Tim Tebow Mailbag: Jets vs. Patriots and Other Week 7 Storylines

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Tim Tebow Mailbag: Jets vs. Patriots and Other Week 7 Storylines
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There were several stories pertaining to New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow in the past week, culminating in the 29-26 overtime thriller in New England, which the Jets ultimately lost.

There will doubtless be varying takes on the game, but one fact that is hard to dispute is Mark Sanchez outperformed almost everyone's expectations. This tweet from Bomani Jones sums it up best.

i get bagging on sanchez in the general case, but after that game? guess i'm crazy, cuz i thought he did pretty well.

— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) October 22, 2012

However, the quarterback controversy (to whatever extent it still exists) was not the only story that had my readers interested. Here are some messages I received throughout the week related to the most controversial punt protector in NFL history.

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

 

Hi, Adam. I have often wondered what would happen if some black Muslim football players, prior to the start of a football game, took their prayer rugs to the 50-yard line and started praying.

Not to mention Jews.

I am of the opinion, and it is just my opinion, that the NFL should step in and discourage making prayer into some kind of public spectacle prior to any football game.

I could be wrong, but I believe prayer was abolished in our public school system for basically the same reason. Tebow is a unique individual, like most “one way” Christians, who obviously feel that their religion needs to be at the forefront. What do you think?

I am going to attempt to keep this answer agnostic to all religions and political parties.

I believe that if a Muslim or Jewish player (same goes for any other minority religion) were to pray during an NFL game, it would be a scandal and the lead sports news story. I think that is obvious. America is still by-and-large and Christian nation, and football is America's game. It is the least international sport in this country.

However, the NFL would not have ground to stand on if they tried to discourage prayer. The NFL is a private organization—not a public school—and they need to tolerate the religious actions of their players. Taking any particular religious stance would damage ratings, to say the least.

To me, the more interesting side of this debate comes into play when you talk about the television networks. Players have always prayed in the NFL. It has only recently become an issue because of Tebow. And the reason for this is the massive television focus on his prayer.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Most NFL fans see primarily what is zoomed in on, highlighted and shown in replay. The decision made by major television networks to emphasize and praise players for in-game prayer is what makes this a strange subject.

If a Muslim player were to pray on the field—as you suggested—most likely television viewers would not even notice at first. However, later on when it would become the lead story on SportsCenter, it would become a national scandal.

I am not big on television censorship myself. However, television networks are semi-public and there is legal precedent for various forms of censorship, so a debate could at least happen on this subject. 

Most likely though, no action will happen on that front. The most that could happen is perhaps some fans will remember that a large portion of the NFL population does not consist of devout Christians and thus shift some of their attention away from Tebowing and toward more football-related stories.

 

Al Bello/Getty Images
Brad Smith engaged with former teammate Antonio Cromartie.

Adam, I'm not familiar with Brad Smith, Tebow seems so different from the norm. What areas or skills do you see in Tebow that remind you of Smith? Had he been a quarterback project too and converted to other positions?

Brad Smith is a name that should be discussed in every conversation about Tim Tebow. As a general rule of thumb, if someone is talking about Tebow and does not know about Brad Smith, that person is just ranting and does not have ground to stand on.

Brad Smith is the most similar person to Tebow that there has been in recent NFL history, and it is not a coincidence that he was also a Jet.

Smith was a prolific college quarterback for four years at Missouri who used his feet a lot. He started all four years in college and was the first quarterback to ever throw for 8,000 yards while also running for 4,000 yards.

Smith, however, was never viewed as an NFL quality quarterback. He fell to the Jets in the fourth round of the draft. In his five years with in New York, he threw only seven passes, completing four of them along with one touchdown.

Nevertheless, over those five years Smith missed only four games. He was used as a wide receiver, a running back and also on special teams. He took snaps at a pseudo-quarterback position, running the Seminole offense—a variant of the Wildcat—which was more successful than the contemporary versions of the Wildcat in the NFL.

The Jets—and the NFL—never considered Smith to be a real quarterback. Yet he was a local hero in New York and indisputably had a hand in several Jets wins over the years. Versatility has a lot of value in the NFL. When the Tebow trade happened, there was (and still is) a large contingent of Jets fans hoping that the Jets had acquired their next Brad Smith.

Jets coach Mike Westhoff described Tebow (right after the trade) as a "more potent Brad Smith." This is the type of news that did not reach the national media. It is also the type of news that told us all in New York how this Tebow thing was going to play out before it all happened.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

 

Don't you think Tebow deserves to start, just due to the fact that he can move the chains with his legs compensates for his lower percentage?

Although no one is arguing he doesn't need to improve. I have watched plenty enough video of Tebow playing to know some the of the things he does great, and some of the things he needs to work on. He has a great work ethic it's logical to assume he will improve.

When did the Jets quarterback controversy end?

Submit Vote vote to see results

There is an important difference between running a lot and running efficiently (almost like shooting a lot vs. shooting efficiently in the NBA). Believe it or not, when starting Tebow the 2011 Denver Broncos ranked dead last in the NFL in three-and-outs and 30th in third-down conversion percentage.

On the subject of work ethic, I am sure he has great work ethic. One thing I think most casual fans are unable to appreciate is that nearly all NFL players have incredible work ethics, even the ones who never make it off the practice squad. The NFL is just that competitive.

Mark Sanchez has a pretty amazing work ethic as well. He is also an average NFL starting quarterback, which is something only about 15-20 other people in the world can say.

 

Adam Waksman is a featured columnist for the Bleacher Report New York Jets community. Be sure to follow Adam on Twitter to receive updates right away.

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