22 March 2012
We'll start with the facts and a few puns. At 12:48 p.m. yesterday ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted that the Jets had traded for Tim Tebow. Two hours and twenty-five minutes later Schefter was back online, saying the teams had "encountered hangup in language in Tim Tebow's contract that could nullify trade." The Broncos wanted $5 million from the Jets to cover their expenses on the back end of some arcane contractual dealings. We waited. Then, at 8:47 p.m., one long workday after it began, it was done. Done as in resurrected. Done as in Tebow was coming to New York.
For God's sake!
At 11:18 p.m., Mike Tannenbaum sat down for a live press conference. Three times in three minutes he called Mark Sanchez "our starter" and explicitly confined Tebow's role to second-string, Wildcat specialist. "Every quarterback has a back-up," Tannenbaum told SNY, a grand understatement to cap off a day of delirious hyperbolic babbling. From behind the camera, some reporter asked a rambling question about Tebow's charity work. Then a follow-up. Also about Tebow's charity work. So it begins.
There are two ways to look at this trade. There is no third. There is no middle ground.
The first, simple enough, is that the Jets, over the course of two offseasons, have turned Brad Smith and Mark Brunell into Tim Tebow and Jeremy Kerley. Tebow, if used the way the GM described during his presser, is a fantastic addition. Third and five belongs to Mark Sanchez, but third and two? That's Tebow Time.
And if this were a high school team, that'd be the end of it.
But, mostly, it's not. As much as some of us would rather not admit it, there's more to this insane, violent sport than how the brutes are lined up and where they run after the snap. That's where this quarterback comes in. Tebow alters the equation in weird, sexy ways. He may be a flawed thrower, but my Lord, did you hear that conference call? We've seen it happen at UF and then in Denver. Now it's our turn. Speaking to Rex yesterday, the guy supposedly listed all his past coaches, then after declaring he'd never let one of them down, said he isn't about to start now.
Tebow! Where does he come up with this shit?
There's still a lot convincing to do. TMZ had the Jets players fighting over the relative merits of the deal before it was even completed. But that's missing the point. Winning makes for campfire sing-alongs, not the other way around. Win 11 games and you're a tight-knit group; three fewer and your locker room was Mordor with free Nikes. Victory is the horse. The rest gets trundled along on board the cart. Tebow is a horse. He just needs the coach to be a smart jock and pace him right, to hold back after Sanchez has thrown three straight grounders and there are 80,000 (77, 997 in the stands and three on the sideline) morons bellowing for "TEE-BOW!" Do that and this goes into the books as a good deal at a real good price.
So that is one way of looking at it. A little bit of science, a little bit of faith. A little bit of Teeeeeebow.
Then there's the, umm, other way. The other way is best expressed in hysterical screaming. Here it is:
"You just gave Sanchez an extension and now you're trading for THE JESUS QUARTERBACK, CULTURAL PHENOMENON, THE MOST CELEBRATED ATHLETE IN AMERICA'S MOST POPULAR SPORT?!? It does not matter what anyone says, the New York Jets have a quarterback controversy from now until the day Mark Sanchez wins his fifth Super Bowl. Maybe sixth."
"This team needs a new right tackle, maybe a guard or running back, too, a wide receiver, depth on both lines, a rush linebacker, a new inside linebacker, at least one, probably three more safeties (Editor's Note: AND A PUNTER!)...and what do you do? You trade for TIM TEBOW??? THE IDIOT WITH THE KNEELING AND CARRYING ON AND PRAYING?? HOW ABOUT SOMEONE TO KEEP THE QUARTERBACK ON HIS FEET OR SOMEONE FOR HIM TO THROW TO OR SOMEONE TO STOP THE OTHER TEAM FROM SCORING??"
"I genuinely believe that Mike Tannenbaum gets all of his player personnel information from Sportscenter, NFL Live, and those Gruden Quarterback Camp specials. This is just another cursed chapter in the franchise's sick, delirious history. Run the tub, plug in the toaster, it's time for my bath."
"This is a publicity stunt! Get off my lawn."
That last one was, with some license, taken from Joe Namath's response. Those old, pure pocket passin' QBs sure do not like Touchdown Timmy. Oof.
I'm going to take the former, less head-asplodin' view of L'Affaire Tebow. It's only March, after all, and if you can't be happy now (until the draft), then you can't really be a proper Jets fan. I've convinced myself this is going to work. You can, too. Just close your eyes, splash a little holy water on your face, and repeat after me...