Tim Tebow's Lack of Opportunities After League Injuries Foreshadows NFL Future

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2013

Aug 29, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow (5) exits the field after the game against the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Giants 28-20. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Week 7 was not kind to NFL quarterbacks, but it ended up treating the polarizing Tim Tebow even worse.

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is out for the year, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today, while Philadelphia's Nick Foles and Chicago's Jay Cutler were also hit by the injury bug, with the former set to return soon and the latter out at least four weeks.

Yet Tim Tebow didn't hear his phone ring.

Instead, Chicago turned to backup Josh McCown and Philadelphia will go with other pseudo starter Michael Vick.

St. Louis was the team to watch for those with Tebow on the mind, as early speculation had the two sides as a perfect marriage, but CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jim Thomas shot down the notion:

Rather than bring Tebowmania to town, St. Louis brought on both Brady Quinn and Austin Davis to round out the quarterback group per NFL.com's Chris Wesseling.

Even Brett Favre's name was thrown out per ESPN's Nick Wagoner, Rob Demovsky and Terry Blount, and as Bleacher Report's Timothy Rapp illustrates, not much more needs said on the matter:

So what's the problem with Tebow? What is keeping a 26-year-old quarterback with untapped potential from even a third-string job like the one in St. Louis?

It's a two-part answer. For one, NFL teams simply do not want to deal with the cult-like following Tebow takes with him no matter where he goes. AFC and NFC executives were not shy in telling Yahoo! Sports' Michael Silver some reasoning as to why Tebow could not find an NFL home:

"He seems like a great guy to have on a team, and I'd be tempted to bring him in as our backup," one NFC head coach told me Wednesday. "But it's just not worth dealing with all the stuff that comes with it."

Or, in the words of one AFC head coach to whom I spoke recently: "You don't want to put up with the circus."

Those quotes were obtained before the New England Patriots took their chance on Tebowmania and his following. Even the Patriots non-contact practices were more crowded than usual before Tebow eventually fizzled on the field in the preseason with horrific passes such as this:

Which brings us to the next point—Tebow has much work to do on the field.

Tebow had seemingly one last shot in New England to show some form of positive progression, whether it was throwing mechanics, footwork, the mental aspect—something. The chance was even given by Patriots offense coordinator Josh McDaniels—who originally brought Tebow into the league in the first round years ago.

Tebow failed. The relentless positive attitude in a league seemingly highlighted by illegal hits and fines simply is not enough if the on-field production isn't there.

Yes, Tebow led a team to a playoff victory, but it's a different league now. Much like the Wildcat, the NFL has mostly adapted to the read option, and frankly, Robert Griffin III and other names execute it much better because of a decisive factor—they're a threat with their arms defenses must respect.

Aug 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow (5) on the sidelines in the fourth quarter of a preseason game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Roster spots in today's NFL are a rare commodity, and most teams only keep two quarterbacks now to allow more room for defensive backs in a pass-happy league. That's 32 chances Tebow had—with an elusive third mixed in like the one in St. Louis—that he's failed to earn.

Simply put, Tebow is not the man teams want under center should the starter go down. He's not the man teams want in the facility because of his extreme following—regardless of a massive upswing in jersey and merchandise sales.

The play on the field is Tebow's fault, the following not so much. Tebow can fix one, but since entering the league in 2010 he's failed to do so.

In a league with the most important position of all barraged with injuries, Tebow has yet to garner even a backup job. That, more than anything else, truly speaks volumes about how the NFL feels about Tebow, as well as his NFL future.



Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling