ESPN has hired former NFL and University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow as an analyst for the SEC Network, which is set to launch in August 2014, according to ESPN's Josh Krulewitz on Twitter:
ESPN SEC Network exec Justin Connolly on Tebow: SEC icon w/ national fan base & broad appeal— Josh Krulewitz (@jksports) December 30, 2013
While the announcement comes as somewhat of a surprise given Tebow's lack of experience as an analyst, few people are more qualified to discuss SEC football than the polarizing signal-caller. After all, Tebow played four seasons at Florida from 2006 through 2009, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007 as a sophomore and helping lead the Gators to BCS National Championships in 2006 and 2008. He is the SEC's all-time leader in total career touchdowns with 145 and career rushing touchdowns with 57.
ESPN senior vice president of programming, college networks Justin Connolly announced the reasoning behind the new hire, per a company press release:
Tim is a SEC icon with a national fan base and broad appeal. He will be a significant contributor to the compelling content we will deliver with the SEC Network. Tim brings a wealth of knowledge about the game, the conference and the passion among SEC fans.
Shortly after the announcement, Tebow took to Twitter to confirm the hire and express his excitement:
I am so excited that ESPN has given me this incredible opportunity. When I was six years old I fell in love with the game of football and...— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) December 30, 2013
…while I continue to pursue my dream of playing quarterback in the NFL, this is an amazing opportunity to be a part of…— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) December 30, 2013
…the unparalleled passion of college football and the SEC.— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) December 30, 2013
Adam Schefter of ESPN had more on the length of the agreement:
Tim Tebow signed for three years with ESPN. Left option open to pursue QB career.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 30, 2013
Like many on social media, CBS Sports NFL writer Will Brinson addressed the announcement with a heavy dose of sarcasm:
Tim Tebow hired by ESPN for SEC Network show. It’s Black Monday everyone!— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) December 30, 2013
According to ESPN's press release, Tebow is scheduled to make his first appearance in his new role on Jan. 6 during the network's pregame coverage of the BCS National Championship Game between Auburn and Florida State.
The former New York Jets and Denver Broncos quarterback will appear on several programs throughout the day, including the 9 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter and College GameDay at 7 p.m. ET.
What do you make of Tebow the analyst?
Moving forward, Tebow will appear as an analyst for the SEC Network's traveling college football pregame show called SEC Nation. The show, which will also feature Joe Tessitore and Paul Finebaum, will premiere on Aug. 28 and carry on through the college football season. During his time with SEC Nation, Tebow will make appearances as an analyst on a variety of other programs for the Worldwide Leader.
Selected 25th overall by the Broncos in the 2010 NFL draft, Tebow played three seasons in the NFL before failing to make a roster ahead of the 2013 regular season. He initially signed with the New England Patriots prior to this season, but he failed to make the roster out of preseason camp.
While his new role on television is sure to present many challenges at first, Tebow clearly has the personality, draw, knowledge and work ethic to succeed.
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