Tim Tebow is one of the NFL’s most polarizing figures. Fans either seem to love the New York Jets quarterback or criticize his every move. Tebow was perhaps one of the best quarterbacks in college football history. For some reason, there was a stunned reaction when he was selected with the 26th overall pick by the Denver Broncos in his rookie season, when the former Florida Gator primarily served in the wildcat package before starting the final three games. He was the first player to record 20 pass touchdowns and 20 rushing touchdowns in a season.
Broncos legend John Elway returned to the Mile High City as Executive Vice President of football operations the next season. Former Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox replaced Josh McDaniels, who drafted the legendary Florida Gator. As a result, Tebow, whom many considered a project, was sent down to fourth on the depth chart. Kyle Orton started five games, only winning one. Elway crumbled under the pressure of an adoring fan base.
Offensively, an overhaul took place. The former Heisman Trophy winner’s running skills were put on display. A traditional passing game was replaced by a shotgun option scheme where Tebow would either handoff, pass or run him. This proved to be effective as Denver went 7-4 in their last 11 games and reached the playoffs. While Tebow only completed 46 percent of his passes, the ability to run made him dangerous. He also throws a nice deep ball. Defensive masterminds like Bill Belichick figure him out. A segment of Denver fans thought they found the quarterback of their future.
Circumstances changed as future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning was released from the Indianapolis Colts, clearing a move to Denver. Tebow was almost immediately sent to the Jets. Any quarterback controversy was supposed to be stamped out as Rex Ryan proclaimed incumbent Mark Sanchez as starter.
What followed was a sideshow as Tebow saw the field in a severely limited capacity. In fact, he only threw eight passes all season while suffering in a disastrous wildcat package. Even as Sanchez was benched in week 15, Tebow missed out on a start to third stringer Greg McElroy. This made it clear that Tebow was brought to the Big Apple for reasons other than football.
With the emergence of the read option, such a big quarterback could be helpful to other teams. Other teams may be unwilling to commit to a rusty player who struggled with accuracy to begin with. Given the fact that the Jets will most likely soon release him, a position change to tight end could be ideal, but he believes he can be a quarterback. There is no way to make him a traditional pocket passer, though he may recapture some magic briefly. As far as being a viable long term starter, the answer is likely no.