Tim Tebow Traded to the Jets, New York Media Market Awaits
Tim Tebow has been dealt to the Jets -- but will New York be Tebow-ing?
The former NCAA champion quarterback, who rose to pop culture icon status last season thanks his leading the Denver Broncos to a string of last-minute comeback wins and his devout Christianity, was traded for a fourth and sixth round pick to an organization that already was in a state of flux. The Jets collapsed down the stretch this past season, leading to the dismissal of its offensive coordinator, and after missing out on signing Peyton Manning -- who signed with the Broncos -- they gave a contract extension to their young quarterback, Mark Sanchez.
The news comes as a surprise, and how Tebow will fit in behind Sanchez -- himself a celebrity from Southern California -- is up in the air. Early indications are that he will be a special package quarterback, running special plays, but that was not the focus of an uproarous New York media following the trade.
Tebow has a massive fan base, and city sports media personalities immediately charged that the team traded for him to draw fans and attention, especially in the wake of the New York Giants' Super Bowl win.
WFAN's Mike Francessa, the city's leading sports radio talk show host, called it "dollars over sense" that created "a three ring circus," and said "give the Jets the opportunity to embarrass themselves from a football standpoint, they will never pass it up." His WFAN colleague Joe Beningo called the Jets "a disgrace."
On SportsNet New York, the Jets' home TV network, former star Kris Jenkins said that when he heard the news, "I threw up in my mouth."
Rich Cimini, who covers the team for ESPN, wrote, "The attention-seeking Jets couldn't get Peyton Manning, so they take the next-best quarterback in terms of generating buzz. Sometimes you wonder if they're more concerned with back pages than victories. Hey, if we can't get a phenomenal quarterback, let's grab a quarterback phenomenon."
Publicity-wise, the opportunities for Tebow are rich. With easy access to late night shows -- just last night, Jimmy Fallon brought back his Tebowie song spoof -- and Saturday Night Live, as well as day-time talk shows and news broadcasts, Tebow's face could be all over television. Of course, that may require continued success as a player, which is up in the air.
Two seasons ago, the Jets were featured on HBO's Hard Knocks, which looked at their training camp and pre-season. Their coach is the foul-mouthed Rex Ryan, who is often brash and cocky, and their team leader is linebacker Bart Scott, who could fairly be described in the same manner. How will a mild-mannered, devout Tebow, whose reputation stems in large part due to his public chastity, fit in there? That alone is worth another reality show.
He'll also be in the same city as another religious phenom, the Knicks' Jeremy Lin, making New York a seemingly unlikely location for evangelical athletic heroes.