Tim Tebow is clearly one of the most polarizing players in the NFL. People either love him or vehemently hate him, with no middle ground.
The guy has the best-selling jersey in the NFL and is the basis of “Tebowing,” but since the minute the Jets acquired Tebow last week, the reaction has been mostly negative around the sports world. Mike Francesa called the trade “a colossal disaster,” Joe Namath called it a “publicity stunt,” and even a good chunk of the media at Tebow’s press conference on Monday wanted to ask him less about his own game and more about potential quarterback controversies or his faith or anything else.
I only have one question regarding all this: Why? Why does everyone hate Tim Tebow? Why has this trade become the iceberg that will sink the Rex Ryan-led Titanic once and for all?
Look at some of the biggest criticisms since the trade, and you tell me.
Criticism No. 1: "He’ll create a quarterback controversy." If anyone is going to do that, it’s not going to be Tebow, it’ll be Mark Sanchez. Mike Tannenbaum said that Tebow is the No. 2 quarterback…so is it his fault if he becomes No. 1? The Jets gave up quite a haul to draft Sanchez, and after two straight trips to the AFC Championship Game, he regressed a lot last season. Plus, his totals (73.2 rating, 3,070 yards average per season, 55 TD vs. 68 turnovers) don’t exactly scream franchise quarterback in a league where passing is now premium. If anything, the thought of Tebow taking his job should push Sanchez more than three years ahead of Mark Brunell on the depth chart ever did.
Criticism No. 2: “The Wildcat is a gimmick, and that’s all he’s good for.” The AFC West wasn’t great last year, but whatever you want to call the offense Tebow ran in Denver, he went 7-4, won the AFC West, won a playoff game…and beat the Jets. Not to mention that he had a better yards per carry average and the same amount of rushing touchdowns as the Jets’ top running back in 2011.
Criticism No. 3: “He’s too preachy.” Tebow isn’t shy about his faith, and it’s become a fixation for people who hate him. But let’s be honest here – the Jets have the most bombastic head coach in the league, started a convicted felon at wide receiver last season, and have a starting cornerback who proved on television that he can’t even name all of his illegitimate children. On this team, Tebow isn’t just a saint among sinners, he’s Mother Teresa. You’ve surely heard the expression “good clubhouse guy” in baseball, and if anything, Tebow might be worth it for that alone.
Criticism No. 4: “He cost too much for a backup.” Monetarily, he cost them $2.5 million in salary advance that had to be repaid and another $500k that was “wasted” on Drew Stanton’s signing bonus. As far as draft picks go, considering they got one back for Stanton, they basically traded a fourth and a sixth for a seventh and another to be determined. Late-round picks get thrown around all the time (or spent on “useful” parts like Bilal Powell), and the money is nothing considering they had just signed Stanton – who has all of 12 games of NFL experience with the Lions – for $1.25 million.
Bottom line, Tim Tebow is a pretty decent football player. He gives it his all on every play, wants (and knows how) to win, and possibly squeezes more out of the ability he has than anyone in the game.
I urge the haters to remember that the first time Santonio Holmes pouts mid-season and takes plays off.