New York Jets: Tim Tebow Irrelevant in 2012, but Can He Ever Be Relevant Again?

Marques Eversoll@MJEversollAnalyst IOctober 6, 2012

Will Tim Tebow get an opportunity to start for the Jets? Probably, and it could be very soon.
Will Tim Tebow get an opportunity to start for the Jets? Probably, and it could be very soon.Elsa/Getty Images

After leading the Denver Broncos on an unlikely run to the playoffs in 2011, Tim Tebow became the most polarizing figure in sports.

Sure, he completed a league-worst 46.5 percent of his passes and only threw 12 touchdowns in 12 game appearances, but the Broncos were winning games. Next to basketball star LeBron James, Tebow was perhaps the most scrutinized player in professional sports.

But after four-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos this offseason, Tebow was traded to the New York Jets. Tebow was in the news daily in Denver, and now, he was playing in the media capital of the world.

Football fans around the world shook their heads.

Ever since he became the most popular backup quarterback-turned-special-teams-extraordinaire in NFL history, the media has given constant updates on Tebow's potential role with the Jets.

Would he give the Jets a never-before-seen wrinkle in the wildcat? Would he replace starter Mark Sanchez in the red zone? Or would Tebow earn his paycheck by staying on the field on special teams?

Well, through four games of the NFL season, Tebow has been irrelevant, a mere footnote in an ugly season for the Jets.

His biggest impact thus far in 2012 is a 22-yard run out of the wildcat against the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a passer, Tebow has completed his only passing attempt for nine yards.

Four games, one completion and nine carries for 38 yards. Yawn.

But will Tebow ever be relevant again?

In one word—yes. While he has yet to display any improvements whatsoever as a passer, he'll almost certainly get another opportunity as a starting quarterback. Very soon, in fact. Only a week after learning that Darrelle Revis was lost for the season, the team lost No. 1 receiver Santonio Holmes for the year with a foot injury.

So as the Jets sit at 2-2 without two of their best players, they'll be forced to look somewhere for a sign of life.

Last year, the Broncos started 1-3 and were losing to the San Diego Chargers when Tebow was given a chance with the starting offense. He made his first start against the Miami Dolphins after the team's Week 5 bye.

And in 2012, starting Tebow after the bye week—if not sooner—looks like a conceivable possibility for the Jets.

The 2-2 Jets host the 4-0 Houston Texans on Monday night at MetLife Stadium. It would take a dramatic upset for the Jets to hand the Texans their first loss of the season.

Assuming the Jets fall to the Texans this week, they'll be looking at a 2-3 record when Indianapolis comes to town in Week 6. Then, in Week 7, the Jets will travel to New England to face their division rival, the New England Patriots. And the Miami Dolphins will come to MetLife Stadium in Week 8.

In all likelihood, the Jets will lose at least two of their next four games, likely leaving them at 3-5 or 4-4 at the halfway point of the season. The Jets have their bye week in Week 9 this year, which could very well be when they pull Sanchez from the driver's seat and hand the keys to Tebow.

At this point, getting another opportunity as a starter seems to be a question of when, not if, for Tebow. Sanchez has thrown just five touchdowns in four games while completing a meager 49.2 percent of his passes—numbers that even Tebow could challenge.

Tebow's "relevancy" has nothing to do with whether or not he'll develop into a starting-caliber NFL quarterback, but has everything to do with getting another opportunity as an every-down player. After all, Tebow was the hottest topic in sports last season despite completing less than 10 passes in five of his 13 starts, including playoffs.

For the 2012 Jets, a sub-.500 record and a couple key injuries could spell one thing—the start of the Tebow Era in New York.

It may only be for the rest of this season, or it could be longer than that, but Tebow's opportunity is knocking at the door. Brace yourself, football fans; Tebow-mania could be making a comeback.


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