The Tim Tebow experiment in Denver has quickly metamorphosed from intriguing to exciting to embarrassing.
His fleeting moment of success, well-timed two weeks ago at the end of a win over Miami, brought unfounded optimism to "Broncos Nation". Perhaps to Tebow himself.
Then a hide-your-eyes, 45-10 loss to the Lions extinguished any flicker of hope that Tebow belongs behind centre in the NFL.
Detroit unveiled the template for stopping the run-minded Tebow: stack the box, assign one defender to "spy" by focusing entirely on No 15 and dare him to pass.
Result: Since replacing Kyle Orton, Tebow has completed 46 per cent and suffered 13 sacks.
"He's got a long way to go as far as being a quarterback, but he's a hard worker," said Lions cornerback Chris Houston, voicing the obvious on two sides of Tebow.
John Fox, the Denver coach, with approval from the team president John Elway, made the right call in throwing Tebow into the fire. Neither was around when the Broncos overreached and picked him in the first round. This is no play-off team, so why not designate a trial evaluation period?
Frankly, it should be obvious by now. Being a hard worker, a leader and a high-character guy can carry a player only so far. In the contemporary NFL, delivering the ball to a receiver trumps all.
Fox offered a tepid endorsement of Tebow, saying he will remain the starter, adding that "we've got to see if he can improve".
This experiment cannot end soon enough.