Greg McElroy: Decision to Keep Tim Tebow on Bench Has Sealed Rex Ryan's Fate

David DanielsSenior Writer IDecember 20, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 21: Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets talks with referees during the game against the New England Patriots on October 21, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Rex Ryan dug his own grave.

No matter how well Greg McElroy plays over the next two weeks, Ryan will likely still be fired from the New York Jets. He can’t possibly blame Mark Sanchez or any of the Jets’ players, though. It was Ryan’s poor decision-making alone that, barring an unbelievable blunder by Woody Johnson, will punch his ticket out of town.

Ryan’s first boneheaded decision turned out to be trading for Tebow in the first place.

After the Denver Broncos traded him to the Jets, Adam Schefter reported that Tebow chose them over the Jacksonville Jaguars, because of how badly Ryan and company wanted him. He said (via Larry Brown Sports):

The Jets coaching staff made it be known that they really wanted Tim Tebow. The front office really wanted Tim Tebow. That was not a feeling he got from the Jacksonville Jaguars front office and coaching staff. There was a feeling in New York he was going to be used. There was going to be a wildcat package for him. There would be things that are in New York that would not be done in Jacksonville.

So much for that.

Ryan’s second gaffe was to not bench Sanchez after Week 5.

New York had just lost to the Houston Texans to fall to 2-3. At that point, there was still plenty of time to turn the season around. But it was crystal clear to everyone outside of the Jets organization that Sanchez wouldn’t be the man to turn the ship around.

His performance in the Houston loss made it four straight games in which Sanchez finished with a passer rating of under 70.0, and over that time span, he had a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 3-5.

Over the next six games, Sanchez would do just enough to keep his job, randomly throwing together solid performances before he tailed off into oblivion the past three weeks.

Ryan had already (probably) lost his job by then, but this poor decision, reported by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News) will be his last.

Jets now confirm that Greg McElroy will be starting QB vs Chargers

— Manish Mehta(@MMehtaNYDN) December 18, 2012

Tebow didn’t even get a chance.

According to ESPN, GM Mike Tannenbaum said after the Jets traded for Tebow that he’d give them “a diverse, more dynamic offense that's going to make it more difficult for opposing teams to defend.”

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that, in what would be perceived as a confession of failure, Ryan said (via Sports Illustrated):

“I think we had a vision of using Tim in different ways. Obviously, we used him as a personal punt protector. I thought maybe we would use him in other ways or something.”

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Ryan shook up the Jets' locker room, putting the franchise under the media's microscope for an entire season for a personal punt protector to carry the football three times a game and throw a pass every other.

Downright brilliant.

Whether Tebow would've actually turned the Jets' season around—or been successful at all, for that matter—is completely irrelevant. Sanchez was undoubtedly hurting the Jets, Ryan had another option, Tebow, and he didn't even give him a try.

By doing so, Ryan displayed the intelligence of a toddler. Every Sunday, he'd burn his hand on the stove. And every Monday, he'd look forward to touching the stove the very next weekend.

He could've at least touched a flat iron instead.


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.