It takes too much effort to try and rationalize any of the things that have happened in the past week in the NFL. Sean Payton is going to be on his couch for the year, Gregg Williams is facing what may be a “multi-year” ban from the NFL, and the team that threw for 5000 yards is probably not going to make the playoffs if: the Panthers get a defense, the Buccaneers get an offense, or the Falcons get a little bit of both.
The Jets, on a clownier note, signed Drew Stanton, Matthew Stafford’s backup from Detroit, but something far more complex happened only a fortnight later. Because of the fact that Indianapolis failed miserably without Peyton Manning last year, they are getting the number one draft pick, which they are using on a quarterback, which means Peyton Manning needed to find a new place to play, which is going to be Denver, where Tim Tebow, my vote for least and most human athlete on the planet, played until Thursday.The deal broke like this: initial news breaks that the Jets are getting Tebow. Mark Sanchez begins pushing half naked women off of him and instantly becomes transfixed on the television. Santonio Holmes opens a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue, Tony Sparano starts pulling out 2008 game film and laughing like some kind of maniacal genius (Dr. Strangelove?), sunglasses and all.
I immediately let it be known that I love this trade for all the wrong reasons. I love the fact that Antonio Cromartie and Tim Tebow will be at some point, talking to each other as teammates. I send text messages to family members, Giants fans, Patriots fans, Cowboys fans, pretty much anyone who has watched more than one game in the past year.
So am I buying into the circus? Yes. Front row seat. Let’s get a few things clear. The Jets got Tebow in a trade, but only hours later it became known that there was a contract issue, the Jets not realizing that they would have to reimburse Denver of a $5 million guaranteed roster bonus. Apparently Tannenbaum was so blinded by faith…eh…that he forgot to even look at the details. Other GM’s instantly chimed in, casting Tannenbaum and the entire office as a bunch of used car salesman who would get laughed out of any legitimate franchise.
They didn’t read the contract? Nonsense says Tannenbaum days later, but let’s keep the narrative going first. So everyone in New York is on pins and needles, Santonio is checking Adam Schefter’s Twitter like a high school ex-boyfriend, Sanchez is on bended knee, thanking whatever deity up there that this thing CAN’T POSSIBLY GO THROUGH with teams like the Rams (who are so desperate for anything relevant they would have given the $5 million in a briefcase handcuffed to Sam Bradford on a lear jet) and the Jaguars (you know, the Jaguars, in Jacksonville, the general area where Tim Tebow became the closest thing to a God on earth by winning a Heisman and two national championships and whose owner has proclaimed he would have taken Tebow number one overall if he was the owner.)So the Jets start bluffing, claiming no one would be dumb enough to pay $5 million for a backup quarterback who is going to draw a following that is equal parts Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Jeremy Lin. A wholesome following that has decidedly creepy undertones, much like the Tea Party movement. On the surface it sounds fine, but then you talk to someone who genuinely terrifies you in their complete and utter devotion. Cue the Pat Robertson wishing injury on Peyton Manning quotes.
Where were we? Oh yes, so Antonio Cromartie is at this point dropping his phone in a glass of water so he doesn’t send something out that already destroys any hope of camaraderie, Rex Ryan is coming up with lists of local churches in the New Jersey area, and Mike Tannenbaum is doing his best Pawn Stars impersonation. “He isn’t worth $5 million, not here, maybe if you find someone willing to take on the following, which you know puts undue pressure on your entire franchise. No one wants that pressure. Not after last year.”
Word now breaks that it’s going to be down to Jacksonville and New York, the Rams getting shoved out of the conversation because of the simple fact that they are the St. Louis Rams and do nothing particularly well.
This is what some would call the high point of the drama. Jacksonville, where Tim Tebow can take a piss on someone’s lawn and have them smile and say thank you, and New York, home of sex, drugs, and every other sort of temptation known to man. It would be Midnight Cowboy on overdrive. It can’t happen. That’s like having LeBron get a choice of going to Cleveland or the Lakers coming out of the draft.No, it’s worse than that because Lebron didn’t win college national championships in his home state. To be fair, there is no honest comparison in this century or last.
Ok, so things start to go sideways right about now. It suddenly becomes news that Denver has decided to have a soul about this. They’re going to let Tim Tebow go home, to the south, where according to a family friend, he wanted to go. Or he can go to New York. What? Why even continue to cover this? This is like asking Charlie Sheen to go to Vegas or to Boise for the weekend.
At this point, people are pulling Gator jerseys out of their closet, waving them around, running down to the local bar and screaming “He’s coming home! There is a God!” The lord had apparently intervened, saved the golden boy from the den of vice. He has a choice, and it would be some unholy act of a biblical Judas to choose New York over going home to Jacksonville.
And then the world turns a little faster than usual. Tim Tebow chooses to go to the New York Jets. I begin frantically finding out if this is true, because for the past few hours I was cooking on the rooftop of the Avalon Bowery, indulging in a few of the things Tim Tebow renounced a long time ago. I tried to knock it out of my mind, as even the pros couldn’t figure out which way was forward in any of this. Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, and Tim Tebow? What is this a god damned fantasy draft of good and evil?
So the questions begin. What are the Jets going to charge for tickets? Triple the price of last year? It would be fair. This is like putting Justin Bieber in a Tarantino movie.
Tebow is going to be the backup quarterback, which creates a trifecta of quarterbacks that equates the pretty boy Sanchez with 4 playoff road wins in his first two years, the savior Tebow, who did everything right at the right time to win games (despite throwing incompletions for 3 quarters), and the brains with McElroy, who by the end of the season will have started calling plays himself as Tony Sparano shuffles tight ends, slot receivers and extra lineman like a street hustler hosting a game of chase the ace.
Triple option bunch formation? I’ll take a little of that. Bone formation read option? Give me one of those too. Four wide with McKnight in the backfield? OK.
And so the pressure on Mark Sanchez has gone from LIRR going under the river to being 2 and a half miles below sea level,watching the 4 inch thick glass around you begin to splinter and implode. Although I don’t think Sanchez is going to flounder as grossly as he did last year, I think people are going to get real curious real fast.
I know I’m going to get curious. Will Tebow throw the deep ball? How close will the two playbooks be? Is anyone seriously expecting this to be a top 10 offense? If the Jets grab another pass rusher I’m going to have enough faith in Rex Ryan and his scheme to know that the defense will outplay the offense. But what if Tebow is successful? How long before Judas takes the throne? Is anyone going to care about Mark Sanchez if Tebow has a game winning drive?
There is only one answer for Sanchez. Do not throw interceptions. Do not turn the ball over. Even if your stat line is garbage, you better keep that turnover ratio on the plus side. There is no forgiving Sanchez for throwing an interception his first pass last year.
Which is why I think Sanchez is going to show up bigger (reports already indicate he is adding 5-10 lbs of muscle), smarter (better master this offense before Tebow even opens his playbook), and faster in his decision making. What could aid this? Anything named Cotchery or Edwards.
It’s already being sneered at by everyone in the media, which is probably the best thing that can happen to the Jets. They thrive on beating teams by slowing things down and taking the life out of opposing offenses. The draft is getting close. If there is not a 1st or 2nd round offensive lineman on the Jets draft board, it won’t matter who sits back there. Let Sparano do his thing, for the love of all things holy.