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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Will Tim Tebow reach the promised land?

It may seem a little disingenuous using a biblical reference to describe the latest situation surrounding New York Jets’ backup quarterback Tim Tebow but what would be the point in writing these things if you couldn’t have a little fun with it?

Besides, it kind of fits in a way. Especially when you consider how Tebow’s football odyssey has gone so far.

The funny thing is Tebow’s high school career started with a controversy similar to this one. Tebow was attending Trinity Christian and wanted the chance to compete for the starting quarterback job.

Tebow would not be granted his wish so he and his family decided to transfer him to nearby Nease High School. Tebow would win the starting job there and led his team to the state championship during his senior year.

Tebow would only travel an hour and a half to begin his college career at the University of Florida. He would help the Florida Gators win a national championship during his freshmen year playing as a backup and situational player.

Most people are aware of the rest of his numerous exploits while playing for the Gators.

He won the Heisman trophy twice, once as a sophomore. He also led Florida to another championship, broke numerous records and collected a ton of awards during his time there.

Despite Tebow’s many detractors and their lowly assessment of his skills, Tebow’s pro career has followed a similar pattern. Tebow was drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos even though most draft experts expected him to go much lower.

Tebow wasn’t expected to find much success in Denver but things changed during his second season with the team. He would replace starter Kyle Orton after Orton got the team off to a 1-4 start and led the team into the playoffs.

Tebow was also able to deliver the team a playoff victory by throwing the game-winning pass in their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Broncos were not willing to commit to Tebow long term though which is how he ended up with the Jets.

The Jets added Tebow via a trade during the off-season and talked as if they had big plans for him but none of those plans really came to fruition this season. The Jets claimed they would put together a Wildcat package in order to make use of Tebow’s skills but rarely used it or him during this season.

Tebow was sure not to make any waves despite his lack of playing time but even he was unable to suffer quietly through this last indignation.

Starting quarterback Mark Sanchez had been playing horribly this season and head coach Rex Ryan felt it was time to make a change at the position. Instead of giving Tebow the opportunity to compete for the position though, Ryan awarded the job to third-string quarterback Greg McElroy.

Now Tebow wants out of New York and who would blame him? All he wanted was a fair shot to win the job but it’s like he’s re-living his high school situation all over again.  

Although Sanchez was able to lead the Jets deep into the playoffs during his first two seasons in the league, there have always been questions about his decision-making and accuracy. During this past off-season, Tebow had the choice to either go to the Jets or back home and play for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Tebow actually chose to play for the Jets and I always believed he chose to go there because he felt that Sanchez would be easier to unseat than Jaguars’ starter Blaine Gabbert would be. Tebow probably thought the competition between him and Sanchez would be fairer than the one between him and Gabbert would be.

I agreed with Tebow in this regard.

Jacksonville was bringing in a new coach and new coaches are usually more inclined to build around a young quarterback like Gabbert. Even if Tebow did win the job in Jacksonville most people would think that his home-town fans pressured the organization into giving him the job rather than him earning it.

So Tebow decided to go where he felt he had the best chance to compete and to a team where he knew his playing time wouldn’t be affected by his super-loyal fan base. It was a smart and admirable decision on his part.

It would be an easy thing to say that he made the wrong choice but I don’t think he did. Sanchez faltered just as Tebow expected he would.

Gabbert bombed even worse than Sanchez did which is why many people will say that Tebow should have went there but going to Jacksonville now is a better situation for Tebow than if he would have asked to be traded there last off-season.

Gabbert failed but he failed on his own. Tebow’s presence in Jacksonville would have put every move Gabbert made under an intense microscope and that’s not a good position to put a young quarterback in.

Now that Gabbert has shown that he can’t get the job done though, bringing in Tebow actually seems like a better option. The best part about this situation is that Tebow won’t have to feel his popularity undermined Gabbert’s chances to win the job.

So if Tebow does return to Jacksonville then he’ll essentially be going home. Home to where his career started and back to the area where most of his football success occurred.

It also may be the only place left for him to get a chance to prove he can lead a team in the NFL which means that Jacksonville could represent a promised land of sorts for Tebow.

The Jet’s still hold Tebow’s rights though and have not expressed any desire to let him leave New York so getting back to Jacksonville may not happen very soon.

But most people feel it’s only a matter of time before the Jets either release or trade Tebow. If so word is that the Jaguars are definitely interested. 

Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.
Also check out these stories:

Maurice Jones-Drew didn’t win but neither did Jaguars

Nowhere to go but up for Jaguars’ Blaine Gabbert

Jets give Tebow an option weapon with Stephen Hill



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