Tebow and The Jets: It's official!
The Broncos traded quarterback Tim Tebow to the Jets one day after signing prized free agent Peyton Manning. (Mark Leffingwell/Reuters/Files)
Oh Lord! Tim Tebow in New York?
Traded. And, of all places, to the blasphemous, foul-mouthed, den of insanity that is New York; into a hall of back-biting, ego-centric confusion that is the Jets locker room.
Talk about getting tossed into the lion’s den.
The Broncos confirmed Wednesday night that they had dealt Tebow and a 2012 seventh-round draft pick to the Jets for a fourth-and sixth-round pick in April’s draft. They actually had to make the trade twice, with the Jets untrading Tebow somewhere in between.
Welcome to life in the Rex Ryan Big-top.
Just hours after the stunned the football world around 1 p.m. by announcing they had acquired Tebow, reports surfaced that the deal hadn’t been registered at the league office and that the Broncos and Jets couldn’t agree on who would pay a $5-million US bonus.
The Jacksonville Jaguars moved back into the picture. Tebow’s brother, Robby, told reporters at a pro-am golf tournament at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, that the snag has talks “almost back to square one.”
The Rams were reported to be waiting in the wings.
Then, just around 9 p.m. word leaked out again. The Jets really were going to try to put a round peg into a square hole, introducing the outwardly religious zeal of the overachieving Tebow into a team ragged, underachievers.
Broncos vice president of football operations, John Elway, admitted Tebow was special. But evidently not special to keep him around for Peyton Manning to tutor.
“Tim left an extraordinary mark on this organization. His time in Denver will always hold a special place in Broncos history,” said Elway.
Denver head coach John Fox said, “Tim earned the trust of his teammates and coaches while inspiring our fans. His competitiveness, clutch performances and will to win played an instrumental role in our team ... The poise and focus Tim displayed were remarkable and speak volumes for the strength of his character.”
In truth, they’re glad to see the back of Tebowmania. Had he stayed it would always have lurked in the shadows of a team that now belongs — for better or worse — to Manning.
Tebow goes from a Broncos’ team that believed in him, if not his religiousity, to a team that doesn’t believe in anything. Especially itself.
He goes from a fan base that idolized him to one where he would become a polarizing force. The bleating has already begun.
Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, who led the Jets to their only Super Bowl title in 1969, was among those unhappy with the trade. “I’m just sorry that I can’t agree with this situation. I think it’s just a publicity stunt. I can’t go with it. I think it’s wrong,” Namath told ESPN in New York. “I don’t think they know what they’re doing over there.”
Initial public reaction mostly ranged from incredulity to disbelief. Just two weeks ago the Jets had signed Mark Sanchez to a three-year, $40.5-million extension. Drew Stanton was brought in as the backup.
So why Tebow? Why now? And why to a team whose head coach was called out by his own mother for the peppery language he was using. Guess a little chapel time with the Reverend Tim will cure that. But Sanchez already is playing with a shaky psyche. Now he has Tebowmania to deal with as well as Santonio Holmes.
Never mind running back, the MVP next season needs to the club shrink.
“I think for the Jets this is an abject disaster,” former player Mark Schlereth said on ESPN 1050.
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie tweeted: “Y bring Tebow in when we need to bring in more Weapons for @Mark_Sanchez let’s build the team around him.”
Yeah, this is going to work.
It doesn’t seem practical to invite another frenzied, New York-media distraction to come sweeping like a whirling dervish through an already fractured, fragile locker room.
But, into this maelstrom of jealousy and ill will steps Tebow.
The Jets see him as a change-of-pace player with the ability to run the wildcat offence. They’ve used the wildcat in recent years, but cut back last season with the departure of Brad Smith.
The Jets. Tebow. Complexities Twins. Maybe despite all their differences they do go together.
There is nothing on the surface to hint that it could work. It will take a miracle ...
And, then, remember?
Miracles are Tebow’s specialty. He engineered six improbable comebacks to get the Broncos into the playoffs. As a player, he is more than the sum of his parts. As a pocket passer he may have the footwork of a plough horse.
Tim Tebow may not be a great NFL quarterback.
But Tim Tebow is a good football player, and an even better person in the locker room. The Jets didn’t have enough of either last year.
People may not agree with Tebow the preacher, but it is hard not to believe in him as a person and there is little doubting his sincerity. He’s class. He’s a winner. He embraces being a role model.
That’s something you don’t see every day. He is the antithesis of Bountygate.
Tebow, rather than Stanton, makes the Jets a better football team. The Jets want to run the ball, and Tebow can run — rushing for 660 yards last season, including a 20-yard touchdown in the final minute to beat the Jets.
True. The circus is in town. But, then, this is New York, where the city never sleeps and the circus never really leaves anyway. Chances are nobody here is going to care whether or not their quarterback does the Tebow. As long as he’s doing it in the end zone.