Why Tim Tebow Remains Unemployed Despite Rash of NFL Injuries

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 29: Tim Tebow #5 of the New England Patriots warms up prior to the preseason game against the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium on August 29, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Halfway through the NFL season, there appears to be a number of roster spots available for quarterbacks. Still, Tim Tebow remains unsigned without any prospects of a job. While this angers many of his supporters, there are reasons why he is still at home.

Looking around the league, it is easy to speculate where the controversial player could help. The Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills previously lost starting quarterbacks for a significant amount of time, while the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears saw their stars go down in Week 7.

Despite these injuries and obvious need to fill the spots, none of these squads even gave Tebow a call.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen discussed the Rams situation as they looked to replace Sam Bradford, who is out for the year with a torn ACL:

St. Louis ended up signing Brady Quinn and Austin Davis as backups to Kellen Clemens, according to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.

The Bears also had to fill Jay Cutler's spot on the roster with him out four weeks with a torn groin muscle. However, team sideline reporter Zach Zaidman needed to explain that Tebow was once again not in the discussion:

So why have these teams looked in other places for quarterbacks? The first explanation is an easy one, as Bleacher Report's Matt Miller points out:

Tebow has appeared in 35 games in his career and has started 14 at quarterback. In that time, he has completed only 47.9 percent of his passes, which is not enough to hack it in the NFL.

Since 2006, only Tebow and Jamarcus Russell have completed fewer than half of their passes in a full season. Josh Freeman is on his way toward that mark this year, although he has already been released once this season.

Basically, this is a list you do not want to be on, and it is not surprising that teams are not picking up the phone for either Tebow or Russell. 

While Tebow is more dynamic with the ball than other free-agent options, a coach would prefer a solid quarterback who can make the necessary passes and let the other weapons on offense do their job.

Still, others will argue that the 2011 Denver Broncos were successful despite a lack of accurate passing. Although this is true to an extent, a key was John Fox and Mike McCoy's ability to transform the entire offense to fit his quarterback's style.

That team focused on the rushing attack despite having quality receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. The coaching staff brought in the read-option and generally let the former Heisman winner run around all day to pick up yards.

/Getty Images

These adjustment were impressive, although it was only done out of necessity because the former first-round pick was the best option on the roster. Other teams are not going to bring in a player midseason and then change the playbook to support him.

This is what an offense would need to do in order for Tebow to be successful. At the very least, he would need to enter a system that is already set up for a mobile passer.

Unfortunately, the teams with openings do not fit this description. The Rams, Bears and Browns all utilize drop-back quarterbacks, while the Bills simply found a better option in Thad Lewis.

Despite all of this, the biggest reason Tebow cannot at least get a backup job in the NFL has nothing to do with him. Instead, it is the overwhelming fan support and media attention that makes him a negative influence wherever he goes.

As you can tell from the tweets by Mortensen and Zaidman, plenty of people are asking about the quarterback while he is not playing. If he is on a roster, all anyone will wonder is when he will play.

Dec 9, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; A New York Jets fan shows her sign about quarterback Tim Tebow (not pictured) to other fans in the third quarter of their game against the  at EverBank Field. The New York Jets beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-10. Mandat
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets dealt with that issue a year ago as head coach Rex Ryan struggled to avoid the constant questions about his backup. According to ESPN's Rich Cimini, veteran guard Willie Colon recently said that the team is better without the distraction:

They care about winning and they care about being a better franchise, and not being a circus group. I think having the Tim Tebow circus out of here, and having different things that were kind of holding this team back, are starting to go out the window. I think we're all starting to care about football and only football, which is a good sight to see.

It is hard to argue with the results. A year after the Jets went 6-10 as the laughing stock of the league, the Jets are now 4-3 with a legitimate shot at the playoffs. More importantly, there are no weekly reports about the updated quarterback situation.

Any team that picks up Tebow would have to deal with a similar issue. This is something an NFL coach does not want to deal with considering all of his other responsibilities.

As a result, the once-promising superstar remains sitting at home, waiting for a phone call.

This is unlikely to change until a team needs a below-average passer who requires it to change its system while also hurting the chemistry in the locker room. If you are waiting for this to happen, you should not hold your breath.


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