Well, Tim Tebow did it. With his NFL future looking bleak, with people trying to push him towards Canada or the Arena Football League, Tebow managed to find a job with an NFL team, and not just any team, the New England Patriots. On the surface, it appears to be an odd signing, but Tebow signing with the Patriots makes sense for all sides involved, and creates a situation that should be beneficial for Tebow, the Patriots, and the league as a whole.
For Tebow, he gets to stay in the NFL, and remain a quarterback, as there’s no indication from the Patriots that they intend to move him to a different position or utilize him on special teams. Although there is no guaranteed money, the two-year contract indicates that the Patriots have some kind of plan in place for how they’re going to utilize Tebow, and gives him some hope of long-term stability if things go well, after spending the last two seasons with two different teams. Even though the Patriots could cut him at anytime, the contract gives Tebow an opportunity to develop as a quarterback and improve as a passer.
Tebow landing with the Patriots, as opposed to any other team, is also significant. Unlike the Jets, the Patriots won’t allow their training camp to be turned into a media circus, with Tebow as the ringleader. The culture in New England will make Tebow just another player on the roster, instead of a constant source of attention and criticism that becomes a distraction for the rest of the team. In New England, Tebow should be able to stay out of the spotlight, and that will give him a chance to simply focus on football and trying to help his team win.
For the Patriots, the advantages of signing Tebow are subtle. Obviously, the move will reunite Tebow with Josh McDaniels, who was the head coach in Denver when the Broncos drafted him in 2010. McDaniels believes in Tebow’s abilities and will certainly have a plan in mind as to how to utilize him, and so the relationship between Tebow and McDaniels can’t be overlooked. Whether or not the Patriots use Tebow regularly once the season starts, opposing teams will be forced to prepare for the possibility of him playing, and that will give them less time to prepare for Tom Brady and the rest of the offense, which will make Tebow’s mere presence an asset for the Patriots, even if he doesn’t play.
Signing Tebow also gives Bill Belichick a chance to play head games with the rest of the league, which is something he enjoys doing. The Patriots have a history of taking chances on players that everyone else has given up on, like Chad Johnson and Albert Haynesworth, and Tebow is just the latest player to join that list. While those experiments haven’t worked out in the past, it gives Belichick another opportunity to take a player off the scrap heap and turn him into a useful player. The division rival Jets being the ones that released Tebow will only make the triumph sweeter for Belichick if Tebow plays any kind of role in New England’s success this season.
For the league and its fans, Tebow signing with the Patriots could mean a slight break from Tebow-Mania, which is something we could all use. With Tebow signed to a team, there will be no more speculation as to his future in the league. More importantly, even the most fanatical Tebow supporters will have to acknowledge that he poses no threat to usurp the starting quarterback job away from Brady, which should quell any talk of Tebow being involved in a quarterback controversy, which wasn’t the case while he was in New York. If there’s no chance of Tebow being the starter, then the attention he gets should be limited, giving the league and its fans a break from the Tebow obsession.
While Tebow signing with the Patriots surprised many of us, it’s actually a move that has the potential to work out well for all parties involved. Tebow gets a chance to stay in the league as a quarterback, the Patriots get a unique weapon to utilize against their opponents, and the league gets to keep Tebow around, but hopefully in much smaller doses. It will be interesting to see this situation play out, but unlike Tebow’s arrival with a new team last offseason, this move isn’t necessarily destined for failure.