History, in more ways than one, is what the Patriots have going for them with the apparent imminent signing of Tim Tebow. First, let’s rewind the tape of the cacophony of criticism leveled at Tebow the quarterback. Even amongst some of his most ardent detractors, such as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who said Tebow can’t throw, he’ll never be a quarterback in this league (NFL), etc, etc, many still agreed that he is:
- An incredibly hard worker.
- Very likable.
- Great locker room guy.
- A good football player, just not a quarterback.
That last one is kind of important. You know, being a good football player. While the haters enjoyed Tebow not getting any free agent offers after being released by the NY Jets, even they would admit it was due, in part, to rumors that he was insisting on being signed as a quarterback only. That if Tebow agreed to play another position he could draw more interest.
Well guess what “sources” are saying about Tebow in New England? That, in addition to being a third string QB, he will see some time at tight end, possibly fullback and special teams .
Now, to Patriot history in particular. Tebow played for Urban Meyer at Florida. A Bill Belichik guy. Patriot offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels drafted him out of college when he was the coach of the Denver Broncos. Right or wrong, those types of connections mean something within the fraternity of sports. Taking a chance on a player when guys you know and trust vouch for them, that “outsiders” might not be high on, is not new. Tebow is not the first or last player to benefit from this.
It’s neither Tebow’s, nor the Patriots’ fault that the media chooses to cover the signing of a versatile third string quarterback to the extent that it is. And the move should not be judged on that basis.
Unlike Tebow’s other two stops, there will be no quarterback controversy here. Even the most fervent Tebow fans will never confuse Kyle Orton and Mark Sanchez with the Golden Boy, Tom Brady. That alone will reduce the much feared and talked about “circus” affect that Tebow brings. Belichik’s experience in dealing with the potential for circus type distractions will take care of much of the rest. This isn’t arrogance. It is history.
As pointed out by ESPN’s Mike Reiss, signing him now is no lock that he makes the roster. Although I think he will. Aside from how Tebow can possibly help on game day, there is also that new flavor of the month offense that teams are employing called the read option… Something Tebow can help them prepare for in practice.
When you consider that:
- There is no QB controversy.
- That Tebow brings a versatile skill set not typical of a third string QB.
- That he’s not costing them much.
- That he is a great locker room guy.
- That the Patriots are perhaps the most stable organization in football, capable of weathering a potential distraction of the move working or not.
The potential upside outweighs the potential down. And that, is what we call a good move.