Did anyone really ask for this? Seriously. Which one of you assholes asked for this? Eight years after taking his last snap on an NFL field (in a preseason game no less) and following a four-year sojourn into minor league baseball, former “quarterback” Tim Tebow is on the cusp of returning to professional football. Oh, but wait! There’s more! Tebow will be taking the field at tight end (or, more likely, as a sort of h-back/behind the LOS motion-man), hoping to follow in the footsteps of players like Logan Thomas, Jordan Reed, and Trey Burton.
It’s a story that insists on the sensational. If Tim Tebow does in fact, against all odds, make it back to the NFL, it would be one of the most remarkable stories of human resilience and persistence since…well, ever. This story belies belief and it’s this that brings me to my point: Tim Tebow’s signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars is one of the hokiest, dumbest, most distracting sideshows I think I’ve ever seen and it flies in the face of a franchise that insists it’s committed to doing things “the right way”.
Look, I loved Tim Tebow during his Denver Broncos days. He was the spirit animal for any athlete who sought to overcome a limited physicality. The man threw a football like he was trying to throw a wet loaf of bread. His evasion skills were second to none. In case you forgot just how bad Tebow’s throwing was, here’s a little reminder:
To say the least, it wasn’t pretty. It was undeniably fun to watch, though. Those 2011 Denver Broncos were peak must-see TV. Tim Tebow letting go of his dream of being an NFL quarterback comes about a decade too late, but better late than never.
The Reality of This Situation: Tim Tebow is Going to Struggle
Here’s the thing: Tim Tebow isn’t a tight end. Plain and simple. He dabbled in a few gadget plays during his New York Jets days, but it’s a skill set that I’m not sure one can just pick up on the fly at the highest level. Tim Tebow can be as committed as he wants, he can be as in shape as he wants, but that doesn’t change the fact that the NFL game moves at lightning speed and you can’t just go out there and make plays.
Undoubtedly, Tebow saw the success a player like Taysom Hill was capable of having and figured he could do the same. Ten years ago, I’m sure he could’ve. Tebow was a legitimately good, physical runner (5.0 YPC career average). I’m sure an NFL team would’ve found a way to use his physicality as a runner in some way. Tim Tebow last suited up professionally almost a decade ago, though, and while I’m sure those years of baseball didn’t necessarily stress his body like football would, he’s still a soon-to-be thirty-four-year-old attempting a position switch. The odds of this actually coming to fruition are slim to none.
What are the Jacksonville Jaguars Doing?
This brings me to my final point. For a team that insists that it’s trying to reinvent itself as a franchise to be taken seriously, the Tim Tebow sideshow belies these intentions and reeks of a desperate cry for attention. I get that Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow go way back, I get that Tim Tebow is second to…well, nobody in that region of Florida. Still, to paraphrase from one of my favorite films:
“YEAH, BUT [YOU] WERE SO PREOCCUPIED WITH WHETHER OR NOT THEY COULD THAT THEY DIDN’T STOP TO THINK IF THEY SHOULD.”
Look, Ian Malcolm’s momma didn’t raise no dummy. Why are the Jacksonville Jaguars seemingly willing to put themselves through this media circus? Shouldn’t the only stories coming out of Jacksonville be about their franchise savior Trevor Lawrence and how one of college football’s winningest coaches might finally be able to pull this franchise from the basement of the NFL? What possible good could come from signing Tim Tebow to play tight end? The positives won’t extend far beyond the locker room as I don’t foresee Tebow lighting up the field like it’s 2011 all over again.
I’ll say this much: we live in unprecedented times. I don’t think my wildest fever dream would’ve conjured Tim Tebow attempting an NFL comeback after toiling away with the Binghampton Rumble Ponies (yup, that’s the real team name) for a few seasons. Despite my misgivings about this situation, I’ll still monitor it, and, let’s be honest, I’m still gonna root for the man. I mean, how can you not root for…whatever this is?