What started out like a bad joke turned out to be true. The New England Patriots, a big reason as to why Tim Tebow doesn’t have a job at the moment (which requires diving a little bit into recent NFL history), are taking a chance on the unwanted player, partially because Bill Belichick has a bit of an ego problem.
But it’s better to go backwards and move are way up. Tim Tebow led the Denver Bronos to 7 wins in 8 games during his magical semi-season run in 2011, making some people believe that a quarterback without the most fundamental of passing skills can become a star in the NFL thanks to his personality and something called ‘being a winner’ or ‘leadership.’
At the end of that 8 game run, the Broncos met face to face with the New England Patriots, and were destroyed 41-23. Tebow actually managed to complete 50% of his passes on the day, but the difference between him and a “real” quarterback, facing Tom Brady for the first time in his career, were too obvious to ignore.
The Broncos lost two more games as the Tebow fad started dying out, but the Broncos still made it to the playoffs. Against all odds, they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, who played a very weird defensive strategy that blew up in their faces, as the Broncos stunned them in overtime with Tebow throwing the winning pass in the 29-23 victory.
Next up? The Patriots again, and another humbling lesson for Tebow. Actually, that looked like the game that ended his NFL career, as he completed only 34.6% of his passes, finishing with a QBR of 12.8 on that game, losing 45-10, turning out to be the last time he started for an NFL team.
It’s been almost 18 months since that cold day in New England, and Tebow found himself hanging on to a lifeline coming from the most unexpected of places. The New England Patriots, with a head coach who is willing to prove he can take on any lost cause and turn him into a useful player (a lot of hit & misses, but with very little risk taking on his and the team’s part, especially financially), gave Tebow a job in the NFL, something that many predicted wouldn’t happen again.
So is he destined to become a third quarterback and be happy with it? It’s hard to believe Belichick brought him in for this, but the Pats did release third-string QB Mike Kafka this week, meaning Tebow is hoping to take over the backup spot from Ryan Mallett eventually. Josh McDaniels is the team’s offensive coordinator, and he was the head coach that drafted Tim Tebow in 2010.
The problems the Patriots have at Tight End suggest that there might be some reasoning behind all of this. There’s more than just handing out a charity to a player who couldn’t find a place on an NFL team roster. Tebow is probably never going to play quarterback in the NFL again, unless some special circumstances rise, or the Patriots suddenly being adopting the Wildcat formation on certain plays.
H-Back, fullback, tight end, it doesn’t really matter. Tebow is just happy he has a job in the league that pretty much made it clear it has no use for him. Belichick likes rowing against the current, while not taking too much of a risk himself. Tebow might not last the preseason training camp for all we know, and this is certainly not a publicity stunt to improve jersey sales or sell more tickets. The Patriots see something in Tebow they might make use of, or this is simply an ego trip from Belichick, trying to show the league he’s such a good coach he can even make Tebow a legitimate NFL player once more.