Paige: Tim Tebow could return to Denver to play in a new pro league

By Woody Paige
The Denver Post

Posted:   02/23/2014 12:01:00 AM MST | Updated:   about 7 hours ago

Tim Tebow’s popularity with Colorado sports fans would be a major selling point in Tebow playing for a Denver team in a new spring league.

Tim Tebow’s popularity with Colorado sports fans would be a major selling point in Tebow playing for a Denver team in a new spring league. (John Lebya, Denver Post file)

A second coming of Tim Tebow in Denver?


The possibility of the Mile High Messiah returning to play quarterback for Denver is mind-boggling, but not as far-fetched as it may seem.

A new spring, outdoor professional football league has been created and financed. Tebow’s reps have been approached about the former Broncos QB playing in the league, and a franchise most likely will be awarded soon to Denver. ESPN, which now employs The Big Tebowski, will televise league games.

The A-11 Football League is officially open for business and has scheduled its inaugural championship game for July Fourth weekend in 2015.

First, though, the A11FL will stage two “showcase” exhibitions this May and June at Raymond James Stadium and the Cotton Bowl between the Tampa Bay Bandits and the Dallas Wranglers. The league announced four other franchises — the New Jersey Generals, the Chicago Staggs, the LA Express and the Bay Area Sea Lions. A11FL teams will play 14 regular-season games from March-June in 2015, and five will advance to the postseason.

So, what does all the rigmarole have to do with Denver?

“We will have eight teams next year,” A11FL commissioner Scott McKibben told me by phone Saturday afternoon from San Francisco. He acknowledged publicly for the first time: “Today, the leading candidates for the remaining two franchises are the Denver Gold and the (Detroit) Michigan Panthers. Obviously, we know of the popularity and history of pro football in Denver.”

Are you ready for some more football, Denver?

Lest you forgot, Denver fielded teams in four other upstart pro football leagues.

Earlier versions of the Generals, the Express and the Bandits were in the original spring league — the USFL — with the Denver Gold and the Michigan Panthers from 1983-85.

Playing at Mile High Stadium, the Gold led the league in home attendance (averaging 41,735) the first season. Two years later, the USFL, urged on by Generals owner Donald Trump, voted to switch to a fall season. Instead, the USFL would fall.

The Denver Dynamite was a founding force in the Arena Football League in 1987, attracting league-high crowds exceeding 12,000 and winning the first ArenaBowl. The team filed for bankruptcy in 1991. Denver returned to the Arena League in 2002 with the Colorado Crush and John Elway as the primary owner and Pat Bowlen and Stan Kroenke as minority partners. The Crush played before capacity crowds at The Can and won ArenaBowl XIX before the league dissolved in 2009. It returned a year later without Denver.

And the Broncos began life in 1960 in the American Football League.

The A11FL should be taken seriously, even if the USFL, the WFL, the XFL and the UFL failed. The A11FL’s plan, McKibben said, is to complement, not compete with, the NFL.

“We’re not making mistakes other leagues did. We always will be a spring league,” the former newspaper publisher and Rose Bowl executive director said. “We’re an aspiration league. There are hundreds of quality players who aspire to play in the NFL, and we’ll provide them with a chance to prove themselves. We’ll be playing in major population and media markets in NFL stadiums, and we have the No. 1 sports network partner in ESPN.”

What is A-11? Unlike the NFL, there will be no numbering system. “All 11 offensive players will be eligible to receive the ball, depending on where they line up,” McKibben said. “Our offenses will be up-tempo, like Chip Kelly’s (in Philadelphia) and the Broncos.”

The system would appear to be ideal for Tebow. “We would love to have Tim Tebow join our league. We have talked with his lawyer, and his agent, and we have made an offer,” which includes a piece of team ownership.

Although he was hired by ESPN to be an analyst on the new SEC Network, Tebow has an out clause if he signs with an NFL team. The spring league wouldn’t interfere with his TV job, and the A11FL hopes Tebow will play in its kickoff games this spring. ESPN has committed to televise both games and a weekly game next year.

