I know there are a million voices talking about the Tebow trade right now, and I’ve been surprised at how overwhelmingly negative most sports pundits have been, including folks like Michael Kay, Stephen A Smith, Joe Namath, Rich Villodas, etc.
For what it’s worth, I think it’s a great trade for Tebow and the Jets, and here’s why:
1. The Jets needed someone – anyone – to push Sanchez – Before the Tebow trade, many Jets fans were bemoaning the coddling of Mark Sanchez the past three years. Giving Sanchez a 5-year extension earlier this month did nothing to quell those criticisms after he had a subpar year.
Now there is some pressure for Sanchez to perform. Whether the pressure is real or perceived doesn’t matter – Sanchez will be pushed, and hopefully, he’ll be challenged to bring his best.
2. Even if the cries for Tebow get loud, if Sanchez performs, Tebow will become more irrelevant – The biggest reason Bronco fans wanted Tebow to get a shot was because the Broncos were 1-4, and the offense wasn’t that dynamic with Orton at the helm.
Do you really think fans would have been chanting for Tebow if they were 4-1?
The same is true for the Jets. If the Jets win under Sanchez, Tebow’s playing time will be irrelevant.
And if the Jets aren’t winning? Yes, the fans will chant for Tebow.
This all comes down to Sanchez and whether or not he can be a consistently winning and effective quarterback in the NFL.
Yes, he doesn’t have as much margin for error now because he has the most popular backup in league history behind him.
Isn’t that what Jet fans wanted in the first place – a viable option behind Sanchez?
3. The critique on Tebow is that he’s not a very good quarterback. The proof will come on the field, though.
“He’s not a viable option!” Jet fan might say.
Well, if Sanchez doesn’t perform and the Jets aren’t winning, then Tebow will almost certainly get a shot.
And guess what?
He has to perform.
Tebow has to keep winning, or else he’ll be run out of town as quickly as he’s been welcomed here. NY is a results-oriented place. Tebow has to get results, or his star will fade quickly in these parts.
The only reason John Fox and John Elway had no choice but to keep playing Tebow, as bad as his stats were, was because he kept winning.
I might sound like Skip Bayless here, but if Tebow started out with Denver losing 3 straight games, or even 2 straight games probably, there is NO WAY he would have remained a starting quarterback. He would have lost the locker room and the fan base.
After the Tebow-led Broncos got blown out by the Lions in his second week as a starter, people were asking if Tebow was going to get a chance to start again, and many were wondering if the Tebow thing would die down.
But Tebow kept winning. It was insane, but that’s why Elway and Fox couldn’t pull him, even though they desperately wanted to replace him.
4. Even if he’s not a prototypical quarterback, the Jets offensive and defensive philosophies are ideal for him – If he does get his chance, the Jets want to ground and pound and play good defense. They just need someone who doesn’t make mistakes and is a good leader with intangibles.
That sounds like Tebow to me.
I think this is the kind of system and staff that really does see Tebow’s strengths and wants to work with them.
Sanchez proved that he could do this his first couple of years. Last year they tried to change their philosophy a bit and it didn’t work.
This year, he can get comfortable again and get back to his winning ways.
Otherwise, Tebow will get a shot.
New Yorkers will not clamor for Tebow because he’s popular. New Yorkers will clamor for Tebow if the team is losing.
And if Tebow loses, he’ll get booed as Jets fans look for the next great Jet.
5. At the end of the day, results are what ultimately matter in the NFL and in New York – So with all the hoopla about this being about publicity or about Mark Sanchez needing the support of an organization, at the end of the day, if the Jets are winning, everything will take care of it itself.
If the Jets are losing, that’s another story.
And if Tebow loses, then he’ll lose the locker room and fan base too.
And then the Jets will move on.
Jeremy Lin was asked in an interview if he was worried about losing playing time after Mike Woodson became coach. He said something to the effect of “I’m not worried because if you can play, you’ll play.”
If Sanchez can play, he’ll play. If Tebow can play, he’ll play too.