With starting QB Greg McElroy out with a concussion, the logical choice to replace him would have been Tebow, not former starter Mark Sanchez. But as ESPN's Adam Schefter reports, that's not how the Jets see things (via Twitter):
Mark Sanchez to start at QB for Jets; McElroy out with concussion.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 27, 2012
Whether you like Tebow or not, you can't help but feel sorry for the guy.
After a season that saw him used sparingly in the Wildcat offense and not once out of a standard formation, Tebow has now been passed over for a chance to start as a "regular quarterback" twice by head coach Rex Ryan.
According to Conor Orr of the Newark Star-Ledger, Tebow sat down and asked Ryan for an opportunity shortly after the Jets benched Sanchez on Dec. 18:
It was just me asking for an opportunity to play the position I love, which is quarterback. I can’t lie about that, I was definitely disappointed. I wanted an opportunity to play quarterback. I wanted to do more out of the Wildcat, so I was disappointed.
He knew that, he understood the frustration and we talked about it for a while.
Obviously, that understanding wasn't as great as Tebow thought it was.
That's unfortunate—and unfair to Tebow.
Mark Sanchez has regressed to the point where nobody believes he is a starting-caliber NFL quarterback anymore.
You might believe the same thing about Tebow—as Ryan apparently does—but as ESPN's Dan Graziano notes, the Jets could have gone about things differently (via Twitter):
The Jets aren't the first people to conclude that Tim Tebow can't play in the NFL. They're just really rubbing it in.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) December 27, 2012
Tebow has been the most explosive offensive weapon that the Jets have had all season, yet Ryan simply refuses to give him a chance.
The Jets aren't playing for anything except pride and that unfortunate fact is likely what is keeping Tebow on the sideline when the Jets take on the Buffalo Bills in Week 17.
Ryan's pride, as NFL.com's Ian Rapoport aptly points out (via Twitter):
At least Rex Ryan avoids this nightmare scenario: Tim Tebow starts, dominates, Jets win, Rex looks like a fool for not playing him.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 27, 2012
It's unfortunate—and unfair to Tebow—that his head coach's ego is truly the only thing keeping him from his goal of starting a regular-season game for the Jets in 2012.
As Bruce Arthur of the National Post notes, Ryan likely would resort to drastic measures before putting Tebow in the game (via Twitter):
It's going to be amazing this week when Mark Sanchez gets hurt and Rex Ryan looks at Tim Tebow, sighs, and runs out to do it himself.— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) December 27, 2012
The sad thing is that probably isn't too far from the truth.
But New York has absolutely nothing to lose by starting Tebow in this game.
If he falls flat on his face, the Jets move up a couple of spots in the 2013 NFL draft.
If he succeeds, yes, Ryan would get roasted by the New York media for not starting Tebow earlier in the season.
But isn't ending the season on a high note more important than Ryan's feelings at this point?
It should be and this latest slap in Tebow's face is emblematic of the failures of the entire franchise in 2012.
Tebow deserves a chance to show what he can do in Week 17.