For weeks, I’ve been pushing the Tebow-to-Jacksonville or Tebow-to-Miami theory if/when Peyton Manning picks the Broncos. Not long after that the “if” has become a “when,” I reiterated that idea, throwing out the Patriots as an option that at first blush looked like a ridiculous proposition but given the presence of former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels and head coach Bill Belichick (close friend of Tebow’s former Florida coach, Urban Meyer) and in light of Belichick’s penchant for outside-the-box thinking, it makes plenty of sense to make Tebow into something other than a quarterback.
But are there other not-so-obvious destinations? Teams that shouldn’t be interested but, when considering all factors, maybe should be.
It’s a given that any team that acquires Tebow, whether he’s traded or, quite possibly, cut would face a significant decision: (1) install Tebow as the starting quarterback and design an offense that suits his strengths and minimizes his weaknesses; (2) make him a backup, part-time quarterback (which would require one playbook for Tebow and one for the “real” quarterback); or (3) move him to a new position. On the other side of the coin, Tebow will generate significant interest, not just in football circles but in the mainstream media. Ultra-casual fans who watch only the Super Bowl will start following Tebow’s new team. It will be an opportunity to craft a truly national brand.
So taking those important business realities into account, let’s consider the teams that should at least have the conversation regarding whether there’s a way to bring Tebowmania to town without unnecessarily undermining football interests — and notwithstanding Brian Billick’s warning about the Broncos’ effort to move Tebow: “If they don’t want him, why should I?”
And so which teams should consider Tebow, either as a full-time quarterback (not likely), part-time gimmick quarterback (more likely) or “football player” to be used at a position to be determined (most likely)?
1. The Rams.
They volunteered to play in England in part because they believe that it will make them like the Cowboys and Steelers. It won’t.
Throw in the ongoing struggles to sell tickets (sellouts undoubtedly come from owner Stan Kroenke buying up the unsold seats at 34 cents on the dollar) and a possible move to Los Angeles, and Tebow makes plenty of sense wearing horns from a creature other than, you know, the devil.
2. The Vikings.
Speaking of horns, Tebow could help maximize local interest during what could be a lame-duck season in Minnesota. The Vikings are getting no closer to getting a new stadium built. Tebowmania could be the thing that gets it done.
3. The Bengals.
Wanna sell those empty seats at Paul Brown Stadium? Put Tebow in orange and black.
He’s relatively inexpensive, and he’d help owner Mike Brown shed, to some extent, the perception that he isn’t interested in doing something bold.
4. The Saints.
What better way to push the Bountygate mess off the front page than to give coach Sean Payton a unique weapon?
Once, of course, Payton’s likely suspension ends.
5. The Eagles.
If coach Andy Reid can’t turn Tebow into a traditional passer, no one can.
Given what Reid did with Mike Vick, the Eagles may make the most sense of any team.
6. The Cowboys.
America’s Team can’t be America’s Team without the most popular NFL player in America.
They’d have more than 100,000 for every home game — assuming they can get enough seats installed in time.
7. The Steelers.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley would surely love nothing more than to be the guy who finds a way to get the most out of Tebow.
Especially since his nemesis Josh McDaniels got fired before he could really try.
8. The Colts.
Concerned that fans won’t show up to watch a crappy team? Add Tebow. They’ll be there.
9. The Buccaneers.
The Bucs bought several big-name (and big-money) free agents in order to fill up a half-empty stadium.
For a lot less money, they could sell the place out every week by adding Tebow.
10. The Chiefs.
Spurned by Peyton Manning an developing a penchant for taking quality players cast aside by division rivals, why not give Tebow the chance to return to Denver once per year?