When the New York Jets, widely thought of as the league’s most dysfunctional team, traded for Denver quarterback Tim Tebow, my first reaction was to do a double-take and make sure it wasn’t just a silly rumor, one of the many that float every year through the free agency.
But no, it was true.
My second reaction was something along the lines of this: “Boy, they just do not get it in New York!”
Anyone who’s read my articles in some depth knows that I’m not a huge fan of Tim Tebow. I find "Tebowmania" nauseating and senseless. He’s a wonderful person. He’s the kind of guy you’d want as a best friend. He just isn’t the kind of guy I’d be putting under center for a professional football team with Super Bowl aspirations.
And you know Rex Ryan is planning his Super Bowl victory parade for next February already.
Tim Tebow in a Jets uniform, on the New York sideline, under center for Tony Sparano’s new offense makes absolutely no sense at all.
There’s the little matter of Mark Sanchez, the incumbent starter, who now is either competing with Tebow for the starting job, or playing second fiddle to his mania in a city that does everything big. Sanchez seems likely to remain the starter for now, but his job security isn’t something I’d invest in.
But wait. The Jets just extended Mark Sanchez’s contract. And they paid all of that compensation to Tebow. Do I smell someone trying to be Daniel Snyder? I think I might.
Let’s set that aside for a minute. What about Tebow on offense?
The Jets have had notoriously shaky quarterback play, so much so that the fans have soured on the “Sanchise” and ran former coordinator Brian Schottenheimer out of town.
Sanchez isn’t Joe Namath. I’m not even sure he’s Ken O’Brien. But he is better than Tebow. Look at the passing numbers if you don’t believe me. Take out the playoff performance against the Steelers and you have very, very mediocre passing numbers for Tebow.
And if you tell me Tebow is a winner, I’ll raise you Mark Sanchez’s back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances.
Here’s another reason that none of this makes sense: Tebow doesn’t fit into the whole New York psyche. I’m not selling any New Yorker short. They’re some of the best fans in the world and they know a lot about their teams, but they are not the type who will buy into "Tebowmania" for long. They are results-driven people. "Tebowmania" is a fad, not something that will deliver a Super Bowl to the long-starved Jets.
Sure, the Jets didn’t give up a king’s ransom for the guy. That was good at least. The problem is that they gave up plenty for someone who just doesn’t do much for them.
At best, Tebow will spend 2012 as a starter for the Jets who’s every bit as mediocre and unexciting as the player he’s replacing. At worst, he’ll be a full-time backup making good money, or a part-time gimmick player.
The problem with Tebow running the Wildcat in New York is that it will be blatantly obvious when it’s going to happen. Sanchez trotting off and Tebow trotting on will be like a neon, flashing sign to signal it. Bringing Tebow in at all means that the play will most likely go to him. The Wildcat doesn’t do much to disguise anything and if Tebow isn’t starting, it’s going to be plainly obvious what he’s doing when he comes in. He has a specific skill set.
Unfortunately, playoff appearance or not last season, that doesn’t seem to include full-time starting quarterback.
What I don’t get at all is why Tebow wouldn’t want to go back to Florida. Lower expectations, friendly faces—it all makes sense. But he is going to the big city now. It could and will make or break his whole career.