Is Tim Tebow the Celebrity More Trouble Than Tim Tebow the Player Is Worth?

Ryan AlfieriCorrespondent IIIDecember 1, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 22:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets during warm ups before the start of their game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on November 22, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Tim Tebow has netted 126 yards for the New York Jets on offense and special teams combined in 2012.

A press conference, a fourth- and seventh-round pick, daily media updates and an imaginary quarterback controversy for a net of 126 yards.

Somehow, I think the Jets could have gotten more production for a lot less.

Tebow’s lack of production for the Jets is hardly his fault. After all, most backup quarterbacks don’t even see the field.

Tebow’s unique skill set has at least given the coaches creative ideas by which to use him. He is also the victim of a drop on what would have been a long gain to Jason Hill against the Texans.

At this point, Tebow is who he is always going to be: a great competitor, a terrific leader, a strong runner and someone who knows the option offense. He may improve marginally as a passer, but only to a certain extent.

Why was there such a small market for Tebow when the Broncos were willing to ship him out of town? Besides the Jets, only the Jaguars, located in Tebow’s hometown of Jacksonville and able to use him to simply sell tickets, were interested. How many other first-round quarterbacks still working on their rookie contract and coming off a trip to the playoffs are available for a pair of late-round picks?

John Elway, president of the Broncos, obviously wanted a more professional passer, which was why he brought in Peyton Manning. However, passing ability was hardly the only reason why the Broncos were so eager to ship him out of town after bringing the Broncos on an unlikely trip to the playoffs last year.

His cult-like following and celebrity status make Tebow more than just a football player; he is a global icon. The Jets had to have known this, which only makes their decision to bring him in more confusing.

Rex Ryan has made numerous references to the fact that they missed Brad Smith in last year’s offense, which has some validity. In 2009 and 2010, Brad Smith produced 18 points each year as a Wildcat quarterback and a kick returner. The Jets believed they could use Tebow to replace him, but they made two major miscalculations.

For one, Tebow is not nearly the same athlete that Brad Smith is. Brad Smith can make people miss; Tebow just stumbles into them. Brad Smith also stretches defenses.

However, where the Jets really miscalculated is the effect he would have off the field. The Jets have always had a tremendous faith in Rex Ryan’s ability to handle any locker room situation, but Tebow’s presence is starting to wear on this team.

Seemingly every day, Rex Ryan is asked some question about his backup quarterback, which is probably the last thing on his mind when he is preparing for the next opponent. He is concerned with finding a way to beat the Cardinals' exotic blitz schemes, and he has to answer a handful of questions about his backup quarterback’s injury situation.

Now that their season is falling apart, a number of players have started to criticize Tebow (via the Daily News). This was even the case on last year’s Broncos team, a team that was revived with Tebow under center. Receiver Demaryius Thomas talked about “Tebow Time” taking its toll on the locker room:

Everything on ESPN was all about Tim. That bothered some players, too, because they would say, 'Tim Tebow Time.' I felt like it was a team thing. If it wasn't for the defense most of the time, there wouldn't be no supposed 'Tim Tebow Time.'


This is exactly why players went out of their way to rip Tebow in the first place. They saw what happened in Denver last year and did not want their team to turn into a sideshow. If they were going to lose, they would rather lose like a regular, professional football team because even if they had success, Tebow would have gotten all the credit.

Tebow's role, at this point, is almost being forced, as if the Jets are finding excuses to justify putting him in the game. 

Where the Jets have gone wrong is not their assessment of Tebow’s character, as Tebow, by all accounts, is a terrific person and great teammate. The Jets are just the latest victim of Tebowmania, and they are getting nothing in return for going through the ordeal.

And they have no one to blame but themselves.