New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow is a lightning rod for attention wherever he goes. That was no exception on Wednesday evening at the Sugar Bowl, where the former Heisman Trophy winner was in attendance to watch his alma mater, the Florida Gators take on the Louisville Cardinals.
When Tebow dodged prodding inquisition into his NFL future (h/t NFL.com), it was no surprise. That is why the media should back off and not pester Tebow about his future with regard to the 2013 season.
It has been a tumultuous and troubling year for Tebow in the Big Apple.
The Wildcat package proved to be a mostly worthless gimmick in Tony Sparano's offense. That prevented both Tebow and incumbent starter Mark Sanchez from getting into any sort of rhythm, and ultimately stagnated the Jets' offense.
It's obvious Tebow's future isn't in New York, so that can be cast aside. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News documented just how bad it had gotten by Week 17 on Tebow's only play of the game:
Tim Tebow makes an appearances at QB inside 10. Hands off to McKnight for 2 yards. Exits. #nyj— Manish Mehta(@MMehtaNYDN) December 30, 2012
A lot of commentators criticize ESPN—particularly its controversial debate show First Take—for pandering to the Tebow narrative and talking him up at wit's end. But this can be avoided—by not asking him about his next potential destination in the pros.
It will already be Tebow's third team in four years, making his status as a first-round pick all the more enigmatic when trying to assess his career to date.
If he couldn't jump over the likes of Sanchez and Greg McElroy on the depth chart, that isn't exactly a strong case for him to be a starter elsewhere. However, with the way the game is trending and an increased utilization of spread offenses and college head coaches, Tebow may find a perfect landing spot after all.
There was an understanding that Tebow would be a project player who would take several years to develop. Well, he hasn't had one opportunity to be the starter from the beginning of training camp in an offense tailored to his unique skill set.
To dismiss Tebow as an outright failure who can't throw the ball seems ridiculous. He can throw the ball deep, and perhaps could improve on his chemistry with the receivers at his disposal if he were given the shot to start immediately.
That is the argument of the Tebow proponents. Those who dismiss his chances as a successful NFL QB will continue pontificating the same points about his inaccuracy, football IQ and throwing motion.
This is a tired story with no end in sight, but it should end until Tebow figures out where he is going to continue his career before fresh speculation can begin.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported in December that Tebow is a "virtual certainty" to sign with his hometown Jacksonville Jaguars. Nothing of substance has come out since then, so there's nothing left to inquire about.
The prognostication on the future whereabouts of Tebow in the NFL should be shelved. It created an unnecessary side plot to the Gators' game thanks to ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi's physical coziness to Tebow as they observed the BCS clash in New Orleans.
It is best for Tebow to do what he did—not answer—but it would be all the more better if he weren't asked such questions in the first place.