It’s unclear at the moment if Jets quarterback Tim Tebow will even be in uniform today in Jacksonville.
But that doesn’t stop many Jaguars fans from wondering what might have been if the local team had drafted the local quarterback in 2010.
After starring at Nease High and the University of Florida, Tebow’s still a big enough deal in Jacksonville that they pulled off some of the tarps at EverBank Field to sell more seats today. And Jaguars fans still wonder what his impact would have been if they had chosen him instead of defensive tackle Tyson Alualu in the first round.
“What would Archie Manning had been if the Saints had won the Super Bowl?” said Jags fan Raef Godwin, the director of advertising operations for the nearby PGA Tour office, via Ben Shpigel of the New York Times. “New Orleans would have had a statue 40 feet high of him. Here, with Tebow, it would have been 80.”
Of course, the elder Manning comparison is valid for more than local ties, because it’s extremely unlikely the Jags as presently constructed, with Tebow under center, would have been terribly good.
But they’d have certainly moved a lot of merchandise, and created a reason for fans to come watch.
The Tebow hysteria was such that the governor of Florida at the time lobbied for the team to draft him. And when Shad Khan bought the team, he told a local radio station he’d have “100 percent” taken Tebow.
That might be why Jags general manager Gene Smith declined an interview request from the Times, as it’s truly a no-win situation for him, even if Alualu develops into a star and Tebow continues to underwhelm.
That doesn’t keep the locals from talking.
“How good a player would he have been, and would his impact have been sustainable?” Jacksonvile sports radio host Frank Frangie said. “Get me 100 people, and you’ll get 100 different opinions, all passionate. Either that, or you’ll get two opinions 50 times.”
All for a guy who might not even play today.