Not only do the Patriots have a fresh infusion of versatility at their disposal with Tebow, but they have a golden opportunity to develop a 25-year-old backup slinger who's healthy, talented, driven, dynamic, hardworking and coachable.
It's surprising that more teams didn't pursue this guy.
Or perhaps, on second thought, it isn't so surprising. After all, most teams drink from the same think tank, running ideas through a series of the same focus groups and committees. If the group or committee spits out a sketchy verdict on a potential prospect, based on his wobbly spiral or the inevitable media circus that might ensue, it gets cold feet.
This is where the Patriots are different. They play by their own rules. They don't let popular opinion or scuttlebutt dictate their decisions. They make audacious, forward-thinking moves, which is why they continually rewrite the book on winning.
That's why it's good to be a Patriots fan. And that's why it's good to have Tebow in the mix.
Tebow's a playoff-tested slinger. With Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett, Tebow gives the team three exciting layers of security at the most important position. That's an incredible cushion.
But Tebow offers more than just additional depth.
Tebow's physical and emotional attributes conjure nostalgic memories of some former Patriots players that have come and gone over the years. Most notably, he shares a few profound qualities with defensive end Andre Carter, cornerback Sterling Moore and linebacker Mike Vrabel.
Andre Carter was the emotional backbone of the Patriots in 2011. He was a wise, humble leader who made everyone around him better.
Tebow is cut from that same cloth. He spent his college years proving himself as a leader of men, illustrating the ability to inspire a locker room, to inspire a huddle, to inspire a bench, to inspire a crowd and to make everyone around him stronger, better and more confident.
Sterling Moore was a huge surprise for New England in 2011. He flew under the radar until he swooped in out of nowhere to make the play of the year, stripping Lee Evans to save the AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens. Like Moore, Tebow has the ability to lay dormant then suddenly ignite a surge for a game-winning play.
Mike Vrabel, a legendary player from the dynasty years, was a versatile defensive juggernaut with an unusually clever and adept offensive brain, which allowed him to efficiently moonlight as a tight end.
Like Vrabel, Tebow provides positional versatility; he can bounce around from developmental third-string quarterback to part-time fullback or goal-line rusher. He proved his multi-dimensional skills in five terrific comeback victories with the Broncos in 2011.
Tebow compiles the best attributes of these former Pats, thus making him extremely valuable to the squad. He has the makings of a true unsung hero for the Pats' coming season. That's a crucial element to have on the roster, because unsung heroes win playoff games.
Look at the Boston Bruins. They're in the midst of an amazing playoff run, which has been almost entirely engineered by unsung heroes and underdogs who've stepped up in dark times.
Against the Rangers, the Bruins' defensive core was battered and depleted. They called up 22-year-old rookie Torey Krug from the AHL Providence Bruins as an emergency fill-in. He came in and shocked the world by scoring four goals in five games.
Those performances were gutsy, gritty and sacrificial. That's the effect of unsung heroes—that's why the Bruins are in the Stanley Cup Final.
Smart teams collect those potential heroes. It's a critical component of any championship team, because superstars can't win every game. When times are toughest, when nothing seems to be working, you need underdogs who look at the struggling superstars and say, "Don't worry, I got this one."
Tim Tebow can fill the role of unsung hero for the Patriots. The naysayers can tear him down all they want, but when this kid gets knocked down, he gets up. He endures. Survival and surprise are his bread and butter. I'll take a player like that, any day of the week.
Those are the players who make a difference when you least expect it.
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