The Tim Tebow era in New York should last at least 15 starts, and it has nothing to do with his jersey number. Tebow Time has arrived for the Jets, and the NFL's most polarizing quarterback deserves the same opportunities given to Mark Sanchez over the past calendar year.
The unique circumstances that led to Tebow's departure from Denver can't be overstated. Peyton Manning proved again today that he is still the best we will ever see from his quarterback-factory family.
Meanwhile, Mark Sanchez wasted away his last chance to continue his reign as Jets quarterback. With two weeks to wake up from a 12-month "slump," Sanchez was Sleepless in Seattle: 9-22, 124 yards and two turnovers in a 28-7 loss in which defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson scored the Jets touchdown.
Tebow likely can't resurrect the 2012 Jets after a 3-6 start. Even if he duplicates last year's heroics, time is obviously against him. Last season, Tebow rallied the Broncos from a 1-4 start to an 8-8 finish and a huge playoff upset over Pittsburgh.
Tebow's throwing delivery will always be under scrutiny. However, his ability to buy time should never be underestimated. You can cite his poor completion percentage—just be sure to mention his large number of big plays in the same breath. The classic example was the Steelers playoff game: Tebow was only 10-21, but he averaged over 31 yards per completion.
These Jets are 1-5 over the their last six games and 6-11 dating back to last November. However, the national media will grill Tebow unless he runs the table for the remainder of this season. Locally, of course, it could get even worse.
If you didn't believe the hype of Tebowmania in 2011, you would be hypocritical to believe the bashing he may receive for the remainder of 2012.
The bar should be clearly set. Tebow will take over another bad team in midseason, and anything near a winning record should be labeled impressive, no matter his unorthodox playing style.
The Wildcat offense never took off for the Jets as planned. New York couldn't devise an efficient way to use Tebow's running ability in conjunction with the classic throwing style of Sanchez.
Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's assignment was doomed from the start. The former Dolphins head coach shouldn't have been expected to successfully implement a system that rarely even works at the college level.
In fact, Don Shula's Dolphins were the last NFL team to flourish in a true two-quarterback system. Thirty years ago, "Woodstrock" helped lead the Dolphins to the Super Bowl before losing to the Redskins in a strike-shortened season.
However, even that system was far different than the 2012 Jets. The 1982 Dolphins would simply start David Woodley, primarily a running quarterback, and leave him in the game unless they were far behind in the second half. In those scenarios, dropback artist Don Strock relieved Woodley and often rifled Miami to dramatic comeback victories.
Perhaps Mark Sanchez would be effective in a Strock-like role in New York. Regardless, we know Sanchez underperformed as a starter last season with a decent supporting cast and has been abysmal this season with an injury-plagued team.
Even if Tebow flops for the remainder of 2012, he deserves at least the first half of 2013 to see whether he's a legit starting quarterback or not.