The Silver Lining: Opportunity now realized, it’s time for Tim Tebow to save his career

By Adam Silverstein
June 10, 2013

Just over one month ago, hours after quarterback Tim Tebow was waived by the New York Jets, I penned a column detailing how he could turn a career-low moment into a career-saving situation. Now that the opportunity I believed Tebow would be afforded has indeed been realized, the onus is on the Heisman Trophy winner to ensure he takes advantage of his new circumstances.

Rather than sitting out the 2013 season – or worse yet, relenting and deciding to play in the CFL or AFL – Tebow will be signed at some point on Monday or Tuesday by the New England Patriots, which plan to develop him as a backup quarterback.

In a span of 42 days, Tebow went from being a cast-off from one of the NFL’s most dysfunctional teams to an accepted member of one of the league’s beacons, one who will undoubtedly be comfortable in a locker room that already contains familiar faces like Jermaine Cunningham, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes.

The first time you see the person you love, happen upon the puppy you decide to bring home or drive the car you always dreamed of owning off the lot, there is usually an overwhelming feeling of comfort and happiness that envelops you.

That is what this union has to feel like for Tebow.

Tebow and the Patriots always made sense, now more than ever.


THE SITUATION

For the first time in his four-year NFL career, Tebow joins a team without being forced to drag along unbearable expectations firmly attached to his broad shoulders.

In 2010, coming off his best collegiate game in the Sugar Bowl and one of the greatest careers in college football history, Tebow was the No. 25 overall pick in the first round of the draft. He did not start or even play much until the man that drafted him, then-head coach Josh McDaniels, was fired.

The following season, Denver Broncos fans wanted Tebow to be named the starter. He wasn’t. Kyle Orton failed, Tebow took over mid-season, won seven out of eight games from Weeks 7-14, led Denver to an incredible playoff victory, and then faced questions about whether the front office even wanted him on the roster. It didn’t.

Joining his second team in three years after a trade that took a full business day to sort out and came on the heels of Peyton Manning signing with the Broncos, Tebow entered the largest media market in the country.

New York Jets fans were mixed upon his arrival, chanted his name when Mark Sanchez butt-fumbled himself into infamy, and were left shaking their collective head as he never once got the opportunity to start a game. The Jets were scared to play Tebow, had no idea how to use him and nearly ruined his career.

On June 9, 2013, Tebow was an out-of-work backup quarterback who completed 6-of-8 passes for 39 yards and took 32 carries for just 102 paltry yards last season, never finding the end zone once.

On or around June 10, 2013, the Patriots will acquire a humbled and angry player for somewhere near the league minimum.

The SEC did not like Tebow when he was angry in college, and if New England plays it right, the AFC is going to feel the same way in 2013.

THE FRANCHISE

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick loves certain types of players. He values guys who are team-first, tough, motivated and disciplined. He acquires players who display a great attitude and work ethic, come to the training facility with a lunch pail in their hand and are willing to do whatever it takes to win. Does all of this sound familiar?

There may be questions about Tebow’s mechanics or the fanatics attached to his hip but there is no doubt that Tebow possesses in droves the characteristics Belichick values. And it’s not like the two are not familiar with each other.

Belichick, close friends with former Florida head coach Urban Meyer, famously took Tebow out for dinner during his pre-draft visit in New England. The two have known one another for more than half a decade.

In fact, if it was not for McDaniels selecting Tebow at No. 25 in 2010, he almost certainly would have found his way to the Patriots in a later round.

Speaking of McDaniels, arguably Tebow’s biggest believer in NFL circles, the two will reunite in New England as McDaniels has been hired as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator after a short stint in St. Louis.

In New England, Tebow is not joining a team looking for its first superstar quarterback since John Elway. And he certainly will not be with a coaching staff that inherited a player it didn’t want or a team president that has no belief in his talents.

He will not be fed to the wolves in a tabloid-hungry media market, held under a spotlight on a podium in the team’s practice facility to answer questions for 30 minutes like he’s the biggest signing in franchise history. And ESPN, as much as it may plead, will not be camped out near one of the end zones analyzing his every move.

