After being released by the New York Jets, Tim Tebow is now without a home to play football for the upcoming season. Unless Tebow is willing to switch positions, which seems unlikely, it is possible no NFL team will want the media circus that follows the former Heisman Trophy winner. Like many others before him, spending time in the Canadian Football League (CFL) will help him develop his skills at a professional level, building his confidence and preparing him for a successful career in the NFL.
Tebow may actually be a better fit for the CFL than he is for the NFL. In Canada, the fields are 35 feet wider than in the US. This allows for extra room to run, which could enhance Tebow’s dual threat as a runner and a passer as well as give him more time to throw. Additionally, throwing lanes are larger. Having time to excel in the CFL would be like training wheels for Tebow; once he becomes comfortable and finds success, he will be ready to reenter the big leagues and ride out a long, productive career.
It may not be so easy, however, for Tebow to play right away. Currently, the Montreal Alouettes own Tebow’s exclusive CFL negotiating rights. Their starting quarterback, Anthony Calvillo, is the the all-time leading passer in CFL and pro football history. Moreover, the team’s general manager, Jim Popp, told the Calgary Herald that he doesn’t “know what he’s capable of doing or if he can play in the CFL.” Popp added, “He would be coming to Montreal to be a backup player … to learn the game and, maybe, in the future, he’ll be able to compete for a starting job.”
This doesn’t mean that Tebow shouldn’t give the CFL a shot as many excellent NFL quarterback careers have started from the CFL. Take Jeff Garcia, for example. Garcia began his career with the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL in 1994 and was an all-star four times before starting with the San Francisco 49ers in 1999. Upon joining the 49ers, Garcia made three Pro Bowls from 2000-2002 and took the team to the playoffs in 2001 and 2002.
Another well-known story of a quarterback’s rise from the CFL to the NFL is Joe Theismann. After playing in the CFL for three years and earning two all-star selections, Theismann joined the Washington Redskins in 1974. He would go on to have an illustrious career with the team, winning Super Bowl XVII, becoming the NFL MVP in 1983, and setting many Redskins franchise records.
Without a good option in the NFL, the CFL will be a much-needed fresh start for Tebow. It will be a true test of his skills, and if he performs well, you may very well see him starting for an NFL team in the future.