In one year, Tim Tebow has gone from a pro football hero to an athlete without a team.
While the shelf life of quarterbacks in the National Football League can sometimes be relatively short, the release of Tim Tebow should be a red flag for any young signal caller.
At this time last year, Tim Tebow was more than just a professional athlete. He was a role model, a sex symbol and a pop culture icon. Suddenly, Tebow seems misplaced, troubled and potentially finished as an NFL quarterback.
The speculation of Tim Tebow playing for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League would bring with it horrible results.
In the last decade and a half, former Division I quarterback superstars like Todd Marinovich, Tommie Frazier and Eric Crouch all failed at the CFL level. Even running back Ricky Williams spent one season with the Toronto Argonauts and struggled.
Tebow would simply be the next in a long line of casualties at the CFL level. With a wider field and a bigger ball, the CFL offense is built on the passing game.
Not really Tebow’s specialty.
In reflecting on his tenure with the New York Jets, it was a difficult period in which no one in the organization knew how to handle him or his popularity. Through no fault of his own, Tebow was mired in a quarterback controversy with Mark Sanchez. Tebow became a scapegoat for a team that had imploded.
With the selection of Geno Smith in the 2013 NFL Draft, it was a harbinger of things to come for Tebow. Unfortunately, his release came at a very bad time and the Jets could have handled it better. With his release coming a few days after the draft, teams had already signed several undrafted free agents, making it difficult for Tebow to be signed elsewhere.
As speculation looms that Tebow may never play in the NFL again, it is a sad statement on the lack of patience that many franchises have in pro sports today. When one considers how often players with drug abuse problems have been given second chances, how can Tebow be considered washed up?
Ricky Williams is a prime example of an athlete that was given several chances despite showing disloyalty to the Dolphins by walking out of training camp.
Tebow’s career would need to go in the same direction as Steve Young’s in the early stage of his career. After a disastrous start in Tampa Bay, Young had the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest quarterbacks: Joe Montana. Despite serving a backup role, Young had a strong coach in Bill Walsh that believed in him and shielded him from criticism.
While that situation did not end well (to be fair, Walsh was not the coach at that time), it certainly saved Young’s career.
The Jets situation is one that has unfairly tarnished Tebow.
With due deference to Rex Ryan, he was not the right coach to handle this situation. Tebow needs a coach that can handle the criticism while protecting him. A coach like Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers would be ideal because he is used to dealing with larger than life personalities like Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison.
Another coach that would be able to handle having Tebow on his roster is Bill Belichick.
As the head coach of one of the premier franchises in the NFL, the media would certainly be more respectful towards Belichick if he decided to have Tebow on the New England Patriots.
The Patriots have a great team culture and one of the best owners in football in Robert Kraft. While Tebow is an unfortunate magnet for controversy, he would obviously know his role with New England (as it would be his best chance to win a Super Bowl).
Realistically, one more failure would spell the demise of his promising career. The opportunity to occupy a backup role with such an accomplished team would remove attention from him while defusing any potential controversies.
Tebow may never be able to fully escape the spotlight, but he has proven to be a team player and a hard-working athlete.
Those are qualities worthy of another chance in the NFL.