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Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow: Is there really much of a difference?

September 10, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • Tim Tebow, left, beat the Steelers in impressive fashion during one of his last games with the Broncos; Peyton Manning did the same in his Denver debut Sunday night.
Tim Tebow, left, beat the Steelers in impressive fashion during one of his… (CJ Gunther / EPA; Doug Pensinger…)

Peyton Manning came back after a year off Sunday night and put up some big numbers to lead the Denver Broncos past the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night at Mile High Stadium.

Big deal. This is what the Broncos gave up the great Tim Tebow for, just another home win over the Steelers?

Bor-ing.

Tebow did the same thing last season -- and in the playoffs, no less, when no one was expecting it.

Everybody knew Manning would come right out after rehabbing from four neck surgeries and pick up right where he left off (except maybe the Indianapolis Colts, who dropped him in favor of the so-called next Peyton, a.k.a. Andrew Luck. How did that work out for them in Week 1?).

Both Tebow and Manning hooked up with receiver Demaryius Thomas for a big catch-and-run that resulted in a touchdown against the Steelers, Tebow's for 80 yards, Manning's a mere 71 yards.

So Manning's was his first-ever for the Broncos and the 400th of his career -- does any of that really match the drama of Tebow's toss on the first play of overtime to seal an unlikely playoff victory?

Let's look at the Broncos quarterbacks' stats in those two games against the Steelers. Tebow completed 10 out of 21 passes for 316 yards, two touchdown passes (and another one on the ground) and a 125.6 quarterback rating; Manning was 19 for 26 with 253 yards, two touchdowns (none on the ground) and a 129.2 rating.

So basically Denver gave up a net total of 63 passing yards and a rushing touchdown for a mere 3.6 increase in passer rating and yet another home victory over the Steelers? That's what all the hype we football fans had to endure throughout the off-season was all about?

Let's see Manning do something really impressive, like play poorly most of the game and then rally the Broncos to a seemingly miraculous victory, as Tebow did week after week last season.

Or maybe recover an onside kick attempt, like Tebow did in his New York debut on Sunday (pretty much his only highlight but only because starting quarterback Mark Sanchez hogged the spotlight in the Jets' 48-28 victory over the Buffalo Bills).

I bet executive vice president John Elway, Coach John Fox and the rest of the Broncos organization are feeling pretty silly right about now.

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