Tebowmania may finally have reached its merciful conclusion.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the New England Patriots have released Tim Tebow as part of their final roster cuts Saturday:
Patriots releases Tim Tebow. More on ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 31, 2013
The league's 32 teams have until 5 p.m. ET Saturday to trim their rosters down to the 53-man maximum. Most teams were carrying the league maximum of 75 players heading into their final preseason game.
The Patriots made their first round of cuts Friday, with Tebow surviving the 10-man cut-down to 65 players.
The 26-year-old quarterback had signed a two-year deal with the Patriots this offseason after being released by the New York Jets. New England brought Tebow in to compete with Ryan Mallett for the backup quarterback job and to serve as an offensive weapon due to his versatility, but the former Heisman winner struggled to find his niche in the preseason.
He completed just 11 of his 30 pass attempts in three preseason appearances, good for 145 yards and two touchdowns against as many interceptions. Though he added 91 yards on 16 carries on the ground, Tebow nearly negated that by taking seven sacks.
His best preseason performance came when he needed it most—this week against the New York Giants. He completed 6-of-11 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns, adding another 30 on the ground. But Tebow's penchant for holding onto the ball and being inaccurate on his throws were on full display, as he took four sacks and threw a bad pick to the Giants secondary.
While Tebow's release didn't come out of left field—Bill Belichick has shown a preference toward keeping only two quarterbacks on his active roster—it unsurprisingly left an indelible mark on social media. With that in mind, let's take a look around the Twitterverse and see what the world is saying about the latest Tebow setback.
Tebow's release is bound to elicit a bevy of emotions from fans. Pro Football Focus' feed has no time for that. It came through with a pretty compelling statistical reason for the Patriots' move Saturday:
For what it's worth Tebow was our second lowest graded quarterback in preseason with a -8.1 grade. Vince Young was fifth lowest (-6.9).— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 31, 2013
Here is some more statistical fodder, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info:
Tebow released by Pats. Tebow has 4th-lowest NFL Total QBR (34.3) since rookie yr (’10). Gabbert, Weeden & Skelton lower among qualifiers— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 31, 2013
Grantland's Bill Simmons, a noted proponent of all things Boston/New England, certainly had a strong reaction to Tebow's departure. I'll just have to get back to you when I figure out what it means:
Teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeboooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) August 31, 2013
One prominent media member whose opinion on Tebow is quite clear is ESPN's Skip Bayless. The First Take panelist has been outspoken in his support of the former Florida quarterback—almost to the point of making a cottage industry out of his unwavering adoration.
As you might suspect, he had a few thoughts on the matter:
I am STUNNED. Tebow cut by Pats. Thought Belichick would keep him for intangibles/playmaking. I was very wrong and Stephen A was right.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) August 31, 2013
Hard to comprehend how a Tebow who had NFL's best QBR in final 5 mins of games in 2011 might be finished. But once Belichick says no ...— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) August 31, 2013
Biggest issue for Tebow in NE: Ran spread option in 1st preseason game, looked great. Ran Brady's dropback "o" next 2, often looked awful.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) August 31, 2013
Again, before he was drafted, I said Tebow would never make a Pro Bowl, just that he could win games as starting QB. DID HE EVER.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) August 31, 2013
As for Tebow himself, there was at least some indication he knew this was coming. Here is a tweet he sent out Thursday, highlighting Bible passages about strength:
Psalm 62:5-7 pic.twitter.com/GA5qQsYwH2— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) August 29, 2013
Perhaps Saturday, Aug. 31, will forever go down as the day of the polarizing quarterback. CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman has a fact that may be of concern to the last Heisman Trophy winner:
With Tim Tebow getting cut today, 4 of the past 7 Heisman winning QBs (not including Manziel) are out of the NFL.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) August 31, 2013
Over the next few days, there will be plenty of hand-wringing about Tebow's future. Will another NFL team take a chance? Will he head up north to the CFL?
The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre has another possible career choice in mind:
So the Patriots didn't need a babysitter for Hernandez, Gronk, right? http://t.co/Z0pRcEFgdv Tebow should start political career today.— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) August 31, 2013
Bruce Arthur of The National Post doesn't sound too enthused with that idea:
The problem with Tim Tebow bombing out of football will be that it'll just accelerate the start of his political career— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) August 31, 2013
Perhaps there may be some non-political salvation for Tebow, after all. Hardwood Paroxysm's Twitter feed has an idea that might excite publicity hound Mark Cuban, even if it would lead to the entire city of Dallas to self-combust:
The Mavericks should sign Tebow.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) August 31, 2013
You stay you, Iron Sheik:
Virgil better QB than the Tim Tebow— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) August 31, 2013
Though the situation is undoubtedly hanging dark clouds in Tebow's universe right now, he still has waves of supporters. Among them is ESPN's Mike Greenberg, a Jets fan who still thinks New York would have done better in 2012 with Tebow under center:
I believe if the #Jets had played Tim Tebow at quarterback last year in a style suited to him they would have won more games than they did.— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) August 31, 2013
Greenberg's ESPN colleague and NFL reporter Chris Mortensen also counts himself among Tebow's believers. And he also asserts it was ridiculous for anyone to suggest he make a position switch to tight end—a spot he had never played previously:
Tebow a QB all his life. He wasn't basketball player. Switch to TE? Absurd. As a believer, yes, God has great plans for Tim beyond football— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) August 31, 2013
Of course, there are prominent media members who feel the opposite. Count Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman among the detractors who thought Tebow got too many chances:
There has never been a quarterback in the recent history of the NFL who got so many chances to succeed but didn't deserve them. #TimTebow— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) August 31, 2013
Grantland's Bill Barnwell? Also not a fan. He's more concerned with New England's release of punter Zoltan Mesko, who had been with the team since 2010:
Zoltan Mesko is a lot more notable of a release than Tim Tebow.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) August 31, 2013
Can't say I blame you, Ethan J. Skolnick:
Was planning on returning to the United States this week, but better to stay away until the Tebow thing blows over.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) August 31, 2013
Tebow's release will continue to draw intense reaction thanks to his widespread appeal. While his NFL future is uncertain, it's quite clear his detractors and supporters aren't backing down from their corners anytime soon.
Follow Tyler Conway on Twitter: