GAINESVILLE, Fla. - "Tim Tebow is going to make the Patriots, right?"
The football buzz around the University of Florida campus around the team's starting QB from 2008 is considerably louder than the buzz surrounding the eventual starter in 2013.
And its very unlikely Jeff Driskel will ever get one of these - a life-size bronze statue standing outside Florida Field. There are three currently on this campus, one for each Heisman Trophy winner who played football on the hallowed turf of Florida Field. The other two belong to Danny Wuerffel [not, not the guy who's in charge of the IRS these days] and Steve Spurrier, who now coaches Jadeveon "The Freak" Clowney and the rest of the University of South Carolina football team.
These bronzed beauties stand about 100 feet away from the empty brick that fills a spot on the team's honor walk that once held a slab of concrete honoring All-American Aaron Hernandez. While athletic officials at UF have done their best to obliterate any presence of Hernandez around the football facility, there is no shortage of Tebowmania.
Not sure what the plan here for the Gators is in the event Hernandez is acquitted of the murder charges he's facing in Massachusetts.
Tebow's statue draws a crowd whenever non-students have reason to visit the campus, for instance when Gator Dads [like me] drop off their kids at the start of each semester.
When Tebow's statue spotted me on campus, my tattered Red Sox hat was a dead giveaway that I'd be sympathetic ear to hear his pitch for Tebow the player.
"Pssst, hey you in the Red Sox hat."
"Me?" I answered.
"No, the other two idiots in Red Sox hats," he snapped.
Tim Tebow's Statue [TTS] doesn't hold back. He's not concerned concerned with manners or congeniality. Nor does he share Tebow's faith. Has neither a heart nor a soul.
"My afterlife will be as two toasters and a Mazda."
Back to football.
"Tim Tebow is going to make the Patriots, right?" he asks?
"With the Patriots, no one ever knows for sure," I answer. "He didn't play last week ..."
"... and they lost 40-9."
Tebow's statue decided to speak with the OBF in this exclusive interview about the current version of the Tebow Show and a few other topics.
TTS: "No one's ever asked me about Tim before. Watching preseason NFL games is a challenge, especially since I'm a statue permanently stuck outside in this ridiculous heat. But I get plenty of news reading over the shoulders and checking the smart phones of kids who walk past me. I'm a pile of bronze standing on a pile of granite standing in the blazing Florida sun, sweltering humidity and subject to lightning strikes, hurricanes, tornadoes and Casey Anthony, and even I know that the Patriots are screwed if Brady ever can't play"
OBF: Your point?
TTS: "It really doesn't matter who the backup QB is on the Patriots, never mind the third-stringer."
So, it doesn't matter if Tebow's on the team because if the Patriots ever have to use him, the season will be a lost cause?
TTS: "Unless they can swing a trade for Matt Ryan or Colin Kaepernick. So the real question is, once you reach that point, which will be rock bottom, what do you do? And let me tell you, I know plenty about 'rock bottom' especially since I have one."
You think Tebow should be kept as some sort of a gimmick? Won't he take away a roster spot from some deserving 23rd linebacker or backup offensive lineman?
TTS: "If the Patriots are worried about fourth and fifth-string linebackers or third-string offensive linemen, I guess we can book that prediction in ESPN The Magazine that doesn't have them making the playoffs."
Are you even allowed to say that name around here?
TTS: "No, but it's not like they're going to rip up my foundation and remove me from this spot. Ahhh, on second thought, let's stick to football."
OK, what about Tim as just a gimmick.
TTS: "Timmy's been called a 'gimmick' since he threw his first awkward pass back in the days when he was being homeschooled and playing for Nease High School. The only place he's ever really failed was with the Jets. That's nothing to be ashamed about since everyone fails with the Jets these days. I literally have no memory and but I know that Timmy's never, ever, ever butt-fumbled anything in his life."
It seems his ability to throw the ball has actually gotten worse since he left here, how can that be?
TTS: "Maybe your standards have changed? When you bounce the ball off a receiver's foot, at least you know I can't be picked off. He's just holding back."
Let's check the numbers. Tebow's completed only 5 of 19 passes for 54 yards with an interception during the preseason and was sacked three times by the horrid Eagles defense. His QB rating in the preseason is 17.7.
Even worse for Tim, these Tebow jersey's are 50% off at the University of Florida book store.
TTS: "That's nothing, the No. 81 sweaters are 150% off."
TTS: "If the Patriots ever get serious with Timmy, it will be as an option QB. He's run 10 times for for 61 yards in his two games, that rushing average of 6.1 yards per carry is tops on the team for anyone with 10 or more carries in the preseason. His job won't be to throw the ball but to move the ball."
Speaking of regression, hasn't Timmy gotten worse...
TTS: "Hey, OBF, We're talking two preseason games here, not an entire season. He spent last season with the Jets, that's enough football trauma for anyone, even someone with Tim's grace and patience. Give him a little time to recover from that. I'm a little biased, but Ryan Mallett is no Matt Cassel. Wouldn't you rather see Tebow out there running all over the place each time the Patriots have the ball as opposed to Mallett doing his best Blaine Gabbert imitation? Again, in a world without Tom Brady, all is lost. In that situation, let's have some fun."
Take it you get a lot of visitors and photo ops.
TTS: "No offense to Danny and Steve, but chicks dig the bronzed Tebow."
Well in person. you're almost as handsome as Timmy, by the way. In New England, Brady remains the man. Never mind Miley Cyrus, some of the things I've done with my Tom Brady foam finger would never make it on MTV. Regardless of who is QB, Patriots fans want them to win. And they make for more interesting copy that way.
TTS: "Without Brady, that ain't happening. The presence of Timmy will enhance anything Brady can do more than someone like Mallett. Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels love a good challenge. With those two, opposing teams will never quite know if or when Tebow might be used. Just another facet of the already potent Patriots offense to game-plan against."
TTS: "OK, or as potent as any offense can be with Danny 'Is He Playing This Week?' Amendola as Brady's prime target."
Well it certainly would be a challenge for Belichick to make Tebow a productive player.
TTS: "Resurrecting Timmy's career is the ultimate NFL challenge these days that doesn't involve murder charges, preventing player concussions or curbing performance enhancing drugs. And frankly, the NFL and Patriots need Tebow around. His presence counters the ill-conceived perception that NFL rosters contain nothing but social miscreants and PED users."
"Social miscreants?" This must be a college town.
TTS: "Actually, Gainesville is a city, but thanks for the compliment. I think."
Tebow should get plenty of snaps Thursday against the Giants. This might be his last best chance in New England.
TTS: "I'm not sure about that. Belichick likes to think long term. He's taken years to rebuild the Patriots' secondary and that's still a work in progress. Timmy will be in New England when the season starts. Even if he isn't playing, he can babysit Gronk once he gets back. All-night scripture readings. Timmy's so convincing sometimes, he might even be able to turn Gronk back into a virgin. And even if he isn't, he's got me. His own statue. That's something that neither Brady or Belichick can say."
I take it you've never seen my front yard. The Brady and Belichick statues are popular with the kids. But the neighbors drew the line when I started to build my 100-foot tall concrete obelisk to honor Xander Bogaerts' first major-league hit. Anyway, what about the pressure facing Timmy this week. Is he nervous.
TTS: "Hell no, he's just looking at this like any other game he's played. My guess is that he said something like: "Just prepare, get ready and go out there and do the best you can with the opportunity you're given. And focus and prepare and understand the game plan or try to accomplish all the same things."
Yeah, that sounds about right. Steer clear of the pigeons.
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