The New York Jets are in danger of letting the 2012 season slip away. Amid all the QB drama and Rex Ryan being Rex Ryan, they've also allowed Tim Tebow to slip back into a black hole of NFL relevancy.
Incumbent starter Mark Sanchez has been on the hot seat ever since, the rushing attack has been marginal in losses and the teams sits at a very pedestrian 3-5 after eight games. All that being so, Tebow still has yet to make any sort of impact.
The Jets gave up draft picks to get him. He was the story of the year in Denver in 2011, turning a 1-4 team into an improbable juggernaut that refused to lose down the stretch. Tebow engineered a playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers before bowing out against the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional round.
And yet, the Jets tinkering with his status week to week has only further pushed him into being an irrelevant player.
After the Jets lost 30-9 to the Dolphins in Week 8, Ryan was quoted as saying that Tebow's role would be expanded after the bye week. It's clear the offense needs a spark, so the logical choice would be to turn to a man who was an offensive force last season.
However, Ryan has backed off those comments leading up to the game against the Seattle Seahawks. As outlined by ESPN New York's Rich Cimini, Ryan has once again managed to blur the lines after definitively stating that Tebow would be more involved:
It probably wasn't the smartest thing, me coming out with that statement...If we're going to use him more, or we're going to use him the same, or less, if I think it's an advantage to this football team one way or another, I'm not going to share it. That's kind of where I look at it now. Literally, did we look at Tim? Did we look at each guy, how we're using our guys? We did.
It's that kind of chatter that has defined his role so far. Consequently, it continues to make him one of the biggest jokes in professional sports.
Earlier in October, Tebow was voted the most overrated player in the league. That's right, a guy who has thrown just three passes this season and hasn't been asked to do anything other than block on punts is the most overrated player in the NFL.
He's still a topic of national debate, which only further puts him into a category of overused material, specifically on ESPN's First Take:
We are all tired of Tim Tebow talk twitter.com/BleacherReport—Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 1, 2012
National media outlets pick up stories about his girlfriend and a possible life in politics before they do about what he does on the field. The Bill Simmons-run Grantland created a fake email account for Tebow, furthering his legend and proving almost anyone will click on something with his name attached:
Grantland (@Grantland33) November 7, 2012
All these things would be around if he was the starter. But as a backup in the world's biggest media outlet, his lack of a role leaves the mind to wander. It's only further pushing his ability to play football to the back burner.
What role should Tebow have on this team?
The Jets are exactly at the midway point of their season. Tebow is averaging 7.5 plays per game. The "Wild Jet" offense hasn't materialized. Tebow's role as a starter is on one special team, and Sanchez is still the unquestioned starter.
I'm not a general manager, but I would contend that you don't give away two draft picks and take on the responsibility of a global superstar to be a career backup.
That is the state of Tebow right now, though. We'll be forced to listen about his dates and charity events before we'll see him on the field, even though the latter is his chosen career path.
Shame, isn't it?
Ethan Grant is a member of Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team. Check me out on Twitter for all the latest updates in the sports world and the occasional jab at the easy targets.