Let’s Talk Tebow

Judging by the reaction, the Jets just signed a Christian missionary who hadn’t played football since high school.

This isn’t the 49ers signing Renaldo Nehemiah and sticking him in a pair of shoulder pads because he could run really, really fast; this is the Jets signing a player who has talent that may not translate directly to playing quarterback in the NFL.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have use on and off the field.

Of course the Jets may be trying to sell tickets and merchandise, but Tebow isn’t a novelty like Eddie Gaedel or a silly freakshow like Michael Jordan deciding to play baseball. He can play. It’s just that his skills translate differently from the classic pocket passer that John Elway was and would clearly prefer as evidenced by his decision to sign Peyton Manning and trade away Tebow.

Is it the joke that the multitude of football experts in the media, on Twitter and Facebook and everywhere else are implying?

No.

Will it work?

Who knows?

Much like the attempts to separate Tebow from his religion and following, you can’t pigeonhole him as anything because he’s many things. To make the statement, “if he were just another everyday football player” is a waste of time and energy. He is what he is with everything—good and bad—that accompanies it. His piety is apparently sincere and fans have taken to him because of that. He’s also an interesting experiment on the field.

The concept that he’s going to make current Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez’s job harder by placing a target on his back from minute one is true, but so what? Sanchez has been inconsistent and if his rumored questionable work habits are accurate, there’s nothing wrong with a little pressure regardless of where it comes from and why. Jets fans are going to be screaming for Tebow not because they think he can play; not because they think the Jets will be better with him than Sanchez; but just to be obnoxious and get a reaction.

It’s not an indictment of Jets’ fans because fans everywhere would do the same thing. Had the Broncos kept Tebow, it would’ve happened with Manning if his recovery didn’t look to be complete and he was playing like it. And that’s Peyton Manning.

That the Jets functioned with backups that were non-threats (and aged Mark Brunell and Kellen Clemens) served to give Sanchez security in his job that he has yet to earn. Joe Montana had Steve Young behind him. The fans called for Young and Bill Walsh benched Montana in favor of Young, inviting Montana’s understated wrath.

It’s the way things are. There’s no loyalty. It’s a business.

Is it a bad move?

Is it a good move?

Depending on whether or not it works, we’ll see.

To think this is a “ridiculous” decision is based on outside interpretation. The Jets supposed failure to read through Tebow’s contract was used as a hammer to beat the organization up, but it appears to have been a misunderstanding and media play on the part of the Broncos.

If the way things were “always done” was the basis of everything that happens in the future, NFL players would be wearing leather helmets and working in sporting goods stores in the off-seasons; there would be no free agency; there wouldn’t have been any black quarterbacks, head coaches or front office people; the forward pass would never have been implemented; and no one would watch the NFL because it’d be too boring and tied to the early part of the 20th Century.

To me there’s nothing wrong with bringing a high-character talent into a lockerroom that had grown toxic. The reasons are irrelevant. Tebow isn’t coming in bible-thumping as his mandate. He’s a football player and should be treated as such.

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  1. #1 by norm depalma on March 22, 2012 - 9:20 pm

    Re. Tebow: Thanks Paul for once again injecting some clear headed thought into the discordant discourse.
    I haven’t seen many of Tebow’s games but theoretically there is definitely room for a qb who can scramble and who can throw a deep ball, even if he does lack touch and form for the middle and short yard passing game. And , in fact, he did go 8-5 or so as a starter last year.
    Let’s remember that until the 49er west coast offense, qb’s thrived with those skills. A long tosser opens up the short and medium field for scrambles. And vice versa. And while the similar Michael Vick experiment has never fully succeeded (largely because of his frailty), there are definite possibilities for success for Tebow.
    That being said, i am pretty sure the Jets will not game plan properly for him (even if he does replace Sanchez) and the Tebow experiment will fail here too.
    And I think with another couple of astute drafts by the Giants genius GM, the G-Men will probably win another 2 super bowls by the end of Eli’s career.

    • #2 by admin on March 23, 2012 - 2:04 am

      I do understand the criticisms. The organization is run haphazardly and without a clear plan; but to make it sound as if it’s the plucking of a mascot just for the sake of selling a few jerseys is crazy. He’s talented and someone has to figure a way to use him and maximize his attributes.

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