Come September, Tim Tebow will once again be wearing an NFL jersey – this time for the New England Patriots. Whether he’ll actually have a significant role on the team or get any playing time at all is another story, but the announcement has predictably garnered an intense reaction. Some writers have been hailing this move as yet another genius decision from Bill Belichick, a coach who has proved himself to be as controversial as he is clever, while others are claiming the signing is a show of desperation, or even worse, arrogance.
The most reasonable response seems to be one of tempered optimism, but of course the articles expressing this perspective are much less likely to gain attention during a controversial newsbreak. The truth is, Tebow has talent. He dominated with the Florida Gators and as an NFL rookie he took the Denver Broncos to the second round of the playoffs (which incidentally was further than they got with his all-star, Super Bowl champion replacement Peyton Manning). To let this player go to waste would be an athletic travesty, and if anybody can extract usefulness from his raw ability it’s the New England Patriots.
Some of the naysayers are claiming this move is a demonstration of typical Patriots arrogance. They say that this is an expression of a feeling of infallibility, that only Belichick and the Patriots would be foolhardy enough to believe they can overcome the circus-like distraction that seems to follow Tebow everywhere he goes. Like most risks, it only looks dumb until it works. But, truth be told, this isn’t much of a risk at all. Tebow is coming into this team as a backup for Tom Brady, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He’ll have plenty of time to learn more about the game and grow under the stewardship of Belichick’s coaching staff with Brady as a role model. There will be no pressure to perform, as he won’t be playing with a train wreck of a team (sorry, Jets fans) that expects him to channel his inner savior.
A good friend of mine who has been a diehard Patriots fan for years predicted that Tebow will “fall into line and hopefully progress in a no stress environment under the best coach in the league.” While he also expressed trepidation that the religious element of Tebowmania might become a distraction for the team, he was confident that there would be “no question about who the starting quarterback is.”
Hate him or love him, it’s hard to deny that under all the media frenzy and borderline heretical hero-worship Tebow has got what it takes. What remains to be seen is whether or not anybody can get that talent to truly shine. Bill Belichick’s up to the challenge and only time will tell if this move is reckless or brilliant.