Some could not believe that Denver would trade a quarterback that, while flawed, did lead the Broncos to the second round of the playoffs in his first year as a starter, and is still just 24 years old.
Everyone knows that Tebow is more than just a football player, because of the unique following he has. Charles Barkley once called Tebow “a national nightmare” because of the nonstop attention he gets in the media.
Shaq, meanwhile, painted a much more rosier picture for the Jets. He believes Tebow will help the Jets win their first Super Bowl in over 40 years.
I myself had my reservations about bringing in Tebow. Not because of his skills on the football field, but because of the chaos that often follows him with his maddening fan base.
However, the Jets believe that Tebow’s unique skill-set on the field is worth all of the extracurricular activity that comes along with having him on the team, because they don’t plan to use him as their starting quarterback.
The Jets believe that Mark Sanchez is their guy, and that Tim Tebow’s presence will only make the two young quarterbacks better as they feed off each other and push each other to improve.
In preparation for more responsibilities than just a passer, Tebow has bulked up to 250 pounds, a commitment to his new team that shows he’s not all talk when he says he’s going to help the team any way he can.
However, in an interview on the NFL Network this week, former Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly offered his take on the situation, and let’s just say he’s not hoping it goes as well as the Jets hope it does.
“As a Buffalo Bills fan, I hope there’s so much turmoil during training camp, I hope Tebow plays great, he pushes Sanchez, and all of a sudden the locker room is coming apart,” Kelly said.
Kelly added that he has nothing against Mark Sanchez, and actually is a fan of the Jets starting quarterback. But he doesn’t think the Tebow trade will help his development, nor the Jets’ success.
“Sanchez is a very good quarterback coming on,” Kelly said. “[but] if I was a general manager or a president or the owner of a team, I would not have [traded for Tebow] unless I would have gotten rid of Sanchez.”
“But [Sanchez is] a good enough quarterback to be there, and Tim Tebow is a great athlete. He’s going to be a big plus for somebody, but in New York I’m not sure.”
Kelly also took a not-so-thinly-veiled shot at Jets fans, saying that the Tebow experiment is likely to fail because Jets fans aren’t capable of letting the situation play out like the Jets anticipant it will.
“Every single game if [Sanchez] plays bad … you know Jets fans, they’re going to start booing,” Kelly said.
“A lot of pressure is on Sanchez to not only start off hot, but continue game after game after game playing steady. If he doesn’t, you know you’re going to hear the boo birds, you’re going to have people wanting Tim Tebow in there.”
Of course, Kelly is not alone in that opinion about the perception of how the Sanchez-Tebow situation could play out. Fair or not, until the Jets suit up and actually start playing, that perception may continue to persist.
Luckily, with each passing day, football fans are one day closer to seeing Sanchez, Tebow and the Jets in a game that matters.
Funny enough for Jim Kelly’s Buffalo Bills, that day is September 9, 2012, with the Bills coming to MetLife Stadium to face these new-look Jets. For the Bills’ sake, they better hope for any advantage they can get. They’ll need it.