Tebow, whose time with the New York Jets was brief but filled with plenty of controversy and criticism, was released by the team on the Monday after the 2013 NFL draft. As written by Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times, Ditka stated he would have given Tebow an opportunity:
This kid is a talent and he proved it in college. He is an outstanding leader. Now, does he have an unusual throwing motion? Yes. But there a lot of quarterbacks that didn't have a perfect throwing motion. Some of them turned out to be great quarterbacks because they were great leaders.
I really do think there's a place for him. If not at quarterback, I think he could play tight end. If I was in the league and coaching today, I would take a chance on him at quarterback.
It's certainly tough to argue against someone like Ditka.
Ditka won three Super Bowls (VI, XII and XX), with the final coming as head coach of the 1985 Chicago Bears—arguably the greatest single-season team in league history. Include an NFL title when playing for the Bears in 1963, and Ditka clearly knows a winner when he sees one.
As for Tebow, though, the game has drastically changed since the 1960s, '70s and '80s, especially at the quarterback position.
Scrambling quarterbacks during those years were a competitive advantage, because defenses weren't prepared for improvisation as much.
Since Tebow has entered the league, pro football has certainly changed but the defenses are more complex and geared toward isolating mobility.
Although Tebow took over the sports world in 2011, his vulnerabilities were significantly exposed against Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots that postseason. Not much has changed since.
He didn't offer Rex Ryan and Gang Green much confidence throughout the 2012 preseason either, as he tossed zero touchdowns to two picks and finished with a 36.1 completion percentage. He was also sacked seven times.
Nevertheless, Tebow definitely belongs in the NFL given his size and overall athleticism, and utilizing him as an occasional Wildcat threat is a favorable advantage. But this can't happen unless he sees the field.
Playing time has been the biggest challenge for Tebow, and there has been abundant speculation about having him play another position. However, Tebow only wants to play quarterback, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported last week:
Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter
Jets had granted Tim Tebow permission this off-season to seek a trade. More than one team asked if were willing to play TE, but he was not.2013-4-29 13:12:25
Perhaps the support from "Da Coach" will influence Tebow otherwise.
After all, despite the train wreck that was the Jets, Tebow does deserve better in the NFL. For his sake, though, being open to a position change only enhances his marketability.
Plus, if the NFL learned anything from his spurt with the Denver Broncos, it's that he can impact the game as a signal-caller, just not on every down.
Ditka certainly sees the talent in Tebow. Only time will tell if another NFL team does as well.