People love Tim Tebow. It's the only way to explain the constant coverage of the New York Jets' backup quarterback, whose first season in the Big Apple has been a bust. His lack of production means he'll enter the offseason with plenty of uncertainty.
Given the extraordinary amount of hype surrounding his arrival in New York, it appeared the team was planning to get him heavily involved in the weekly game plan through various different roles. Furthermore, Mark Sanchez was seemingly on shaky ground as the starter.
It hasn't panned out that way. The Jets are currently preparing for a Monday Night Football encounter with the Tennessee Titans in Week 15, during which Tebow will certainly be a hot topic. However, the backup QB has contributed just 126 yards of total offense.
Whatever hopes the Jets coaching staff had for Tebow when he was acquired clearly haven't materialized. He's been more of a distraction, albeit through no real fault of his own, than a useful piece of the Jets roster.
The biggest sign that the Jets don't trust him to become their full-time starter came last week. Rex Ryan decided to stick with Sanchez, who continues to show only occasional signs of progress, instead of giving Tebow a chance to rediscover his 2011 magic.
There isn't going to be a better opportunity to change quarterbacks than there was last week, and the Jets decided to stick with the status quo. It speaks volumes about their current view of Tebow.
The situation led Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com to report last week that the Jets and Tebow are destined to go their separate ways in the offseason. Rosenthal states the only way he can see Tebow staying in New York is if Ryan gets fired.
The Broncos didn't want to keep Tebow as a starter. The Jets don't seem to want him as a backup. Tebow likely will be wandering through the football wilderness again soon, looking for a home.
It's hard to disagree. The situation should also serve as a wake-up call for Tebow. If a team in desperate need of other options at quarterback isn't willing to give him a chance to win the job as the season winds down, there aren't many—if any—teams that will.
He has been steadfast in his desire to play quarterback throughout his career, but it's time for him to start embracing new positions and other roles. The chances of him becoming a full-time starting QB in the NFL are extremely low.
Tebow is athletic, powerful and has a burning desire to win. There will always be room for players like that in the league if they are open to change. It won't be easy for him to push his quarterbacking dreams aside, but it's his best option.
If the Jets do let him go or put him up for trade in return for a late pick, as Rosenthal suggests, Tebow should market himself as a player willing to play any position. He would certainly draw more interest that way.
While it's yet to be seen if that's a step he's ready to take, the Jets disappointment should be a major clue that he must consider fresh ideas. Otherwise, he'll have a tough time finding a spot.
One way or another, the offseason will mark a turning point in Tebow's career.