Is Tim Tebow about to become the Jets' face of the franchise?
After the Denver Broncos went out and signed future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning to a five-year contract worth $96 million, they had to figure out what to do with incumbent quarterback Tim Tebow, who became one of the nation's most popular sports sensations in just his second season in the NFL.
Tebow led the Broncos in 2011 to an AFC West division title and even won his first-ever postseason game against the powerhouse Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round before losing to the AFC champion New England Patriots in the divisional round.
Not only did Tebow become a team leader throughout the season once he officially became the starting quarterback, he became a national headline with virtually everything he did.
A lot of this had to do with the fact that Tebow is considered a better runner than passer, which of course is unusual for a quarterback. Another factor is the fact that Tebow is very religious and goes about his business in a very unique way.
In fact, Tebow's signature kneeling, which he has done multiple times in each game has become a national phenomenon that many people have since started doing as well. It got famous enough for the television show South Park to even make a parody out of it in their current season.
Once the Manning signing became official, Tebow was immediately put on the trade block. There was speculation that the Jacksonville Jaguars and St. Louis Rams were both interested in Tebow, but Tebow was ultimately traded to the New York Jets for the Jets' fourth- and sixth-round draft picks in the 2012 NFL draft.
Being that the Jets already have a young and established quarterback in Mark Sanchez, the Tebow trade immediately brought up many discussions about whether Sanchez's time was going to come to an end with the Jets, especially because Sanchez had just signed a three-year contract extension worth over $20 million.
Tebow will be used as a hybrid back that could fill in at running back, fullback and as a "Wildcat" quarterback that will take the snap and run the ball on those plays.
Basically, now that the Jets have both Sanchez and Tebow, this will bring the Jets even more media problems than they already have. The Jets already have an attention-craving head coach in Rex Ryan, plus one of the league's most outspoken linebackers in Bart Scott and cornerback Darrelle Revis, who always seems to hold out and ask for more money each year.
Wide receiver Santonio Holmes and his relations with Sanchez also became quite public because of their inconsistent ability to play well together.
Not just the Denver sports media, but the entire American sports media was all over Tebow last season because of the remarkable wins he delivered for the Broncos, in addition to the "Tebowing" phenomenon that got national attention. Tebow had always been a popular player ever since he was the quarterback for the Florida Gators, with whom he won two national championships.
With Tebow as popular as he was in Denver, the media attention he will get now is going to completely skyrocket being that he is in the New York City area, which is by far the largest sports media market in the world.
Jets beat writers and bloggers will follow Tebow's every move, and until it happens, the speculation of when Tebow will replace Sanchez as the starting quarterback will keep building up more and more. This may sound interesting, but many people in the Jets organization will get tired of hearing about it very soon.
The fact that Tebow's initial press conference as the new backup quarterback of the Jets required a separate venue for all the media coverage is enough to show how much the media will be all over him in New York.
This move is very likely to take a toll on many members of the Jets, including Tebow himself. No matter what he says to the cameras, Tebow will be under an unbelievable amount of pressure to perform very well for the Jets.
Not just that, but the fact that he will not begin the season as the starting quarterback may be hard for him to deal with. He can say all he wants about how much of a team player is, and although he honestly is a team player, this new role may get boring for him right away.
In the event that Tebow does become the starting quarterback, he will be under at least 10 times more pressure to perform well in New York compared to Denver. The Jets have not won a Super Bowl since 1969 and their fans are desperate for a title right now. If Tebow ends up being the one that leads the Jets to the promised land, he will need to consistently perform even better than he did with the Broncos.
The Tebow trade will affect Sanchez mentally as well. Sanchez has been the Jets' starting quarterback for the past three seasons, which have included two trips to the AFC championship game, plus a disappointing 2011 season.
After getting his three-year extension, he then sees his team acquire another quarterback, which probably annoyed the heck out of him. Despite him saying that he will enjoy working with Tebow, Sanchez must see that the Jets are really starting to doubt him.
Will Tim Tebow become the Jets' starting quarterback in 2012?
He will be under a lot more pressure than ever before, thanks to Tebow's presence. As a result, he will need to have his best season ever in order for the Jets and their fans to keep believing in him.
Head coach Rex Ryan and his coaching staff will have their own issues to deal with as far as this matter goes. Every time Ryan has a press conference, he will be asked repeatedly about his two quarterbacks, and particularly, which of the two will be playing more.
As if Ryan's job as the Jets' head coach wasn't stressful enough, the Tebow acquisition will only add to it. Ryan has become well known for talking a lot about how successful the Jets will be, but with last year's disappointing finish, his job might be on the line if the Jets do not make the postseason in the 2012 season.
General manager Mike Tannenbaum and owner Woody Johnson are under more pressure now too. Tannenbaum was the one that did the work in order to get Tebow to the Jets, so the way that this trade turns out for the Jets could have a significant impact on Tannenbaum and the job he has done for the Jets.
Even other members of the Jets' offense could be affected negatively by this trade. The offensive line, and especially center Nick Mangold, will have to get used to blocking for both Sanchez and Tebow. Being that Tebow throws the football left-handed, Mangold will have to position his snaps differently as well, and it may take some time before Mangold gets used to snapping for both without making mental mistakes.
Finally, the Jets' wide receivers will now be given added work because they will have to practice running routes for both quarterbacks and it could be a lot for them to remember. Relationships between all these players will be critical as well because some receivers may prefer running routes for Sanchez, while others could be more comfortable with Tebow.
Furthermore, Holmes, for one, will likely get grilled with questions from the media about which quarterback he likes playing with more, for example. It will be something that these players would rather not have to deal with, but because Tebow is who he is, it will happen no matter what.
All in all, the Tebow media circus will instantly become a nightmare for the Jets. The Jets have recently craved attention, but this kind of attention will be too much for them to handle, to the point that it could definitely affect their on-field play negatively.
A lot of egos and attitudes are likely to get in the way and this should not be the direction that the Jets want to go in, particularly in light of their team chemistry issues in 2011. The Tebow acquisition itself could be a high risk or a high reward. In other words, the Jets could really pay off from this trade, or it could provide even more unneeded problems.
Not everyone will come out happy from this, so it will be very fascinating to see how the 2012 season unfolds for the Jets. The only people that are guaranteed to be happy are the members of the media because they will never run out of stories to write, regarding the Jets and Tim Tebow.