How the New York Jets Turned Tim Tebow from NFL QB to Circus Side Show

Jamal CollierAnalyst IIINovember 15, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 11:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets warms up prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 11, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The most pronounced memory of Tim Tebow’s 2011 NFL campaign is not how the Denver Broncos lost to the New England Patriots by a 45-10 score that just doesn’t seem like it should describe a playoff game.

It’s how he got to Foxboro in January that most seem to remember. Nevertheless, the New York Jets have turned Tebow from a polarizing NFL QB to a complete sideshow.

Denver won seven regular-season games with Tebow under center, including three overtime wins. Perhaps the most memorable Broncos victory last season was a 29-23 overtime thriller during which Tebow threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns while running for 50 yards and another score.

Would that have happened without all of the clamoring for Tebow to start for the Broncos? It’s impossible to say.

But Tebowmania is a real thing.

When the Jets traded for Tebow in the offseason, they also traded for the cloud of hysteria surrounding the popular former first-round pick. It was widely assumed that he would push Mark Sanchez for the starting quarterback job—or, at the very least, take regular snaps from the Wildcat formation.

It was a logical step, considering that Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano was the head coach of the 2008 Miami Dolphins: the team that successfully introduced the Wildcat formation to the NFL.

Instead, Tebow rarely sees the field on offense.

He’s a “punt protector”.

To expect anything less than a questioning reaction to that development from football fans is to be out of touch with reality. Of course, it isn’t necessarily the job of the coaching staff to acquiesce to who fans may or may not want to see at quarterback.

But it is its job to win football games—something that isn’t happening with Sanchez under center. Instead of trying a change at quarterback, head coach Rex Ryan has to make a weekly declaration that Sanchez is the team’s preferred signal-caller.

Where else does that happen? (Besides Philadelphia, which will see what life is like without Michael Vick momentarily.)

New York is drawing more attention on the basis of its personnel groupings than its record—something to which it won’t let Tebow contribute much. 


Follow Jamal on Twitter