New Yorker: God Help the Jets

An alternative viewpoint to the Tim Tebow to the Jets move comes from Adam Gopnik at the New Yorker’s Sporting Scene:

First, even allowing that we all do our best work in highly competitive circumstances—a dubious premise; most of us do our best work when we feel confident that the boss has our back, that we have room to maneuver, and even a little space to fail in—this does not give the newly re-signed Mark Sanchez helpful competitive pressure, but merely weirdly competitive pressure. That is, the moment Sanchez has a bad game or even a bad quarter—which he is bound to have, as all quarterbacks do—then the crowd, the bloggers, and some announcers will all cry for Tebow to come in and rescue the situation. That is, his presence won’t lead to a technical calculation about who can best lead the Jets; it will lead to an hysterical overreaction as to who can do what. Tebow’s reputation is not, after all, as a cool hand who will steady the ship, but as an unduly lucky man who will agitate it, and the fans. Even if you consider only the question of “chemistry,” what you are doing is adding an even more volatile ingredient to an already volatile brew. It can only blow up.

Yeesh, how do you really feel?

He goes on to suspect that Woody Johnson, the Jets owner is behind this decision because of some kind of right-wing agenda, which I think is a bit ludicrous. But his further point could be on the money.

My own dire prediction is that Sanchez will be inconsistent, the tabloid back pages will be exhausting and enervating, Tebow will then be thrown in and will create some excitement and win a game against the Bills or someone—and then, as more and more defenses catch on to the limitations of a college quarterback playing what amounts to a high-school style game, he will fail, big-time, and then Sanchez, left on the bench, will return, only now even more confused and demoralized than he has ever been before. It’s not a pretty picture. One wants to believe that pro-football decisions are made on cynical brutal, pro-football grounds, i.e. that the coaches would take a pentagram-drawing Satanist if he drew pentagrams that moved the football.

So perhaps the Jets are desperate enough to throw up a prayer by signing Tebow, but perhaps Tebow’s signing is an indication that they have also sold their soul for media hype?

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Tebow: Does He Have a Prayer in New York?

If Tim Tebow thought the media pressure of Denver was bad then he ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The Wall Street Journal put it best

“I can’t imagine a more unlikely fit for Tim Tebow than the New York Jets, just given what we know about the culture of that team. It seems to me, and a lot of outside observers, a team that has a pretty broken culture — at least a messy culture,” said Patton Dodd, the executive editor of, a website designed for dialogue on religion and spirituality, and author of the ebook, “The Tebow Mystique.”

“(But) in some ways, it’s sort of ideal for him,” Dodd added. “Even though it doesn’t seem like a likely fit, if he’s serious about what he believes, this is the kind of place that he ought to, to use Christian language, feel called to.”

I’m a Jets fan, as many know, and at first glance Tebow didn’t seem like the right fit for the raucous bunch in green. But perhaps he’s exactly what they need? Rex Ryan the team’s sometimes acid-tongued coach now won’t be the center of attention. Even if Tebow serves as a backup to QB Mark Sanchez, he’ll be the center of a media frenzy for a bit. It will be interesting to see if the Jets have given up on Sanchez who was widely criticized by teammates and fans alike this season, as the Jets failed to even make the playoffs, or if Tebow challenges Sanchez, who hasn’t ever had to look over his shoulder and who teammates have called lazy and undisciplined.

Tebow at QB has been dismissed as a publicity stunt, a QB who doesn’t have the tools to play in the NFL and even as someone disingenuous—as if he doesn’t practice what he preaches–something he can rightly dispute, perhaps on all counts.

It’s often the understated Quarterback who can lead, who shows confidence and leads a team on the field. Tebow could be that guy and it will be interesting to see what he brings to the table and what the Jets might be able to do with him. He’s got receivers, he’s got linemen and he’s got a defense to support him and keep the other team off the scoreboard.

If Sanchez couldn’t win with these guys, then maybe it is time to take a shot with someone else or to at least have someone on the team who can push Sanchez to stay disciplined? After all, Denver did make the playoffs and Tebow single handedly beat the Jets this year, pretty much knocking them out of the playoff hunt. So he’s earned some respect from the guys in green.

However it could also blow up badly for Tebow. The press will hound him greatly and make it hard for him to do his job. The Jets have had their run of Quarterbacks who came in with bigger resumes and who failed mightily, falling under the pressure of the media spotlight.

ANd perhaps there’s a precedent here. Across town, the Giants were told that a little Quarterback named Simms would never get it done for them and look at what happened with him. Then a guy named Jeff Hostetler, Phil Simms’ backup, well, he wouldn’t get it done either according to the experts and he did just fine. Then Eli Manning, the not-as-good-as-his-brother mantra was hung on him and two Super Bowls later, the critics have become quite silent.

Perhaps Tebow’s more understated résumé as a not-good-enough Quarterback is a distinct advantage and even drives him to achieve?

But will the bright lights of Manhattan tarnish the image of the GCQB (Good Christian Quarterback)? Or will Tebow become an even bigger phenomenon on the world’s biggest stage?

Nobody else has led this team to a Super Bowl since the brash Joe Namath who thinks Tebow is a mistake. Tebow could just be one more bad Quarterback but he’s worth taking a fly on at this point. I’m open to seeing what he has to bring to Gang Green.

Does Tebow have a prayer? Certainly. It may be all he has, but then again, without him this year, the Jets needed a lot more than that.