Why Tim Tebow Will Be an Epic Fail for the New England Patriots

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystJune 10, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Former Florida Gator and New York Jet Tim Tebow attends the Allstate Sugar Bowl between the Florida Gators and the Louisville Cardinals at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Well, it appears that Tim Tebow is going to get another chance in the NFL after all, and in the most unlikely of places.

That place is with the team that, in the eyes of many, ruined Tebow as a quarterback.

ESPN's Ed Werder was the first to break the stunning news that Tebow will sign with the New England Patriots.

Werder also pointed out that the news really isn't that shocking if you think about it.


You can bet the rent money that this story is going to dominate news around the NFL for the next few days (Skip Bayless probably fainted) as the media pontificates about Tebow's future, Belichick's savvy and how perhaps having Tom Brady as a mentor can finally fix Tebow's numerous flaws as a passer.

Too bad it's a move that's going to end up backfiring on the Pats, for a number of reasons.

The first reason is the same reason that many NFL teams wouldn't touch Tim Tebow with a 10-foot pole this offseason. Tebow is wildly popular among a large group of exceptionally, um, passionate fans.

That popularity inspires the media to scrutinize everything that Tebow does, on a scale that borders on terrifying.

If Tebow stubbed his pinky toe on the same afternoon that Blaine Gabbert single-handedly defeated an alien invasion with only a pair of toenail clippers, the lead story on SportsCenter would blast Gabbert for not using those clippers to save the Tetoe.

Guess what Bill Belichick hates? Media circuses. This is a man who wouldn't give out an accurate injury report if you dosed him truth serum. When he goes to the real circus, the first thing he does is forbid the bearded lady from speaking to the press.

How long do you think it will take before being peppered with questions about Tebow starts getting on Belichick's nerves? My money is on 15 minutes ago.

Second, and perhaps even more importantly, there's the small matter of Tebow not being a very good quarterback.

The chart above compares Tim Tebow's numbers as starter for the Denver Broncos in 2011 to Brandon Weeden, who was the worst quarterback in the NFL last year, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Not just the worst starter, mind you. The worst quarterback overall.

Yes, Tebow had better touchdown and turnover numbers, and his passer rating was ever so slightly higher. However, his completion percentage was more than 10 points lower and under 50 percent.

Now, at this point, Tebow's supporters will point out Denver's surprising playoff run two years ago, and Tebow's ability to hurt teams with his legs. He just wins football games, they'll say.

The problem with that is the team who just signed him also showed the rest of the NFL how to shut him down. In the divisional round two years ago, the Patriots spied Tebow at the line, took away the deep ball and dared him to beat them with short and intermediate passes.

Tebow was terrible. He completed less than 35 percent of his passes, turned the ball over once and was sacked five times in a 45-10 blowout.

Frankly, it's unlikely that Tebow can beat out Ryan Mallett to be Brady's backup. Is all the grief that comes with having Tebow around really worth it for a third-string quarterback?

In a word, no.

Mind you, it's not absolutely out of the realm of reason that Tebow could have some value to the Patriots, and Mike Freeman of CBS Sports mentioned how.

With Rob Gronkowski's availability for Week 1 very uncertain at this point, and Aaron Hernandez and Jake Ballard both returning from injuries of their own, a New England offense that has come to rely on the tight end position is shaky there right now.

The idea of Tebow switching to tight end or fullback has been floated before. However, it's a move he's resisted in the past, including last August when he told Matt Brooks of The Washington Post that "I'm a quarterback, first and foremost."

Maybe, after an offseason of the phone not ringing, Tebow is more open to the idea now.

But so what if he is? It's no sure thing that Tebow can make the switch effectively, although ESPN's Rich Eisen seems to think Tebow can thrive as an "H-back" type.

Thriving enough to justify all the brouhaha is another thing altogether. Yes, we know that Tebow that can run between the tackles, but his ability (or lack thereof) as a receiver is still very much an unknown.

With that said though, brouhaha is what you're going to get over the next several days, because people like Tim Tebow. You're going to hear story after story after story about how he's going to be great with the Patriots.

And others about how the distraction won't be that big a deal because it's the Patriots.

However, we're not talking about a distraction. We're talking about the distraction. Tebow is a category onto himself when it comes to media coverage.

And for a team as buttoned up as New England, that in and of itself makes Tebow more trouble than he's worth.

However, at least Bill Belichick can take solace in the fact that he's made Skip Bayless happy.

And isn't that important to all of us?