Tim Tebow's Mysterious NFL Future Will Continue to Fuel QB's Hype and Brand

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIMay 11, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 22:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets during warm ups before the start of their game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on November 22, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

There is no guarantee that Tim Tebow will play quarterback in the NFL in 2013, but that is only going to enhance interest surrounding one of the most polarizing figures in the league's recent history.

Tebow's brand is essentially built around mystery, and his current uncertain professional fate should perpetually fuel the hype around him this offseason.

After all, check out this bit of news from Forbes magazine:

Forbes @Forbes

Tim Tebow tops Forbes' 2013 list of America's most influential athletes, even without a team http://t.co/vliajG7BgV

Whether Tebow or football fans welcome the attention he gets or not is a different matter. However, Tebow isn't shy to use his platform to his advantage—even with his pure intentions as an inspirational missionary figure, spreading the ideology of his Christian faith.

That was the focus in Benton Harbor, Michigan, on Thursday evening. Tebow made his first public appearance since being released by the New York Jets, serving as a keynote speaker at Lake Michigan College in front of roughly 3,000 people, per Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press.

The gridiron was a central theme to Tebow's roughly hour-long address, but he would not specify anything about his current hunt for employment, nor would he accept questions from the media afterwards.

Whether it was his decorated high school or college careers or his miraculous run to the playoffs with the Denver Broncos, there has always been a mystique about Tebow that still gives him a puncher's chance of possibly landing a quarterback gig someday.

His competitiveness and will to win have always made Tebow a lightning rod, and his forthcoming nature with regard to his faith only enhances the buzz.

Regarding his future on the football field, though, Tebow simply said, "I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future." It is one of his common refrains, and it is captures what makes Tebow such a fascinating figure between and outside the white lines.

Mike Silver of Yahoo! logged some comments made by two unnamed coaches regarding Tebow, and it doesn't exactly bode well for landing an NFL roster spot in 2013.

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

Then there was the following quote, from an AFC coach, who professed that Tebow isn't worth the inevitable "circus" that surrounds him. The coach then articulated how baffled he was at how the Jets handled him:

I don't understand what the Jets did. You have to have a plan for [Tebow], but they had no idea what they were doing. I do think they were shocked how bad he looked in practice and in the preseason … how bad his accuracy was. But why make the trade for the guy if you're not clear on how to use his abilities?

NFL Network's Albert Breer provided his reaction to Silver's piece and nailed precisely why Tebow's brand will be continually fresh:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

No doubt, @MikeSilver nailed it on why Tebow's market stinks http://t.co/KMRmvtYDWi But I'd say this: He doesn't do much to stop the circus.

Also not interested in entertaining the notion of Tebow, according to Silver's sources, are the New England Patriots. One source told Silver that head coach Bill Belichick "hates" Tebow as a player.

Ex-Jets signal-caller Vinny Testaverde doesn't, though. Testaverde indicated that he worked with Tebow on his maligned footwork and noticed a considerable improvement. He also said Tebow's oft-criticized throwing motion is no longer an issue.

That's a pretty ringing endorsement for an almost universally panned player. Maybe some Tebow enthusiasts still think he can succeed as a QB in the pros, but NFL front offices apparently don't.

Or they just don't want to deal with the potential distractions Tebow would bring. Some fans from his hometown team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, have gone as far to create a website opposing a prospective Tebow inquisition and acquisition.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently stated that he hopes Tebow is part of the league moving forward, praising the values that Tebow upholds.

Can Tebow play in the NFL? Should he be given a chance—or will he not even get one? The polarizing, diverse opinions on these questions continue to stir debate, and it's why sports media outlets refuse to keep quiet about it.

That's the mystery of Tebow, and at Lake Michigan College, he once again provided unique perspective on what his life off the field holds:

What I want to do with my life is impact lives. When a kid in a hospital is fighting for his life and I'm trying to win a football game, what really matters? This game isn't as important as a lot of us make it out to be. If I can give him a little bit of hope, I can do something that matters. That's what I want my legacy to be about. That's how I want to be remembered.

As long as Tebow stays mum on his NFL future while the offseason and training camps progress, the interest in him in news cycles will not completely cease.

Even if he never plays in the NFL again, the inspiration he provides in public speaking appearances such as Thursday's matters. One could argue Tebow's career is already a success, if impacting lives is truly his ultimate life goal.


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