Tim Tebow prepares to pass as New York Jets quarterback, East Rutherford, New Jersey/AP
The histrionics in New York over Tim Tebow and the Jets are utterly predictable, entirely childish and eminently solvable.
3-6 team that is tied for last place in the AFC East finds itself in
complete disarray in the Big Apple. It should come as no surprise that
this team is coached by Rex Ryan, the NFL's master of self-induced
Mark Sanchez, his beleaguered starting quarterback, has the
league's lowest completion percentage and tends to throw passes to the
wrong team when he nears the goal line. Tebow, his backup, has the name
recognition of Justin Bieber. Unfortunately, he might have his arm as
Nonetheless, a season that appears well on its way to becoming a lost cause is crying out for one simple solution:
Play Tebow more.
every down. Not even every series. He doesn't have to start. Sanchez
can keep that honor, for whatever it's worth. But Ryan should put Tebow
in the game more often. A team has about 12 possessions in a typical NFL
contest, so let him play a fourth or a third of them.
What do the Jets have to lose, other than another game?
all his football faults, real and imagined, Tebow is hardly a loser.
Just the opposite, actually. He won big in college. When given the
chance, he won big last year in Denver with the Broncos. In fact, he won
one more playoff game last season than Ryan's Jets did.
against all odds, Tebow does what Tebow has been known to do and somehow
helps pull out a victory this week against the 3-5-1 St. Louis Rams,
the Jets would quiet some of their critics, if only for a few minutes,
and would have stopped their three-game losing streak. They might have
settled for a short-term solution for a long-term problem, but they
still would have a much-needed victory.
If Tebow is as "terrible"
on Sunday as his anonymous teammates are claiming he is in practice the
rest of the week, then everyone in New York -- including owner Woody
Johnson, who apparently is the one who wanted Tebow with the Jets --
will know he's really not the answer. The Jets can then move into the
next phase of their existence, which will be trying to explain what in
the world they were thinking when they traded for him in March.
happens, the more Tebow plays, the more the Jets get answers and the
closer everyone in New York is to finding out just how long he'll be a
Jet. If Tebow doesn't play and Sanchez keeps losing, the agony and
anonymity only will continue.
There's another option for
the Jets, the equivalent of kicking the can down the road for another
week or two. Because the AFC is so mediocre this season, the Jets are
not yet completely out of the playoff picture. (If the season ended
today, the 6-3 Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts would be the
wild-card teams.) So, if they must, the Jets could go with Sanchez until
the playoffs are totally out of reach, then give Tebow his legitimate
shot, even starting him at that point.
This isn't happy news for
the Jets and their fans, but, this season, satisfaction might not come
in victories but in finding out whether Tebow is theirs for a while, or
once again moving on.
For this, Jets executives have no one but
themselves to blame. They brought on this circus. Of course they did;
chaos is what the Jets do best under Ryan. In the past three seasons,
this team has given us the news of Brett Favre's alleged X-rated texts
to Jets employee Jenn Sterger, the Hard Knocks HBO show, the
practice-field and locker-room harassment of TV reporter Ines Sainz and
now, Tebow and the anonymous comments in the tabloids.
these issues in the locker room last year," said former Jets coach Herm
Edwards, an ESPN analyst. "That's why they brought Tim Tebow in. And
once you get players talking and they're not putting their names on it,
it becomes even bigger. Now Rex has to deal with this."
the Jets think would happen when one of the nation's most famous and
beloved professional athletes arrived to back up Sanchez in the fishbowl
that is New York sports? It's actually a bit of a surprise that it took
until mid-November for more than a dozen players and team personnel to
anonymously rip Tebow in the New York Daily News. He should be pleased it didn't happen in September.
if it's Johnson's fault that Tebow came to New York, this is Ryan's
team to run, and he needs to do a far better job of controlling it than
he's doing at the moment. Ryan angrily chastised his players Wednesday,
calling their comments "a cowardly thing." Problem is, those quotes are
completely consistent with the other Jets' misbehavior that has occurred
on his watch.