McKibben wouldn’t speculate about Tebow returning to Denver, but offered: “Two groups from Denver are interested in investing (the league will sell 49 percent of ownership and retain 51 percent), and I’ve had positive conversations with (Broncos president) Joe Ellis about playing in the stadium.”

Tebow’s, uh, resurrection with a football team in Denver certainly would be, uh, entertaining and controversial and bring out the Tebowlicious fanatics and his detractor trailers.

What will Timmy do?

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13 Responses to “Paige: Tim Tebow could return to Denver to play in a new pro league”

  1. andrea says:

    Been reading the comments on this article in the Denver Post. The letter writers have no class.

    In my opinion they deserve Elway and Manning.

    A truly pathetic performance in the Super Bowl by Peyton Manning and these dumb Denver Broncos fans actually have the unmitigated gall to think they will ever win the Super Bowl?

    Now that the Seahawks have figured Peyton Manning’s act – the Broncos will be lucky to get 8 wins next year.

    • ck says:

      Andrea: He might be the mile high you know what “best chance to win” and agree that they will be lucky if they win the 8 games b/c he is a relic since they have figured him out!!! Great post too…agree 100%!

  2. Sage says:

    Woody Paige used to be an outspoken Tebow supporter, but he has to brown-nose Elway in order to maintain access for the denver post. That, by the way, is a paper I no longer click.

    Elway is far more manipulative than most people would guess. Likely, the Super Bowl slaughter is as far as the donkeys will go under Smelway as GM.

    Taking Manning was a good option for Smelway, but once this high-percentage play is over, what. Brock Osweiler? Humorously, Smelway drafted Osweiler before the Seahawks took Russel Wilson.

    • ck says:

      Sage: Like the fact that the Great “Smelway” could not pick Wilson who was obviously a better choice since he won the Super Bowl w/T2’s playing edge!!
      Did you notice that Papa John’s no longer features PM on the pizza ads?!
      Guess he lost that endorsement and a few others…looks like his actions are catching up to him for what was done to T2!!! Great post btw.

  3. steftebowfan says:

    I am willing to buy tickets and watch Tebow no other matter the league! Exciting ball is played everyday in America and it doesn’t have to be NFL , NBA Or MLS. I am seeing awesome players and games in high school and college that wow me completely. There are a lot of great players out there to play on a quality league, A lot of “undiscovered” players that are even better than the big leagues have. Its just a matter of opportunity. I watch American Idol and The Voice and watch singers far more talented than the over paid stars we think are great. Many great actors are working off Broadway. The NFL does not have the only talented players in the world. They just have the ones that have been able to get on front of their face. I love watching AAA baseball. You get to be so close and feel more connected to the teams. So I think A11 can and will be great. Go for it Tebow! The NFL is just a façade.

    • ck says:

      steftebowfan: Right about that…will follow T2 no matter and correct about the NFL as a “FACADE” AND I MIGHT ADD, PSEUDO FANS!!!

  4. Brandi says:

    Woody doesn’t mention in this article…he might not know…but if Tim does sign with A11FL, he’ll be Playing for the Tampa Bay Bandits. The League has a Pre-Draft draft round that is Regional. Teams get first crack at Players from their Region.

    • andrea says:

      Wait a minute Brandi – are you telling me that sportswriters write things of which they no nothing about?

      I’m SHOCKED !!!! I’m SHOCKED !!!!

      Casablanca 1943.

      • Brandi says:

        What I’ve found most interesting is how many other Media Outlets have done their own stories from Woody’s and the Denver Post and, so far, I’ve bot found even one that mentions that Tim would be in Tampa Bay if he signs. Even though, the A11FL has talked about that alot, made a big deal that he would be with the Bandits, used it in their marketing promos, etc.

        Everyone just copies off each others’ incorrect slip notes.

      • ck says:

        Andrea: Classic…”Here’s looking at you, kid!” Have to agree on that!:)
        Great post too!

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