The problem Tim Tebow had, the problem Tim Tebow has long had, is that the idea of Tebow was always better than the reality of Tebow.
The idea of Tebow: Captain America in cleats...a football savior...he throws spirals and emotes hope...a cure...a phenomenon...a man who could turn around any franchise...an athlete...a passer...a winner...a winner who wants to win more than winning ever wanted to win because winning.
The reality of Tebow: slow, plodding even...mostly inaccurate passer...overblown as a multifaceted threat...or even a two-point threat because a restricted space like a two-point conversion requires quick thinking, accurate throwing and foot speed—he has none of those.
Many teams became enthralled by the idea of Tebow. First, the Broncos did, making one of the worst picks in the history of the draft, selecting him at 25th overall. He had his moments in Denver, sure. But again, the reality took over. Once teams studied Tebow, they adjusted. He couldn't.
All the good ones, and especially the great ones, could thwart defenses because they could throw an accurate football from the pocket. Go down the list. Look at all the good ones and great ones. Throwing accuracy was the key.
Despite that, look at all of the NFL minds that fell in love with the idea of Tebow: Josh McDaniels, John Fox, Bill Belichick, Rex Ryan and then Chip Kelly. Remove Kelly from the equation and all of those coaches, as either assistants or head coaches, have dozens of playoff appearances and multiple Super Bowl victories.
That is a great deal of NFL brainpower. Especially when you look at Belichick and Kelly. Belichick is the best coach of all time who stays vibrant by studying the college game. Kelly just left that universe and fancied himself, I believe, as someone who could fix Tebow.
But not even a genius, and someone who thinks he's one, could merge the idea of Tebow and the reality of Tebow into one workable image.
It's possible the Eagles bring back Tebow at some point later in the season. It's also possible some other team is fooled by Tebow's mostly prosthetic allure. He is a powerful, seductive force. There's no doubting that.
But in all likelihood, this is it. It's over for Tebow and the NFL.
This is what I'll get from some:
—You're a Tebow hater.
—He played well in the preseason.
I look at Tebow not through malicious or blind eyes. This is strictly football—and while, again, Tebow has had his NFL moments, he has never truly been an NFL quarterback.
Some fans, and even coaches, have wanted Tebow to succeed because of everything they perceive him to stand for. They've ignored his football handicaps—one of the biggest being his inability to digest a defense post-snap—and embraced the phenomenon.
This is why the Jets signed him. They wanted the circus and potential ticket sales. In New York, Tebow was an unmitigated disaster.
No, this isn't even close to personal. This is the truth. It certainly isn't anti-Christian, as I've been accused of. It's solely anti-bad quarterback.
And this preseason? He looked better, with an improved throwing motion, but there were still the same Tebow problems: missed open receivers, indecision post-snap and taking bad sacks.
At his press conference, broadcast on the NFL Network, Kelly said Tebow "just needs more playing time." That's a nice way of saying Tebow wasn't good enough to make the roster.
"Tim's really progressed, but we didn't feel like he was good enough to be the '3' right now," Kelly said. "He just needs to get out there and get more reps."
Keep in mind the Eagles will have three quarterbacks on their roster. That tells you a great deal. Kelly wanted Tebow to make it, but after watching him, he just couldn't keep him.
Not to mention that in the preseason, Tebow was going against mostly backups, many of whom won't be in the league either.
When Tebow came into the league some five years ago, it was a totally different time in the NFL. The league, of course, had experience defending running quarterbacks and had done so for decades against names like Steve Young, Randall Cunningham and Mike Vick.
The read-option that Tebow ran with the Broncos, however, was something relatively new to NFL defenses then. Tebow was able to take advantage of that fact, of that narrow window, when NFL teams were still figuring it out.
Then NFL teams did, but Tebow was still Tebow. As other quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, covered in talent and smarts, were able to take advantage of their various abilities with the read-option, Tebow never grew. He stayed stagnant because of his inability to pass accurately.
That is what the teams that signed Tebow seemed to forget. Or, maybe, they were so enthralled by his potential that they wanted to forget. The read-option only works if the quarterback is a legitimate passing threat.
Teams still gave him chances because they always thought they could fix Tebow. They could combine the dream and the reality into a solid product.
But no one ever could. Not Belichick, not Fox, not Kelly. No one.
And that means it's probably over for Tebow and the NFL.