Tebowmania Heads East: What to make of the Jets’ deal

The New York Jets have (officially) acquired Tim Tebow, the highly scrutinized quarterback from the Denver Broncos, and perhaps the most polarizing figure in all of sports.

Tebow, the former University of Florida standout, stepped into the spotlight last season in Denver, taking over the 1-4 Broncos and leading them into the AFC’s Divisional Playoff Round, where he was beaten by Tom Brady and the Patriots, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in a dramatic overtime game along the way.

However, Tebow’s on field success was only half the story. It has been well documented that Tebow’s style and throwing motion were not up to par with other successful quarterbacks, including prototypes such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. For many of his starts, he looked as if he was playing three quarters with his helmet on backwards, and would then turn it on late.Tebow made multiple 4th Quarter comebacks to bring Denver to the playoffs. Combine that with the fact that he wears his religionon his sleeve, and you’ve got yourself one polarizing figure.

Cue Tebowmania; one of the most insane frenzies any athlete has ever seen. From “Tebowing” becoming a national phenomenon to Saturday Night Live referencing Tebow in one of their comedy skits, it was nearly impossible to escape the coverage that he was getting.

Unfortunately for Tebow, once Peyton Manning became a Free Agent, the Broncos’ plans went in a different direction. Now where does that leave Tebow?

Where else? New York City.

The Jets traded two draft picks (a fourth rounder and a sixth rounder) to Denver for a seventh rounder and Tim Tebow in return. As if the Jets haven’t seen enough media attention the past few years, why not add the sport’s most polarizing figure into the equation? And of course in typical Tebow fashion, the trade made a comeback towards the end, with the Jets and Broncos settling contract disputes and Tebow choosing the spotlight of the Big Apple rather than his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, about nine hours after news of the trade originally broke.

The story (or “saga” as it had been referenced by ESPN) began early this afternoon, when news broke that Gang Green had acquired Tebow. Naturally, social media networks of all kind were sent into a frenzy. “Tebow to the Jets” was a top trend on Twitter for much of the afternoon. However, it was later reported that the Jets and Broncos had agreed to the deal before going over some financial issues, including which team was to pay the five million dollar bonus he was owed.

As the day progressed, however, it seemed as if the issues were less about financials and more about giving Tebow the decision as to where he wanted to play. By about 8 pm, ESPN’s Adam Schefter (who originally broke news of the deal) reported that the Broncos were giving Tebow the opportunity to choose his destination.

Jets fans, regardless of their opinion of the move, (and believe me, EVERYONE has an opinion on this move) were stunned by the developments. If given the chance to go and play for their hometown team, who wouldn’t take that opportunity and, quite literally, run with it?

Apparently, Mr. Tebow.

The deal was finalized at about 9 pm, and Tim Tebow is officially a New York Jet. The Jets and Broncos will split Tebow’s five million dollar bonus, and Tebowmania is heading east: to the nation’s biggest media market.

So now that Tim Tebow is actually here, what on earth does it all mean?

Well, as with any move, there are absolutely positives and negatives that come along with his acquisition. We’ll take you through what it could potentially mean moving forward for the New York Jets.

Being a Jets fan, starting with the negatives seems like the obvious things to do.

  • First and foremost, Tim Tebow is truly not that great of a passing quarterback. Last time I checked, as a quarterback, passing the ball tends to be fairly important. An awkward, looping throwing motion and a 47.3% career passer rating does not really scream success as a professional quarterback..
  • Another reason why this could be a problem for the Jets is the fact that they already have a quarterback; one that just signed an extension keeping him with the franchise through 2016, at a $58.25 million price tag. Mark Sanchez, who led the Jets to back to back AFC title games his first two seasons, fell on hard times last year. Under his leadership, the team failed to reach the postseason, which did not sit well with a fanbase promised a Super Bowl by Head Coach Rex Ryan for a third straight season. Although Sanchez was just given an extension by the team, his confidence will surely take a hit with the addition of Tim Tebow, and if Sanchez is going to improve, he will certainly need confidence from everyone in the organization.
  • And that brings us to the biggest potential issue: the absolute Media Circus that will be the 2012 Jets season. The aforementioned Rex Ryan certainly attracts the media enough on his own, with his bold predictions and apparent inability to shut his mouth. The Jets also have players, such as Antonio Cromartie and Bart Scott, who do their fair share of talking, which attracts nothing but more media attention. Adding Tim Tebow (who can’t take a step without ESPN airing it) to this locker room may put this team over the edge “personality” wise, with every single thing involving the team being aired on every sports network imaginable. This isn’t always a bad thing, but after watching the cross-town Giants fly under the radar and win Super Bowl XLVII, you would think the Jets would want to follow suit. Apparently not.

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed every Jets fan out there, let’s look at the positives that come with the addition of Tim Tebow.

  • Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Intangibles. Tim Tebow has more than anyone in the league. His work ethic,  toughness and will to win is matched by no other player in the league, which will certainly be a welcome addition into this locker room, which was one of the league’s worst last season, exemplified by the discontent between Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes during last season’s regular season finale in Miami. Adding Tebow’s character into the mix can only help the Jets on that front.
  • Now, let’s get to the actual on-field stuff. I mentioned earlier that this may shatter the confidence of Mark Sanchez. On the other hand, it may light a fire under him. After last year’s sub-par season and the addition of one of the league’s most popular players, Sanchez cannot feel too comfortable, which may do him well. Sometimes, competition brings out the best in people, and the Jets and their fans are certainly hoping for more out of Sanchez next season.
  • One more positive that can be taken from the acquisition of Tim Tebow is the reintroduction of an effective Wildcat offense into the Jets’ playbook. The addition of Tony Sparano, the pioneer of the Wildcat, as Offensive Coordinator combined with the tough running ability Tebow brings to the table may provide a welcome wrinkle into Gang Green’s offense, one that they sorely missed after Wide Receiver/Wildcat Quarterback Brad Smith signed with division rival Buffalo.

At the end of the day, no one can really be sure as to how impactful the trade of Tim Tebow to the Jets will be when it comes to on field production. Will he provide enough of an offensive spark to outweigh the inevitable controversy that follows him wherever he goes? No one can be sure. One thing can be promised, however. The 2012 New York Jets will not be lacking entertainment. So, Jets fans, I say buckle up and try to enjoy the ride. Good or bad, “Tebowmania” in New York will be something to remember forever.