Tim Tebow: Jets' Sudden Vault into Playoff Contention Bad News for Backup QB

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIDecember 10, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 21: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets completes drills before a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

It's nearly impossible to believe, but the New York Jets are suddenly in playoff contention, which means that backup quarterback Tim Tebow's likelihood of seeing extensive action has decreased.

With an ugly 17-10 road victory over the 2-11 Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14, Rex Ryan's boisterous bunch moved to 6-7, just one game behind in the AFC wild-card race.

Other than what seems like a fluky 35-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts earlier in the season, New York hasn't beaten a team with a winning record all year. The Jets have also endured injuries to their two best players in CB Darrelle Revis and WR Santonio Holmes.

Somehow, despite all the drama and the attacks from the vicious media, the Jets have scrapped their way to a 6-7 record.

As horrific as Mark Sanchez has been under center for the Jets for much of the season, apparently the organization doesn't feel Tebow can do any better.

Sanchez is already one of the most inaccurate passers in the league and doesn't show any signs of improving. His 6.5 yards per attempt is another pathetic statistic, as is his touchdown-to-interception ratio of 12-to-13.

The Jets are somewhat obliged to stick to Sanchez and his three-year, $40 million deal, which ESPN's John Clayton called the third-worst contract in the NFL.

Incredibly, the news of Tebow's status for Sunday's game reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter was retweeted 540 times, which is either a sad sign of how far Tebow has fallen since last year's glory or an indication of how strongly fans feel he should be given a chance:

Jets QB Tim Tebow is active and the backup. Jets QB Greg McElroy is inactive.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 9, 2012

So let's try to justify why Tebow should get a shot.

Criticize Tebow all you want for his inaccuracy, but he is definitely more judicious with the football than Sanchez. Plus, his 6.38 yards per attempt from 2011 with the Denver Broncos aren't that bad when stacked up with the total Sanchez has compiled this year.

Tebow ran for 660 yards and 5.4 yards per carry in running the No. 1 rushing offense in the league, yet despite the ground-and-pound philosophy of Ryan, he stubbornly sticks with Sanchize.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Tebow averaged 8.4 yards per attempt in the fourth quarter and overtime last season, including the playoffs. Ten of his 21 touchdowns came during that time, clearly indicating a clutch component to his game in hurry-up, must-score situations.

If the Jets weren't even willing to put him in the Jaguars game where Tebow would have been in front of a hometown crowd, it's even more unlikely they'll give him a shot down the stretch of the regular season. With three games left at Tennessee, home to San Diego and at Buffalo, it's feasible that the Jets can make the postseason even with the frequently incompetent Sanchez leading the offense.

For those still clamoring for Tebow, it seems that barring an injury and another cameo appearance from third-stringer Greg McElroy, the 2010 first-round pick won't get his chance.

The Tebow situation in New York is clearly not playing out how he imagined, as he has been relegated to punt protection duty and spot running plays that seem perfunctory and pointless.

Now he has been eliminated from the offensive game plan entirely from play-caller Tony Sparano, and the team's sudden relevance in the AFC playoff picture is nothing but bad news for Tebow Time.