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Bears could learn from Tim Tebow, plus 10 more NFL observations

Tim Tebow’s heroics Broncos’ upset Steelers will no doubt re-ignite another week Tebow anxiety America.

Tim Tebow’s heroics in the Broncos’ upset of the Steelers will no doubt re-ignite another week of Tebow anxiety in America.

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Updated: January 9, 2012 5:52PM

Tim Tebow’s heroics in the Broncos’ upset of the Steelers will no doubt re-ignite another week of Tebow anxiety in America. But outside of the debate over Tebow’s value as a quarterback and whether his overt expressions of faith are annoying or inspiring lies a lesson for the Bears and their next general manager.

If you strip away the myth from the man, Tebow has one quality that nobody can deny: the kid is a winner. Regardless of how long he lasts as an NFL starting quarterback, Tebow has a quality that the Bears ignored for too long under Jerry Angelo. He has a knack for winning.

That Tebow isn’t a particularly skilled passer only enhances that quality. It’s not a coincidence that he can’t hit the broad side of a barn for three quarters and then suddenly becomes a marksman when the game is on the line. Against the Steelers, you or I could have thrown a better pass than Tebow’s incompletion near the end of regulation. But his pinpoint pass to Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard touchdown to win the game is a throw few people in the world can make — and even fewer can make in overtime of an NFL playoff game.

That’s an intangible Angelo never seemed to have an appreciation for. None of he Bears quarterbacks were big winners in college. In fact, all four quarterbacks on the Bears’ roster this season had losing records as Division-I starters: Jay Cutler (11-34), Caleb Hanie (9-20), Josh McCown (9-15) and Nathan Enderle (17-28). Among them, they had four victories over winning Division-I teams.

You can argue that all four had the misfortune of being on struggling teams. But you can also argue that the sign of a good quarterback is someone who can lift a team out of the muck. Cal was 1-10 the year Aaron Rodgers graduated high school. The Bears were 10-2 with Rodgers in 2004. Miami (Ohio) was 6-5 when Ben Roethlisberger was a freshman. The RedHawks were 13-1 with Roethlisberger three years later. How is that the Bears always got the guys who were always stuck with a bad team?

A lot of talent evaluators can look at Jay Cutler’s arm and peg him as an NFL quarterback. It takes more than that to pick a winner. When Ron Wolf was the general manager of the Packers, he acquired Brett Favre from the Falcons not only because he was enamored with Favre’s superior arm strength, but because, as he once told me, ‘‘When he walked on the field, he tilted the field in your favor.’’

The Bears need a general manager with that sixth sense. It remains to be seen whether they even know that’s what they need most. And now, 10 other observations from wild-card weekend:

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