How to solve the mystery of Tim Tebow?
As much as I’d love to ignore the presence of the polarizing figure that is the former Florida/Denver/New York Jet quarterback and the possibility that he may actually make the New England Patriots’ 53-man roster, the inscrutability as to why the man is actually here is too intriguing to not address.
Tebow had his moments during the Patriots’ final tuneup for the regular season, a 28-20 win over the New York Giants, in which the third-stringer went 6-11 with two touchdowns and…oh, yeah, four sacks. He also ran for 30 yards on six attempts, which really, other than the random, on-target pass he threw, is the most compelling reason to have him stick around. I guess.
Other than that? Divine intervention or something?
I don’t know. At this point, two months after the ridiculous fervor his signing caused in Foxborough, I kind of want Tebow to stick around, if only because more than one conventional NFL mastermind’s head will explode. I mean, if Tebow sticks around, the likes of the Bob’s Furniture-sponsored in-broadcast duo of Paul Perillo and Andy Hart may have to go on a therapeutical sabbatical based on the way they dismissed him Thursday night. The entire Patriots’ approach for the future will be questioned, all over the presence of a quarterback who’ll likely play fewer snaps than Doug Gabriel for the Pats this season.
So…why? Here are 10 theories as to why Bill Belichick felt compelled to bring Tebow into the fold.
1. The Patriots feel he can be a serviceable backup in the event Tom Brady goes down.
2. The Jets are on the hook for $1.5 million of Tebow’s salary should he make the Patriots’ roster.
Would anybody not truly leave it to Bill Belichick to stick it to the Jets by keeping Tebow around for the sole matter of having the Jets shell a bit more cash out of their pocket? Hell no. According to USA Today, “The Patriots signed Tebow to a two-year contract with no guaranteed money. Assuming he makes the Patriots’ 53-man roster, Tebow is scheduled to earn $630,000 in 2013, along with $525 in workout bonuses. His 2014 base salary is $730,000, plus $25,000 in workout bonuses. All together, the Patriots are scheduled to pay Tebow $1,385,525 in base salary over the next two seasons. The Jets will be paying $1,531,875 … over the course of one season … for a player not on their roster.”
A stretch? For sure. But does anyone keep a deeper grudge more than Belichick?
3. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is grooming him to be Tom Brady’s successor.
As ridiculous as it seems after watching him “throw,” this theory probably makes the most sense. After all, it was McDaniels who drafted Tebow in Denver, only to watch him on TV win a playoff game for John Fox and John Elway, who clearly wanted nothing to do with him. What does McDaniels know that nobody else does? Who knows. Does Tebow have photos? Who knows?
4. Simple marketing.
A few days after the Patriots signed Tebow, I discovered this in my local Shaw’s Supermarket.
A few weeks later, this was the scene at the Patriots’ Pro Shop at Gillette Stadium.
Could Tebow have been signed just to make a quick buck? God knows the Krafts aren't making enough on tickets, parking, beer sales, Patriot Place....
5. Tebow was supposed to be Aaron Hernandez’ “Jiminy Crickett.”
As the Patriots learned about their former tight end’s off-field issues, maybe they thought one way to bring Hernandez back to Earth was to reunite him with his spiritual teammate from the University of Florida. Oops.
6. Tebow’s clubhouse presence is needed in the wake of Hernandez.
Maybe the Patriots are concerned there are more than a few bad eggs in the locker room, and hope that Tebow’s addition can help calm the waves. We already had the humorous exchange between the quarterback and a TV cameraman a few weeks back. Perhaps laughs are at a premium in a place where it’s all about winning and perfection.
7. He’s a scout.
Which team is New England’s biggest competition to get to the Super Bowl this season? Denver. Which team does Tebow know better than any other in the NFL? Denver.
If he makes the roster, it will mark Tebow’s fourth year in the league, which reportedly makes him eligible for all sorts of NFL benefits. Is McDaniels just doing his former No. 1 draft pick a solid by keeping him around?
9. The NFL is evolving.
A decade-plus ago, the game was all about running backs, and today it’s all about the passing game. Is another shift around the corner, and does Tebow provide the answer to solving the conundrum? And are Belichick and McDaniels really that ahead of the curve?
10. He’s just a nice dude.
Hey, it’s just as good a reason as any.