Tebowmania has captivated the Football world since Tim took over for the Denver Broncos in Week 6 of last year. Denver was a miserable 1-4, on their way to another losing season when Tebow was given his chance. It was clear that Tebow would have one game to prove himself. As he did all season, Tebow waited until the 4th quarter to step up his game. The Broncos were down 15-0 to the winless Dolphins when Tebow led them to a 18-15 overtime victory. Many including myself saw the win as a stroke of luck, not Tebow’s skill that decided the game.
However, Tebow took the Broncos to an 8-5 record with another amazing comeback over the Chicago Bears. In between he had comeback victories over the Chiefs, Chargers, and Jets. In his victory of the Chiefs Tebow completed only 2 passes for the game; unheard of in the NFL. Tebowmania was in full effect, and teams started to take notice. The hype was so dominant that it overshadowed the fact that Tebow’s Broncos lost their last 3 games with Tim failing to post a QB rating over 40.0 the last 2 games. Thanks to another incomprehensible collapse by the Oakland Raiders, the Broncos had limped into a first round match-up with the Steelers.
The Steelers entered the game as the favorites, but were suffering from injuries to their key players, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Broncos managed to get the game into overtime and Tebow needed one play to seal the deal. While his fortunes were not as good against the Patriots the next round, Tebow did post an impressive QB rating of 90.0 with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.
To most Denver fans, Tebow was a miracle. An angel sent from the football gods to give them something to cheer about during the 2011 season and into the future. While Tebow has his fair share of critics, he also has a large fanbase. That fanbase did not include John Elway who shipped Tebow to the Jets for a few future draft picks. The move was music to his critics ears, leading to grand gestures of how last season was a flaw, and how Tebow is easily the worst passer in the NFL. Tebow went from hero to zero in only a few months.
That brings us to the suitors of Mr. Tebow. The New York Jets, whose locker room best resembled the Jersey Shore, once again failed to live up to their coach’s enormous expectations. Starting quarterback Mark Sanchez failed to keep his receiving core happy and eventually lost control of the offense. Sanchez posted a completion percentage of 56% while throwing 18 interceptions. Despite a quality defense, the Jets failed to back up their weekly trash talk, finishing at 8-8 and failing to make the playoffs.
To make things worse, the Jets had to watch their rival Giants and Patriots battle it out in the Super Bowl. Needless to say, Rex and the Jets were feeling the pressure. This leads us to the debate as to whether the Jets acquired Tebow to help them win or to simply take the focus away from the Giants and Patriots as well as their embarrassing performance last season. We all know how much Rex Ryan loves to write checks that his team cannot cash and build his own ego, but would the Jets go so far as to trade for a player simply to win the media battle? Many Tebow critics support this claim, seeing that as mediocre as Mark Sanchez was last season, the California kid is far better and gives the Jets a better chance to win than Tebow. There is no doubt that media rules New York and Boston and that the constant Tebow media may play into the heads of the Giants and Patriots. If this is the case, then Tebow may be the greatest media tactic used in the NFL.
On the flip side of the argument, The Jets new offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano, has specialized in running the Wildcat offense, and believes that Tebow could maximize its potential. At the very least, teams will have to spend time in practice going over how to defend the Wildcat. Even if Tebow never runs a snap of it, the Jets are still making their opponents work harder. Another reason why the Jets may actually be using Tebow on the field is to push Mark Sanchez. Many believe that Sanchez had too much job security and wasn’t maximizing his full potential. Its easy to say that with ESPN filming every practice this off season, Mark has had to work more than ever before. There may be no other player in the NFL that puts more dedication and hard work in than Tebow, so using him to push Sanchez may be very effective.
Needless to say, Tebowmania will either continue or die out this season. If Sanchez can command the Jets offense with poise and achieve success, it is likely that Tebow will become a full-time special teamer. However, if the Jets struggle to start the season, look for the Tebow hype to grow and eventually consume the Jets, costing them another season and potentially many of their jobs.
Let me know what you think of Tebowmania in the comments section! Is he simply a media ploy, or will the Jets offense thrive with him in command?