This quarterback was the golden boy of the land, adored by the masses as well as hated by those who favored the teams that played against his.
The Heisman Trophy winner received many other accolades during his time in the land of the “Gator Chop” and helped the Gators win the 2007 BCS National Championship, then led the team to another BCS National Championship in 2009.
By the time of his graduation, the college quarterback with a career and fan base of epic proportions was poised to make the jump from collegiate to professional athlete.
It is the events that have followed this golden boy’s attempts to break into the NFL that have brought us to this point — examining the curious case of the NFL’s “snubbery” of Tim Tebow.
When Tebow entered the 2010 NFL Draft, he was hailed by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden as a player who could “revolutionize” professional football.
Coach of the 2006 Super Bowl Champion Indiana Colts Tony Dungy went on record saying that he would pick Tebow with a top 10 pick over any quarterback in the 2010 draft.
Yet, when it all came down to it, Tebow was selected 25th overall by the Denver Broncos.
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford was chosen as the first draft pick by the St. Louis Rams and has remained an active part of that team ever since.
Tim Tebow, on the other hand, went to Denver for two years where he managed to get some playing time in when Kyle Orton’s performance began to wane.
After taking over for Orton, the Tebow-led Broncos were 7-4 and chock full of comeback victories.
The Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the NFL playoffs, a game won in overtime, where Tebow threw a career high 316 yards and two touchdowns.
The New England Patriots ended the Broncos’ playoff dreams, but team vice president John Elway stated that Tebow would be the starting quarterback going into training camp in 2012.
Then Denver signed Peyton Manning, and Tebow was relegated to red-headed stepchild status in the NFL. The naysayers had been around since the 2010 draft, but, once Manning was in a Broncos jersey, the negativity directed towards the young quarterback seemed to skyrocket.
Tebow was traded to the New York Jets in exchange for the Jets’ fourth and sixth round draft picks.
During his time with the Jets, Tebow became known as “the most famous backup quarterback in the world.”
Former Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff, who was perhaps Tebow’s only ally in the Jets franchise, went on record on a radio show in Miami criticizing the team for not utilizing Tebow during the 2012 season, questioning why they even bothered to trade for him if he was just going to warm the bench.
On Monday, the Jets announced that they had placed Tebow on waviers. If no team claims his contract, which it seems none will do, Tebow will become a free agent quarterback in a less than favorable time.
With the 2013 draft having just occurred, most NFL teams are in the process of reducing their swollen roster lists, not looking to pick up the most famous backup quarterback in the world.
Maybe the Jets are just jealous that the young athlete has more Facebook fans and Twitter followers then the organization does itself.
I am by no means a Florida Gators fan and am not even that huge of a Tim Tebow fan. From the outside looking in though, even I can see that the media, the NFL analysts and the NFL itself have done this kid dirty.
While the world of sports continues to rip apart this young man, what is he doing? Is he out there bashing the Jets organization for potentially ruining his career? No. Tim Tebow is remaining the Tim Tebow that we’ve come to know over the years and posting Bible verses on his social media accounts.
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
I find myself perplexed, wondering why more teams aren’t on their knees and “Tebowing” for a player with such a highly respected and talked about work ethic. Is he just too nice of a guy? His skills may still require some fine tuning before he can take the status of starting quarterback, but I feel that if a team with a solid quarterback took a chance on Tebow, he would be able to grow and transition into quite a franchise player.
So what teams are out there that might be a good fit for the black sheep of the NFL? One of the more logical choices is the New England Patriots. There is absolutely no question of Tom Brady’s job security with the Pats. Because of this, I feel that he could be the ideal veteran to take the young, tossed aside player under his wing. I may not be a Pats fan, but even I can’t deny that Brady is an excellent quarterback.
Perhaps the Patriots would even be able to utilize Tebow in a different position, something that the Jets failed miserably at. Again, we all know that Tebow has an incredible work ethic. I’m sure that at this point he is just chomping at the bit, waiting for someone to give him a chance — any chance to prove that he belongs in the NFL.
Jacksonville Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell has made it known that he has no interest in acquiring the hometown hero, but that doesn’t mean that the Jaguars’ southern rivals might not make a play for the Florida golden boy.
Both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins could provide Tebow with a new place to call home. In regards to the Buccaneers, the signing of Tebow could help them solve some pesky attendance issues. In Miami’s case, I’ve heard that the Dolphins are wanting voters to say yes to a new arena ... Maybe the thought of seeing Tebow play there would be enough of a incentive?
As Tebow’s star power continues to wane, the CFL might prove to be a friendlier territory if he actually wants to be a starting quarterback. Others have mentioned that Tebow seems like a natural choice for arena football, but I have to scoff at that idea. A player with his credentials and accolades has no place in arena football. Tebow playing arena football would be the final nail in his NFL career’s coffin.
No matter where your college loyalties may lie, you can’t help but root for the college superstar-turned NFL underdog, a title that I’m positive Tebow never wished to have bestowed upon him.
Hopefully, the orphan quarterback will find himself adopted by a team willing to actually put the time into developing his skills further. It would be a shame to see a talented, seemingly decent person go to waste.
Saralyn Norkus is a Sports Writer for the Cleveland Daily Banner. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.