Tebow appears to be on his way out of New York, but where could he be playing in 2013?
At 6-8, the Jets are officially out of the playoff contention in the AFC. And in all likelihood, Tebow will be jettisoned out of New York in the offseason.
The headline-craving Jets acquired Tebow, in part, for some positive publicity after the end to the 2011 season that was a complete train wreck.
Tebow's struggles to throw the football have been well documented; so much in fact that the Jets have only allowed him to throw eight passes 14 games into the season. The Jets haven't exactly let Tebow loose in the running game, either, as his 3.2 yards-per-carry average is two yards fewer than either of his first two NFL seasons.
The Tebow-to-New York marriage didn't work out. It was fun at the beginning—the whole introductory press conference for a backup quarterback was never-before-seen stuff. But it just didn't work out.
Between the Broncos' reluctance to give him control of the offense and the Jets' unwillingness to put him on the field, it's clear that NFL teams don't view Tebow as a starting-caliber quarterback at this time. So if Tebow wants to be an every-down player in today's league, he needs to go somewhere where he can learn the position.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan has been vocal about his desire to acquire Tebow. And while the move would make sense as far as ticket sales, head coach Mike Mularkey isn't among the league's top coaches for developing quarterbacks and Blaine Gabbert isn't exactly the best person to learn the position from.
Tebow needs three things.
First, he needs to play behind a clear, top-tier quarterback. If he's playing behind Aaron Rodgers, fans won't be banging their fists on the table for Tebow to be on the field. He's not the reigning MVP. Rodgers is.
Third, he must go to a franchise which will provide limited distractions in the locker room and in the media. This year in New York was not a good fit. Tebow was the backup quarterback on a team with a poor starting quarterback. Tebow-Mania has, again, become a distraction for the second straight season.
So, with that being said, which NFL teams would be the best fit for Tebow?
1) Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is perhaps the best quarterback in the NFL right now. Packers fans simply would not have any desire to rush Tebow onto the field as long as Rodgers is healthy.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is known for the great work he's done with quarterbacks. When he came to Green Bay, he inherited a quarterback who had just thrown 29 interceptions compared to just 20 touchdowns. That quarterback was Brett Favre.
McCarthy altered the way Favre ran the offense and, two years later, had him playing at a level he hadn't been playing at since winning three MVPs in the mid-1990s. McCarthy also played a key role in developing Aaron Rodgers and helping quarterback Matt Flynn transform into a starting-caliber player.
Perhaps most importantly, if "Tebow-Mania" were to be silent in any NFL city, it'd be in Green Bay, Wis. People in Green Bay simply don't care about the Tebow phenomenon. They want to win games, and they know their best chance to do so is with Rodgers under center.
In Green Bay, Tebow would be asked to do exactly what should be done—stand on the sidelines, hold the clipboard and watch Rodgers play the position. Tebow could get on the field in short-yardage situations. Maybe.
2) New England Patriots
Tom Brady has won three Super Bowls as an NFL quarterback. As long as No. 12 is under center in New England, nobody will be clamoring for anyone else to be taking snaps.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was the head coach in Denver when the Broncos selected Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft. There have been rumors that McDaniels would be interested in the Browns' head-coaching job after the season, but if he stays in New England, Tebow could be a fit.
McDaniels was the offensive coordinator when the Patriots had Matt Cassel. Under McDaniels, Cassel completed a career-high 63 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Cassel was then traded to the Kansas City Chiefs to be their starting quarterback the following offseason.
New England runs the most consistent franchise in professional football. Tebow wouldn't be a serious distraction considering the pieces already in place. Much like it would be in Green Bay, Tebow's role with the Patriots would be nothing more than a short-yardage back and a clipboard holder.
Which team would be the best fit for Tim Tebow?
3) San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers don't currently have an elite quarterback. Colin Kaepernick has been terrific since he took the reins from Alex Smith, but neither player is at the level of Rodgers, Brady, Drew Brees or the Manning brothers.
But still, Jim Harbaugh groomed Smith into being a reliable, game-managing quarterback who led the 49ers to the NFC Championship a season ago. And this season, Harbaugh's new quarterback has the 49ers playing like the best team in the NFC, if not, the NFL.
San Francisco could be an attractive landing spot for Tebow. The 49ers boast likely the best defense in the NFL, and Harbaugh's offense could be an attractive system for Tebow to learn the quarterback position.
Against the New York Jets earlier this season, Harbaugh made a point to run the Wildcat with Kaepernick. He carried the ball five times for 50 yards and a touchdown that day. Sure sounds like Tebow in his days as a Denver Bronco, no?
Assuming the 49ers go on a deep playoff run under Kaepernick, the fanbase and coaching staff will have "their guy" in place.
Tebow won't be a distraction as long as he's on a winning team with a proven quarterback.