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Moto Moto, John Elway, and Tim Tebow: Alpha Male Behavior and the NFL

John Elway is the Hall of Fame quarterback who is taking over the Denver Broncos franchise this off-season as team president. Tim Tebow is the fan favorite, jersey seller extraordinaire, and controversial selection of the Josh McDaniel’s regime. Moto Moto is the male Hippopotamus who likes ‘em Big and Chunky in Madagascar 2. Wait . . . what does that have to do with anything?

We’ll get to that in a bit. The news has been flying fast and furious this week that Denver is checking out all the quarterbacks in the draft, and rumors have been persistent since Elway took over that he was not a big fan of Tim Tebow. Peter King made a reference back in early January that Elway was not a Tebow fan, which led to immediate denials that the Broncos would trade Tebow. The smoke has continued to come out of Mile High. John Clayton wrote yesterday morning that he’s “starting to think Elway might take a QB in the second round and call the Tebow selection a mistake.” His ESPN colleague and AFC West blogger Bill Williamson said, “He inherited Tebow. If Elway wants to call Tebow’s selection at No. 25 a mistake by former coach Josh McDaniels and move on, that’s reasonable. Elway is the boss. It’s his call.”

Elway has denied that their recent interest in visiting with the quarterback prospects who could go by the second round of the draft is a smokescreen. Quite frankly, unless he’s crazy like a fox, I don’t see how it is. I do not see much strategic benefit to leaking interest in all of these other quarterbacks if you are Denver. I’m not one that think quarterback prospects should be handled with kid gloves, but all of this–interviewing and scouting, and bring others in for visits, leaking rumors of not being on board with Tebow–seems like a lot of resources spent with little benefit if you are just wanting to feign interest so others will trade in front of you or trade with you.

Which brings us back to Moto Moto. Hippos are one of the species where a new alpha male engages in infanticide of the previous male’s offspring (lions and some primates also do this). The alpha male wants to procreate sooner, and doesn’t want the females wasting time and energy on someone else’s offspring, someone who has different genetic makeup than the new alpha male.

We are a highly evolved species, but I see this kind of behavior played out in a different way in the NFL when new general managers and decision makers take over in the NFL. I saw it here in Kansas City when Pioli/Haley took over two years ago, none as high profile as Tebow, when players were run off, whether it was because of scheme differences or personality differences. Sometimes, you are just not the new guy’s guy. It doesn’t always mean you are a worse choice than the person you are replaced with.

I get the feeling, with all this smoke over the last several months, we have some fire here, and that Tebow really is not Elway’s guy. Tebow was a controversial selection when the Broncos traded back up, and he was clearly the pick of the previous alpha male in Denver, Josh McDaniel. Elway wouldn’t have taken him there, and now, he doesn’t want to devote resources to somebody that is not his and does not play quarterback the way he wants it played.

In February, I talked about how the number of new coaches in the NFL increased demand for quarterbacks, and how I thought all the new coaches this year coupled with the lack of free agency would drive several into the first round. I think you can add the Broncos, who looked to be one that would stand pat with Orton and Tebow, to that demand. The most likely reason that I see for all these leaks, in fact, is because of the popularity of Tebow. I think it is a case of getting it out there, so by the time Elway selects his own offspring, the story won’t be a complete shock and a public relations nightmare with Broncos’ fans.

[photo via Getty]

 

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