Why the hell did the Patriots just sign Tim Tebow?
That's a question that we are going to hear answered again - and again and again - by pretty much everyone who has ever had an opinion about anything over the next few weeks. This signing either came at the best possible time or the worst possible time, depending on how you look at it. One one hand, we are about to enter into the slowest news cycle on the NFL calendar, when most people turn their attention elsewhere (like those unnecessary distractions of work, friends, and family), and so one line of thinking is that there will be plenty of time for the Tebow story to die down as we all start to turn our attention to the preseason. On the other hand, signing Tebow right now, right before we're all going to be grasping at NFL straws for the next six weeks or so, means that pretty much all we'll have to focus on all summer is what Bill Belichick was thinking bringing one of the most polarizing figures in NFL history into the fold. Now as you all know, I've always been a glass-half-empty kind of guy, and so for all intents and purposes I should be freaking out here. Oddly, though, I'm not; I'm actually pretty calm about the whole thing. Below are some of the initial thoughts that went through my head when I heard that Tim Tebow was the newest Patriot.
If anyone can do it, Belichick can do it. Back when he was winning games as a Bronco and Tebow-mania was in full swing, I went on record saying that I didn't care one way or another about Tim Tebow - a statement I still stand by to this day. I always thought that he was a talented athlete who practiced what he preached and that all of the hype surrounding him was through absolutely no fault of his own, and all he ever wanted to do was play. And if Tim Tebow is able to play in the NFL, Bill Belichick will figure out how to make that happen. He may be a fullback, he may be a tight end, he may be unemployed come September, but whatever his skillset is, Belichick will find it, nurture it, and exploit it. Knock his QB play all you want (and Lord knows we all have), but the kid is a gifted athlete, and if he's going to be successful in the NFL, it's going to be here.
Tebow's last gasp. Going along with my last point, if Tebow doesn't cut it in New England, then his NFL career is likely over. I'd like to think that he is intelligent enough to realize that, and so I imagine his already strong work ethic will be ramped up even more this year. If the rumors of "Tebow will only play QB" are true, odds are that he'll be out on his God-fearing ass before he even has a chance to get assigned a number. But if he wants to come in, work hard, and adopt The Patriot Way, he may possibly have a future in the NFL. This could be the year where he proves himself a valuable utility player and gets a second life on another team following the 2013 season. Or, he stays in New England, becomes the next great [insert whatever position he ends up playing here] and becomes yet another New England success story.
Media no longer a factor. The New England Patriots know how to handle the media. There are those who would say that they don't, and that their standoffishness comes across as if they have some kind of smug superiority complex, but no player has ever let the media get the best of the locker room in the Bill Belichick era. Tim Tebow will be no exception. Tebow has never sought the spotlight, has never looked for attention, and has never been anything but the ultimate professional. Now that Tebow is a Patriot, we have officially heard our last press conference from him. We may actually never even see him open his mouth for an entire calendar year. There will be no backup quarterback media sessions. There will be no shirtless jogs through the misty morn. There will just be a guy wearing #15 going through his reps, and the media is just going to have to deal with that. And if the media does find a way to turn this into a circus (and my oh my how hard they will try), it most certainly won't affect anyone on the New England roster or cause the team any kind of distraction. And if it does? He's cut, just like that.
Josh McDaniels connection. Joshy Mick Dee must have had a hand in this. He's the one who drafted him, and he's the one who first believed. He must have some ideas on how to best utilize Tebow in this offense.
Bill Belichick was sick of the hype. I'm not entirely unconvinced that Belichick didn't sign Tebow just to put to rest any lingering notions that he hated him as a player. Probably not, but you never know with that guy.
The Fantasy Football Gods hate me. I'm in an auction format keeper league that allows you to keep up to two players from your previous season at the exact same price you initially paid for him. I got Stevan Ridley on the cheap last year, thinking that he would be a great keeper as the team's primary goal line back. Then the Pats went out and signed LeGarrette Blount, which worried me a little. Still, I figured Blount wouldn't steal too many of Ridley's TDs. But now that they have Tebow, I don't know if I can in good conscience keep Ridley for what I paid for him, as who knows who will be lining up back there. I mean, if Tommy B comes out in a Jumbo Set with Tebow, Ridley, and Aaron Hernandez all lined up in the backfield, who the hell is going to get the touch?
What do they have to lose? Jared already did a great job of touching on this, so I'll keep it short - but seriously, what do they have to lose? Is Tim Tebow a distraction? Is he a locker room cancer? Is he a diva? Absolutely not. At the end of the day he is a good kid with a lot of physical ability, a tremendous work ethic, and virtually zero quarterbacking skills. All of the hype, the circus, and the absurdity came from the media and the media alone. In 2011 it was because he was on the field winning games. In 2012 it was because he was on the Jets, a team that couldn't do anything without some kind of media frenzy. But in 2013, they are going to have to do a lot of reaching if they want to keep beating the Tebow storyline into the ground, and that is certainly something that Belichick could care less about.
Am I happy about the signing? Not particularly. Does it upset me? Not in the slightest. But I don't know how much weight my opinion holds - especially since it's about to get lost in an absolute sea of pundits. Get ready for everything from "great signing" to "Belichick's hubris gets the best of him" for the foreseeable future.
And if it gets to be too much for you, there's always this.