It was one helluva ride, Tim.
The grand 12-week experiment came to a quick and somewhat unexpected end today as word seeped out from Foxborough that the Patriots had indeed cut Tim Tebow.
Thankfully, the ground did not open up, locusts did not descend upon New England and the heavens did not quake with anger.
The devil didn't them make them do it, it was rather the NFL numbers game. This does not make Bill Belichick the anti-Christ, despite what we read in Rolling Stone this week.
The bad news, people, you're all stuck with those Tebow jerseys.
There will be no refunds since Tebow was never accused of killing anything but the latest scoring drive. The No. 5 jerseys will be somewhat of a collectors' item, although they won't be fetching the hundreds of dollars that those Aaron Hernandez jerseys were selling for following his arrest for murder.
The hopeful Patriots third-string QB was given ample opportunity to justify his presence on the roster from a football perspective. His Patriots highlight reel is encompassed on the above clip of his 52-yard TD pass to Quentin Sims Thursday night against the Giants. Tebow threw the ball 14 yards, Sims ran 38 yards. Both are now unemployed.
Such is the cold, dark world of NFL roster cutdown day. But from a football perspective, especially when the focus in on just this season, it was clearly the right call. Once the Patriots determined there was no need for a third-string QB, there was no need for Tebow. That third-string linebacker or fourth-string lineman was far more important. Without Tom Brady, the Patriots are rye toast and Ryan Mallett is a serviceable backup in the woeful AFC East.
In many ways Tebow was the perfect Patriot, especially in an offseason that saw Wes Welker's departure over mere [in the world of the NFL] pennies, Rob Gronkowski's continual health woes and Hernandez's arrest. The ideal PR anecdote. And for the record, New England never lost a game in which Tebow played, whether he was with the Broncos, Jets or Patriots. So Tebow's gone and Gronk's apparently healthy enough to make the Week 1 roster, time to roll out the strippers and kegs.
Tebow was unquestionably the most polarizing player in the NFL who hasn't been charged with murder. His quarterbacking skills ranked anywhere from horrid to mediocre, but all he did was win, except when it came to clinching a roster spot with New England. His departure crushed all those conspiracy theories surrounding his presence on the Patriots. But the storyline that the Patriots are the team "that covered for Hernandez but cut Tebow" will no doubt be making its way around message boards across the internet.
In the end, Tebow was judged as a football player and nothing else. It's the same standard the Patriots, and Belichick specifically, have applied to everyone else who wanted a spot on his roster. The thugs, punks, drug users and angels all get their shot. But in the end, you have to produce. There's no room for charity or goodwill on the final 53-man roster. That's as it should be from the point of view of the Patriots. For many of the rest of us, Tebow's place on the Patriots was a delicious novelty, much like those Fudgsicles we got as kids from the ice cream man after a long, hot summer's day swimming in the Arlington Reservoir.
Tebow isn't going anywhere, until his next mission in the Philippines. The insiders and experts believe his football career is over, but it will be hard to imagine that another NFL team won't take a shot at him, if for no other reason in the hope he'll put an Ed Snowden and reveal all the secrets on the Patriots' iPad.
And if indeed his final NFL play was that 9-yard TD pass to Sims at the end of Thursday night's win over the Giants, he'll no doubt be at the top of the wish list for ESPN, the NFL Network, CBS or FoxSports1, which is somewhere on cable but not anywhere worth looking.
Tebow probably knew what was coming, given this scriptural Tweet from Thursday:
Psalm 62:5-7 pic.twitter.com/GA5qQsYwH2— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) August 29, 2013
He also Tweeted his thanks to the Patriots on Saturday, quoting 2nd Corinthians 12:9: "And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
Tebow's faith and his unwavering devotion to it was and is at the center of our fascination with him. It was an Old Testament lightning rod for both his supporters and his critics.
Tebow's numbers were pedestrian at best for an NFL backup, but his role as a Christian messenger was magnetic for millions of fans and non-football followers. It was equally electric for those who hated him. Much of the non-football vile directed at Tebow the man was as repulsive as any hate speech flung toward Jason Collins. And his Brady-esque virginal good looks and Herculean build never hurt his cause among females, either. He was, for millions of those in Regular America, exactly the type of athlete they wanted as a role model for their children, even if he never quite mastered the art of passing.
Tebow, a former Heisman Trophy winner, was the ultimate underdog for a while in 2011, leading the ho-hum Broncos to the postseason. And he still boasts more playoff wins in Denver than Peyton Manning. He then went to the Jets. And was unable to recover from that career tailspin with New England.
He had his chance in New England but wasn't good enough.
So the Patriots cut him.
Such is life in the Mafia and the NFL.
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