con­tract. But that was be­fore the Nin­ers’ dal­liance with Man­ning. The con­tract re­mains on the ta­ble, but Smith is up­set at the per­ceived lack of loy­alty.

He should be grate­ful that coach Jim Har­baugh gave him one last shot at ca­reer re­sus­ci­ta­tion.

The Ari­zona Car­di­nals traded Pro Bowl cor­ner­back Do­minique Rodgers-cro­mar­tie and a sec­on­dround draft to ac­quire Kolb a mere eight months ago. The only rea­son Kolb re­mained on the ros­ter past 1 p.m. last Fri­day was Man­ning’s re­fusal to sign. Oth­er­wise, Kolb would’ve been dumped in­stead of re­ceiv­ing a $7 mil­lion ros­ter bonus.

I guess the money can soothe his feel­ings.

Has­sel­beck, a 14-year veteran, has been around long enough to un­der­stand the Ten­nessee Ti­tans’ failed push for Man­ning, one of the great­est quar­ter­backs ever. And the Mi­ami Dol­phins don’t have to ex­plain their pur­suit to Moore, a five-year pro who just com­pleted his first sea­son as a full-time starter . . . and now faces a chal­lenge from re­cently signed David Gar­rard.

As­sum­ing that Smith licks his wounds and comes to his senses, Te­bow is the only quar­ter­back whose im­me­di­ate fu­ture has been im­pacted (although the Jets’ Mark Sanchez signed a con­tract ex­ten­sion, pre­sum­ably af­ter Man­ning expressed no in­ter­est in New York).

But Te­bow’s im­me­di­ate fu­ture was murky way be­fore Man­ning signed with the Den­ver Bron­cos and doused Te­bow­man­ics with a bucket of cold water.

“I was hired to do the best I could to com­pete for a world cham­pi­onship,” Bron­cos ex­ec­u­tive John El­way said Tues­day at Man­ning’s news con­fer­ence. “That’s what I feel we’re do­ing. Tim Te­bow is a great kid. If I wanted some­one to marry my daugh­ter it’d be him. . . . But you have to take per­son­al­i­ties out of it. With­out a doubt, this is the best decision for

About five weeks ago, Mary­land women’s bas­ket­ball coach Brenda Frese called se­nior guard Kim Rodgers into her of­fice.

Rodgers, who ranks sev­enth in Mary­land his­tory in 3-point­ers made, av­er­aged more than 20 min­utes in her sopho­more and ju­nior sea­sons. But with young tal­ent such as ACC Player of the

the Den­ver Bron­cos at this time.” It shouldn’t even be a ques­tion. Only a hand­ful of teams wouldn’t swap their cur­rent QB for Man­ning, and the Bron­cos aren’t within Hail Mary dis­tance of mak­ing that list. But Te­bow’s le­gions of faith­ful fa­nat­ics don’t get it. All they know is that Den­ver made the play­offs with Te­bow and beat the mighty Pitts­burgh Steel­ers.

All El­way knows is that Te­bow’s un­ortho­dox style and in­abil­ity to run a pro-style of­fense made him a long shot as the long-term so­lu­tion.

Of course, Te­bow is dis­ap­pointed to lose his job, just like Smith would’ve been in San Fran­cisco or any­one else any­where. Even if truth serum made them ad­mit that the re­place­ment is bet­ter, they still would want the chance to play. That’s just hu­man na­ture.

As­sum­ing that the Bron­cos want the cir­cus out of town as soon as pos­si­ble, they’ll take what they can get for Te­bow. So he’ll get a chance to play else­where. But un­like Smith, Has­sel­beck, Kolb and Moore, he shouldn’t count on re­main­ing a full-time QB.

The Bron­cos dis­man­tled their of­fense for Te­bow, dumbed it down to max­i­mize his strengths and min­i­mize his weak­nesses. Un­for­tu­nately, the lat­ter shone through, any­way, as he com­pleted nine or fewer passes in five starts, in­clud­ing two games against Kansas City with a measly eight com­ple­tions com­bined.

Den­ver faced ex­tra­or­di­nary pres­sure to adapt and ad­just with Te­bow, hav­ing spent a first-round draft pick on him. But he’ll prob­a­bly cost his next team a fourth-round pick, if that high.

So whether it’s a red-zone pack­age or Wild­cat scheme, Te­bow should be pre­pared for a ma­jor ca­reer change.

For the other QBS that Man­ning nearly af­fected: at ease.


Bron­cos quar­ter­back Tim Te­bow started a craze known as “Te­bow­ing” when fans would copy his prayer­ful pose in mo­ments of cel­e­bra­tion.

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