Tim Tebow Can Still Lead the New York Jets into the Playoffs

John Shea@real_johnsheaContributor IIINovember 8, 2012

Tim Tebow gives the Jets the best chance to win.
Tim Tebow gives the Jets the best chance to win.Al Bello/Getty Images

Tim Tebow is the most over-analyzed athlete in professional sports, but that doesn't make him incapable of becoming a significant playmaker on a winning team.

Mark Sanchez is an over-scrutinized quarterback, unable to escape the death pit otherwise known as Tebow-mania.

The daunting question that has engulfed NFL analysts since the commencement of training camp is arguably not worthy of discussion. It doesn't matter who starts at quarterback for the New York Jets if the team collectively puts forth continuous bouts of inconsistency.

The Jets looked like a playoff team in defeat against the Patriots (5-3) in Week 7. They subsequently looked like a team battling for a top draft pick in a blistering loss to the rival Dolphins (4-4) in Week 8.

The only relevant viewpoint to this argument would be relatively obvious if head coach Rex Ryan opted to make a statement and unleash Tim Tebow in a crucial Week 10 matchup on the road against the Seahawks.

Tebow isn't unfamiliar to hostile conditions. In fact, he thrives in that brand of environment. Seattle flaunts perhaps the loudest football stadium in the nation and Tebow could prove to be the most poised quarterback on the Jets roster, regardless of his apparent inability to efficiently run a pro-style offense.

The Jets are two games under .500 while averaging just 21 points per game. Their sputtering offense is led by Sanchez, who has struggled mightily to complete 52.1 percent of his passes this season.

"Inefficient" would be a ghastly understatement in describing Sanchez's 2012 performance.

There are distinct differences between Sanchez and Tebow in terms of game-play, but the most compelling dynamic that separates both quarterbacks isn't tallied in a stat column.

Tim Tebow is a natural born leader and Mark Sanchez is not.

Tebow is a playmaker as opposed to a quarterback. His talents are bound by his instincts instead of skills.

Tebow is anxious, eager, and ready while standing attentive and underutilized on the sidelines. Sanchez has been exploited and exposed, chewing his mouth-guard while aimlessly reviewing his latest game-changing interception or fumble.

Sanchez has committed 15 turnovers this season and averages 6.38 yards per pass attempt, good enough to rank 28th out of 33 qualifying quarterbacks in that category.

The Jets' season has predictably reached the brink as they fly cross-country in a virtual must-win situation to keep their dismal playoff hopes alive, and Sanchez is headed full-flight into total calamity.

Tebow isn't a world beater, nor is he the true definition of what a "quarterback" is supposed to resemble, but he seemingly always finds a way to win, in spite of what experts say.

Mark Sanchez is the best “quarterback” on the Jets' roster, but that doesn't necessarily make him the best option behind center for the green and white at this juncture of the season.

Sanchez isn't the main source of the Jets' struggles. However, he also isn't the solution. Jets management surrounded the embattled quarterback with second-grade talent at best, limiting his capability to be consistently effective.

It's actually relatively surprising that Sanchez didn't fall off the planet after star receiver Santonio Holmes was lost for the season. After all, Sanchez’ number one wide-out is Jeremy Kerley.

This isn't about hammering nails into a coffin though. It's about what gives the Jets the best chance to win football games.

New York prides itself on maintaining a "ground and pound" mentality on offense. But starting running back Shonn Greene is averaging an inadequate 3.7 yards per carry. Sanchez has combined to launch 95 passes in the team's past two games because of the team’s lackluster rush attack, and has been sacked 18 times on the season.

Sanchez' lack of pocket mobility is a glaring issue for a team that has almost no chance in third-and-long situations. It’s likely that Tebow could limit the damage in pocket-collapsing situations, stunning defenses and using his brute force to move the chains.

Ryan's coaching staff has stubbornly stood by their overpaid starting quarterback since the preseason, dismissing the notion that perhaps Tebow could help the Jets win while ignorantly deflecting questions from reporters and analysts.

The Jets traded for Tebow because they wanted to add a new dynamic to a mediocre offense. Instead, they've added a distraction to a team that melted in front of the football world in Week 17 last season, failing to make the playoffs for the first time under Ryan.

The Jets could throw a wrench into the Seahawks' defensive game plan this Sunday by starting Tebow at quarterback. Ryan has refused to employ Tebow in non-wildcat formations on offense though, as the clamor for Tebow steadily grows louder each week.

Despite their 3-5 record, the Jets are still alive and in the hunt for a playoff spot. Five of the Jets’ final eight opponents in the regular season are under .500, offering the green and white a shimmer of hope.

But don’t expect Sanchez to lead the Jets to the promised land. The Jets need a leader and Tebow owns that title.

In a season engulfed with turmoil, Tebow can still rise to lift the Jets into football relevancy.