Those of you who follow me in this space are probably wondering why I didn’t write something on this earlier today. And the reason is this: I was dumbfounded. I kept thinking that there had to be something about the New York Jets’ acquisition of Tim Tebow that I was missing — that the entire mainstream press was missing.
Now I know I wasn’t missing anything at all. The move is exactly as stupid as it appears to be.
And, by the way, everything I wrote over the last couple weeks about the Jets finally showing a strain of maturity and sense in not going harder after Peyton Manning was wrong.
Let’s start with what should be the obvious: Tim Tebow is not — let’s emphasize not — a backup quarterback, someone to “push” Mark Sanchez to greater heights. Tim Tebow wants to be a starting quarterback and will be bitterly unhappy in any other role. And after rescuing the Denver Broncos and taking them to the second round of the playoffs last season, he deserves to be a starter.
There is no chance that mark Sanchez will be happy as a backup, and if he fails in the starting role, he will be booed out of town by the fans and press. Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, a smarmy, mealy-mouthed hypocrite, gave a press conference just before Jon Stewart last night and said “both [Sanchez and Tebow ] are very clear on what their roles will be.”
Really? Then do tell us so we’ll know, and make sure you told them so they’ll know.
Tannenbaum also said that Tebow would be valuable in “other roles and packages.” Does that mean you are going to bring him in when the Jets are on the five-yard line and let him run the ball into the end zone? Does it mean you are going to use him to carry Gatorade or a clipboard?
Before this media bashing of Sanchez gets out of hand, let’s remember a couple of things. First, erratic as he was last year, he was a better passer than Tebow with 56.7 percent completion to Tebow’s 46.5 perfcent and an NFL passer rating of 78.2 to Tebow’s 72.9.
Mark Sanchez was good enough in the previous two seasons to have the Jets just one game away from the Super bowl. When the defense the running game and the offensive went south last year, the one how took the brunt of the blame for the team flop was Sanchez. Let’s also not forget that one game — that Christmas Eve game with the Giants — separated the two teams during the season.
Does anyone seriously think that with the Jets mediocre defense and horrible pass blocking that Tebow would have been more successful? Tebow can run, but he can’t block.
I have a horrible suspicion that when Tannenbaum says Tebow will be useful in other roles and packages, what he means is that Tebowmania, if they can get it cranked in a New York market that is cynical but desperate for a Jets football hero, will be a ploy for selling millions of dollars worth of jerseys and T-shirts, the same kind of windfall the franchise raked in when they signed Brett Favre four years ago.
In Tebow’s case, the profit margin will be even greater because his salary for this season is just a fraction of what they paid Favre.
I make so many jabs at Mike Lupica in this space that I have to acknowledge that he got it absolutely right in this morning’s column:
“Whatever the Jets say they’re doing, or think they are doing, they have creatd their very own quarterback controversy. That’s unless they think that their fans won’t be chanting Tebow’s name the first time Sanchez throws a couple to the wrong team.
“People already think of the Jets as a circus because of the way their coach talks and acts and the way some of their players talk and act and some of the other players they have brought in and the way their season ended. Now they bring a brand new circus to town.”
I’m not going to say I couldn’t have said it better myself, because I could have, but Lupica’s evaluation will do. All I can say is thank you to the New York Jets for supplying us writers with so much grist for the autumn mill.