Much can be said about the trade that sent Tim Tebow from the Broncos to, of all teams, the New York Jets. Actually, much already has been said. And much more will be said.
And much will continue to be said for as long as Tebow is a member of the team.
So why not say some stuff about it right now? I thought about coming up with 18 takes in honor of Frank Tripucka, but it’s late and I’m tired and if I start doing 18 takes for one thing then I need to do 18 takes for everything because I’m weird that way. Actually, I’m weird in a lot of ways.
But not nearly as weird as the trade that sent Tim Tebow from the Broncos to, of all teams, the New York Jets.
1. How’s this for a sense of urgency, Mark?
The Jets know that Mark Sanchez can, in the right situation, perform at a high level. After all, he won four road playoff games in his first two NFL seasons. But they can’t duplicate that sense of urgency during the regular season.
What better way to light a fire under his rear end than to bring the hottest name in the NFL to the Big Apple?
The Jets can claim that Tebow is the backup, and for now he is. But once Sanchez starts throwing interceptions, the chants of “Tebow” at MetLife Stadium will be so loud that they’ll hear them all the way back in Denver.
So it’s Sanchez’s job to lose. And plenty of people fully expect him to eventually lose it.
2. Introducing the T-Bone Offense.
Until Tebow becomes the full-time quarterback, he’ll be used in a version of the Wildcat package based on the things that worked best for him in Denver last year — the read-option, the traditional option, and the unexpected fake handoff followed by a long pass to a receiver sprinting down the field in single coverage because nine guys are at the line of scrimmage trying to stop the run.
While Sanchez will be the starter and Tebow will be the backup, the T-Bone Offense will be the offense Tebow runs whenever he’s on the field — whether it’s a surprise change of pace or Sanchez is injured or Sanchez is ineffective or it’s not a surprise change of pace after all but a regular appearance.
The starter is the guy who takes the field on the first offensive play of the game. So while Sanchez will (for now) have that role, Tebow will be used as much as the coaching staff chooses — and if he’s as effective for the Jets as he was against the Jets and against offensive coordinator Tony Sparano’s Dolphins last year, we may see Tebow far more often than we ever saw Brad Smith, even if Tebow technically is the backup.
3. Somewhere, Bill Belichick is smiling.
Everything the Jets do seems to be motivated by a desire to one-up the Patriots in their own division or the Giants in their own backyard. In this case, New England coach Bill Belichick has to be hoping that Tebow will become the starter before the first time the Pats and Jets play in 2012.
Last year, Belichick outscored Tebow’s Broncos 86-33. And so it’s fair to say that Belichick, even with an undermanned defense in 2012, has figured out how to stop Tebow.
Count on Belichick doing more of the same in 2012.
4. Jets barely avoid disaster.
Some Jets fans would say that the only thing worse than the team announcing that they’re trading for Tebow is the Jets announcing it twice. But in that strange period of limbo on Wednesday, it looked like the Jets’ failure to read Tebow’s contract would scuttle the trade because of salary advances paid by the Broncos that needed to be repaid by the Jets.
Failure to close the deal would have triggered a firestorm of criticism in New York. Yes, there will already be plenty of criticism. But it would have been much, much worse if the Jets had wanted him and then failed to get him because of negligence in the review of the documents.
5. The ultimate Odd Couple.
When Peyton Manning supposedly was considering the Jets (you know, back before the Jets “passed” on him), I said that Manning and Rex Ryan would be the ultimate odd couple.
I was wrong.
Rex and Tim Tebow make Felix Unger and Oscar Madison look like Bert and Ernie.
Sure, Tebow and his Buddy the Elf demeanor will always say and do the right things, enthusiastically. On Wednesday night, for example, he casually brushed off the fact that Rex has a penchant for dropping “F” bombs.
But that doesn’t mean Rex will be as comfortable being Rex in the presence of Tebow. And if Rex tries to change the way he is because he’s concerned he’ll make Tebow uncomfortable, Rex will be uncomfortable, and things could get even weirder than they otherwise would be.
Then again, they can always break the tension with a gosh darn snack.
6. Hard Knocks, Part II.
Speaking of gosh darn snacks, don’t the Jets now become the odds-on favorites for another season of Hard Knocks?
With Tebow and Santonio and Sanchez and Rex and Cromartie and the Incredible Hulk and all the other characters in that organization, a return visit would make the Jets an even bigger national attraction.
And it would be easy to justify. Tebow said Wednesday night that he became a fan of Rex Ryan by watching Hard Knocks two years ago.
If Rex’s antics can attract Tebow, they can attract anyone.
7. Santonio won’t be happy.
Speaking of Santonio, if he didn’t like the amount of balls flying his way with Sanchez last year, he’ll absolutely hate it when Tebow starts sailing the ball over Holmes’ head or, possibly, not throwing it at all.
That’s the major flaw in the Jets’ Tebow-driven renewed commitment to the “ground and pound” offense. They’ve decided to keep Santonio around for another year, which means they owe him millions in guaranteed money both this year and next year. Which means that unless they trade him to, say, the Broncos, they need to find a way to keep him happy.
He won’t be happy playing with Tebow.
8. Woody’s words look even more ridiculous.
Last week, Jets owner Woody Johnson claimed, presumably with a straight face, that the Jets “passed” on Peyton Manning.
So they passed on Peyton, but they fell all over themselves to get Tebow?
No one believed Johnson when he said what he said about Manning. Even fewer believe him now, if that’s even possible.
Then again, given the events in the NFL from the past few days, anything is possible.
9. Tebowmania may not translate to Broadway.
There’s a presumption that any team for which Tebow plays will inspire legions of Tebowmaniacs. But Jets fans hardly are sheep. And regardless of whether the Tebow approach is genuine or phony, Jets fans will be far more likely to assume that it’s an Eddie Haskell routine.
Regardless, few Jets fans seem prepared to assume that Tebow can walk on the Hudson River. In New York, he’ll attract more cynicism and attention and criticism than he ever imagined.
It’s unlikely that any of it will change him, but he ultimately may wish he’d been shipped home to Jacksonville.
10. The Jaguars could still be his destiny.
In Jacksonville, the owner wanted him but the football operation was at best ambivalent. In New York, the coaching staff and the front office were on the same page.
Eventually, if change comes in New York, Tebow could once again be out on his ear.
And Shad Khan will still be the owner of the Jaguars. And he’ll still want to get the tarps off the seats at EverBank Field.
And he’ll still be interested in bringing Tebow home.
It’s hard not to think that’s exactly how this eventually will end. Even though the Jags didn’t get him now, chances are they’ll get him later.
Or, depending on how the next season or two unfold, sooner.