“For God so loved the New York Jets and their fans he gave his only begotten football player, Timothy, so that anyone who believed in him would not perish but have everlasting Super Bowls.” St. Timothy 3:16
The God in my fictional Bible verse did not bestow Tim Tebow on the Jets as a punt protector. He did not bestow him as a wildcat quarterback or a GQ cover model either. OK, maybe he gave him as a GQ cover model.
God so loved the Jets he gave them Tebow as a starting quarterback. Not just any starting quarterback, but a proven leader and winner of a 2011 AFC divisional playoff. Jets coach Rex Ryan turned his back on Tebow like a modern day Judas. Ryan sealed Tebow’s fate not with a kiss, but by starting Greg McElroy at quarterback in Week 16.
In an ironic twist, Ryan will be crucified by the New York media and Jets fans. Tebow will assume his hallowed seat – on the bench – and then after the game hop a plane to Jacksonville, where he will play next season.
Ryan’s greatest sin besides being a ceaseless blowhard? He and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano failed to devise ways that would effectively utilize Tebow, a career 47 percent passer in the pros who has excelled outside the pocket.
They did not divulge their plans for Tebow in the preseason because, it turns out, they had no plans for him. No, using a quarterback routinely in punting formations is not a plan.
This week, as last week, the Jets could have rolled the dice on Tebow. They have nothing to lose, seemingly. Their passing offense is 30th in the league, and they are eliminated from the playoff chase. Starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, as been repeated ad nauseam, has 50 turnovers the past two years, and, if not for his massive salary cap hit next season, would be surely out the door.
There’s just one thing …
What if Tebow started and performed well? What if the Jets scored more than 20 points for just the sixth time all season? When would the circus stop? Not until next preseason, right?
Ryan would be run out of town faster than you can drop to one knee and point to the sky for failing to give Tebow a shot. The ESPN talking heads led by Skip “Sayless” Bayless and Screamin’ A. Smith would scream at each other five days each week, questioning if Tebow would have led the Jets to the playoffs or if he should be the Jets starting quarterback in 2013. Bayless, a hack’s hack, is on record saying the Jets should have started Tebow after Week 5. (I disagree.)
You see? Pandora’s Box.
The Jets’ season amounted to a shitshow without Tebow starting. It would have been an even bigger shitshow had he started and played moderately well. It’s as if the Jets management decided to acquire Tebow in a vacuum, failing to take into account his myriad flaws as a quarterback and the distraction he would be. For this, and many other reasons, general manager Mike Tannenbaum will be axed after the season ends.
Once the Jets realized what a distraction Tebow would be they tried to bottle him up. It doesn’t work that way though. You cannot put Tebow on the punt team, and not have that be a front page story in New York. The same goes for benching him in favor of McElroy, a fine college quarterback at Alabama who has no business leading a pro team.
McElroy completed 58 percent of his passes for 171 yards against the San Diego Chargers. The opponents sacked McElroy 11 (!) times though, and left 27-17 victors. I do not know for sure Tebow would have performed better – he completed the lowest percentage of passes among starting quarterbacks last season, after all. I would have liked to have seen him try, if only for closure’s sake.
There will be no closure, and there will no apologies to Tebow or anyone else. There will be no Super Bowls. St. Timothy 3:16 is a fraud and so are Ryan and these Jets.