Tim Tebow: World's Most Famous Back-Up?

Brendan O'HareContributor IMarch 23, 2012

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17:  Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets and quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos meet at midfield after the Broncos defeated the Jets 17-13 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 17, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Tim Tebow scored the game winning touchdown with 58 seconds remaining in the game.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Tim Tebow is now a New York Jet and will now be the most important back-up quarterback in the National Football League. Whether or not that is because of his play is irrelevant, as it is more about the influence and impact Tebow will have as a second-stringer, something seldom seen before. When's the last time a third-year playoff quarterback, who won a playoff game in the previous season, was traded for minimal collateral for the right to be a back-up.

Tebow will have more posts written about him, more words spoken and more middle fingers thrown up in his direction than any back-up player in NFL history.

It's truly an odd situation for everybody on the Jets. Was any attention paid to Mark Brunell last season, other than when Mark Sanchez wiped a booger on his jacket? The newspapers in New York will sound Tebow's arrival with trumpets and air horns, and search and search until they find any sort of resemblance toward a "quarterback controversy." This won't be a normal quarterback battle royal, it will be one that will be compared to Satan vs. God an umpteen number of times.

That's right. A "battle" to see who can make the Jets make it to the second round of the playoffs in spite of them will endlessly be compared to religion's greatest conflict. I mean, this isn't new for Tim Tebow, who had billboards and such begging for his chance at "starterdom" in Denver. It will just be different since it is New York. It will be ridiculous, and no back-up in the NFL will have more attention paid to him. 

The ratio between ability and media-produced persona is obviously too large for who Tebow is. Last season was an excuse for ESPN, and whomever else, to "showcase" whatever marginal abilities Tebow had, and exploit that with religious allegories and aggrandizement of character and talent. It was insane, and it will only get more absurd as Tebow's tenure in New York progresses. 

It will be interesting to hear what Tebow has to say about being a back-up. It definitely has to be an awkward position for both Tebow and Sanchez, as both have recently brought their teams somewhat deep into the playoffs.

Are they the most talented 1-2 duo in the NFL? I mean, if Sanchez is a 75 as a quarterback, and Tebow is a 65, they are pretty much higher than everybody else. It's weird to say, but it's true. The problem is, both players are so extraordinarily mediocre it doesn't make that big a difference for the team who starts. No matter what, the Jets will play games in spite of whoever is quarterback.

For now, Tebow is America's most famous background player. Whether the season ends that way remains to be seen.