Marion Barber is maybe my second-favorite NFL player ever. Trails only Amani Toomer, the old regal Giant receiver.
Love Marion Barber. Love the way he runs. Love the way he plays.
On the two carries that will define his career, Barber had a clear mission: Carry 1) Don't fumble or run out of bounds; and Carry 2) Don't fumble.
So what did Barber do Sunday? He ran out of bounds on the first, fumbled on the second.
Maybe it wasn't Barber's fault. Maybe Barber was powerless to stop providential forces. Maybe God really is watching out for Tim Tebow.
Maybe Jehovah Jireh is taking an interest in the National Football League. Maybe the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is watching out for the team of Elway, Fox and Miller. Maybe God cares if the Denver Broncos win on Sunday.
“He doesn't,” said a sharp gal in the office with a degree from Azusa Pacific, an evangelical Christian university in California.
But what if He does?
OK. But what if He does?
Probably so. But what if He does?
I mean, didn't all the Florida writers at the Big Bowl three years ago try to tell us? Didn't they wave palm branches at Tebow like he was wearing the shroud of Turin?
We thought they were goofy. But what if they were right? I'm as skeptical as the next guy, but I don't argue with my own eyeballs.
What if this Bronco season has shifted scripts? Gone from “Major League,” with management trying to lose games, to “Angels in the Outfield,” with somebody upstairs calling the shots?
I mean, how else to explain the Bears' Marion Barber running out of bounds?
Couldn't the God that rained brimstone on Gomorrah make Christian Ponder throw an interception in the final 90 seconds? Couldn't the God that flooded the Earth make the Chargers' Nick Novak miss a field goal? Couldn't the God that made the sun stand still cause Jetropolitan safety Eric Smith to be outflanked by a 250-pound quarterback?
What? You think some Buffalo Wild Wings bartender is orchestrating this run of Bronco victories?
Everybody is right. Tebow's detractors are right. Tebow's supporters are right.
The guy can't play NFL quarterback. Can't throw well enough; 2-of-8 passing against the Chiefs, 3-of-16 through three quarters against the Bears.
But miracles keep happening. Seriously. Miracles.
A veteran NFL tailback running out of bounds with the opponent out of timeouts and less than two minutes left on the clock? Manna from Heaven falls more frequently.
A quarterback who can't throw straight for 45 minutes, then goes 15-of-20 for 163 yards in the fourth quarter? That's parting the Red Sea.
Those things don't just happen in the NFL. At the core, the NFL is a quality control league. You do everything right, the other team does everything right, and two or three plays determines whether the final is 27-23 or 27-31.
Don't do things right, play with a quarterback who can't pass, and you get beat 49-3.
Then along comes this golden child adored by certain masses, and to shut up the crowd, he's put in the game so he'll fail. His own coach doesn't believe in him. Neither does his own vice president.
Now John Fox and John Elway are headed to the playoffs. The Denvers have won six straight; they're 7-1 with Tebow starting, 8-5 overall.
The Bronco defense is the reason, some say, not explaining why this same Denver defense didn't produce victory with Kyle Orton quarterbacking.
I don't know. Don't claim to know why Tim Tebow, as bad of a quarterback as you can find, turns into Elway in the fourth quarter, week after week after week.
Did Marion Barber run out of bounds because of angels on Tebow's shoulder? You won't get me to say yes. But you won't get me to say no.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.