Tebow will put on a numberless practice jersey Tuesday, walk onto the field with nearly 100 other players and begin training as just another face in the crowd.

Belichick will be asked about the team’s plans for Tebow during a press conference Tuesday morning. He will provide the most basic answer possible. The media will ask for Tebow to be made available for interviews. The Patriots will decline the request.

Tebowmania, which the media will continue to cover and fans will either embrace or cast aside as usual, is not going anywhere. New England, however, will not fan the flames and fuel the fire. Not this franchise, not with Belichick at the helm.

THE QUARTERBACK

Tom Brady is not Orton. He’s not Sanchez, Brady Quinn or Greg McElroy either. He’s not glorified backup. Brady is the best player in his franchise’s history, arguably the greatest quarterback slinging the ball today, and undoubtedly one of the most accomplished signal callers in annals of the NFL.

Tebow is not on the Patriots to provide competition for Brady. He’s probably not even going to be considered in contention for the second-string job right off the bat. Brady will not be concerned one bit with Tebow, and Tebow will not have any designs on trying to unseat the incumbent.

Tebow is in New England to learn and that is exactly what he is going to do from day one. From Belichick to McDaniels to Brady, Tebow will be taught mechanics and fundamentals, game preparation and strategy.

He will be coached by a man often described as a “genius” while sitting in the film room and standing on the field while one of the best to ever do it…does it

Talk about being blessed.

A team that acquires Tebow needs to have a successful franchise quarterback on its roster, a player whose confidence will not be shaken just because a great competitor is being added into the fold.

Tom Brady – check.

A team that acquires Tebow must possess a strong front office that is not rattled by questions about its decision making.

Robert Kraft – check.

A team that acquires Tebow almost certainly needs a smart and creative head coach who will realize that Tebow is a project.

Bill Belichick – check.

A team that acquires Tebow has to be resolute and of the same mindset. It must step in front of the media “circus” that he is sure to bring with him and deal with it head-on.

New England Patriots – check.

Most players get one opportunity to play in the NFL. Some are afforded a second. Tebow is on his third, regardless of whether or not his first two were ideal.

What matters more is that his next destination actually provides him with an opportunity. Not an opportunity to play right away but rather one to actually develop.

An opportunity to turn a career-low moment into a career-saving situation.

That opportunity is exactly what Tebow is faced with in this very moment.

He will be a member of a top-tier organization with arguably the best coach in the game, an incredible mentor and an environment that fosters growth and development rather than welcoming outside distractions and a circus-like atmosphere.

Now that the situation is as right as it ever will be, it’s time for Tebow to save his career.

13 Comments

  1. Michael Nash says:

    Damn. Such a good write up.

  2. GatorCooken says:

    Fantastic Adam, one of your best

  3. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Love it Adam, here is hoping you are prescient and everything works as laid out…

  4. Oldflyer says:

    Great article. I am simply ecstatic.

    Tim has a chance. The chance he should have had coming out of UF. The chance he definitely should had had after leading a flawed team to the play-offs.

    The Pundits have once again been proven to be full of offal. Not only was there a team interested in Tim, it was the best football organization in the world.

    Tim will be patient, he will learn, and when the 35 year old Brady has had enough, he will be ready.

    That is all we can ask for at this time.

  5. Nathaniel says:

    I wish Tim himself could read this, Adam. That’s how well written it is.

  6. Joe says:

    Excellent!

  7. Michael Jones says:

    Very nice piece, Adam. Beautifully written. Great job.

  8. Timmy T says:

    Hopefully as Timmy is being groomed and tutored as a QB, the Pats utilize his short yardage running skills in some way. A package, a set, or whatever you want to call it. The fact is, Timmy can punch it in the end zone. Give him the damn rock!!

  9. Timmy T says:

    Oh, and something I thought could never happen. I’m buying a Pats jersey when a number is settled on. Mallet wears 15, so it may be something different.

  10. SaraGator says:

    laughing@butt-fumbled

  11. Thanks all. But if you really do like it, be sure to share on Twitter, Facebook and any other social media! Thanks again.

  12. VO2Max says:

    Dude you knocked that one out of the park.

  13. caligator says:

    GO TIMMY GO!!! Well done Adam…thanks for that one.

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