tim tebow throws an errant pass on third down near the end of regulation. it’s a simple crossing route. his receiver is uncontested. it’s the kind of blunder that usually costs you the game. it leaves the opposing pittsburgh steelers with just over 1:30 on the clock. a field goal and they win. keep in mind that this is late in the fourth quarter, on the same stage on which team owner john elway once stamped his ticket for the hall of fame. as fate would have it, the steelers squander their opportunity. whether it’s divine intervention or not, i don’t know. the game heads into overtime.

on his next play, given the same type of throw — tebow connects. to live and die by the sword.

more than 1 million mentions on twitter. the rate of tweets announcing the victory hit 9,420 per second. beats the 8,868 tweets-per-second rate reached when beyoncé announced her pregnancy.

forget disney world. forget what people are saying on social media and around the cooler at work. tebow earns a $250,000 bonus for this playoff win. it’s quite the story of forgiveness, second chances and redemption. can you imagine what would have happened if this game ended instead with a interception for a touchdown, and with the steelers victorious? i know, not possible with god on tebow’s side. still, what a holy war these broncos are waging.

look at what the team’s on-field leadership believes…

“football is an aggressive game, a combative game,” broncos coach john fox said. “you can’t play it careful. you can’t play it hesitant. you’ve got to pull the trigger.”

let me state here that i’m no tim tebow fan. i certainly won’t give him singular credit for what’s going on in denver these days. what’s most interesting is the alignment of strategic planning, branding and tactical execution — from iconic owner, to rookie coach who’s adapted the plan to account for his quarterback’s talents and shortcomings, to a number of players peaking at the right time (tim tebow, willis mcgahee, demaryius thomas, elvis dumervil, von miller, and others). not to mention, these rabid fans actually produced an orange version of their opponent’s famed “terrible towel” for this game. you’re dissing the legendary steelers, winners of a record six super bowls. that’s pushing your chips all the way in.

fan or no fan — and i’m an oakland raiders fan in football — this has become something more than just sport. this is big business.

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