Amid all the noise, Tim Tebow an innocent bystander
John JeansonneJohn Jeansonne
Jeansonne has been a reporter in Newsday’s sports department since
Though visually quite similar, there is a mighty chasm between Tebowing -- the pose on one knee, with an elbow resting on the other knee and a hand to the forehead -- and Rodin's iconic sculpture, The Thinker.
In the Tim Tebow commotion, now months old and getting noisier by the day, there doesn't appear to be any deep reflection. Only shouting and finger-pointing.
Should Tebow really be starting at quarterback for the Jets over the struggling Mark Sanchez? Is Tebow's presence -- as, in some calculations, the quarterback-in-waiting -- messing with Sanchez's head?
Are the anonymous criticisms of Tebow by some teammates any worse than what's coming from the stands and talk radio?
The thing about journalism, unlike football, is that the questions often are more interesting than the answers.
Does Tebow's very existence on the roster illustrate an incompetence in the Jets' front office?
Is it reasonable to expect Tebow, never considered a classic NFL-type quarterback, to be put in the starting lineup?
Because the Jets have used Tebow so seldom, does that mean that coach Rex Ryan never agreed with the trade to obtain Tebow in the first place? Does that prove that Tebow really is "terrible," as one of his teammates told the Daily News, off the record? Was that really a "cowardly" thing to do, as Ryan and owner Woody Johnson and other Jets branded it? Or just the grumbling of a feeling-lost soul?
Might all of this merely be the easiest target in the Jets' steadily failing season? (The first rule of modern sports fandom, often adopted by players: Find somebody to blame.) And, while Tebow has been especially graceful in deflecting all questions about being frustrated or insulted, hasn't his prominence as the most chronicled backup quarterback in the league despite the fact that he barely sets foot on the field made him a potential pinata from the time he joined the team?
It hasn't helped either Tebow or Ryan, or the media's obsession with Tebow, that the coach continually cast Tebow as the Paul Revere of Possibilities, repeatedly sounding alarms about how Tebow was about to ride to the rescue in some surprising role. Within weeks, that was sounding like the boy who cried wolf.
Ultimately, all Tebow is is an innocent bystander on a 3-6 team. Tebow must be taken at his word that he just wants to help the team in any way possible, that he is willing to take on any assignment sent his way, and that (not his exact words, but close) whatever doesn't kill him will make him stronger.
If the team starts winning, Sanchez said, this turbulence will abate. (Possibly, though Tebow could continue to be viewed as someone who is famous merely for being famous.) Even when Tebow engineered a series of shocking victories for Denver last season, there was a general consensus that he was not meant to be a pro quarterback.
There is no sin in that.
Besides Tebow, an overwhelming number of Heisman Trophy winners -- Troy Smith, Matt Leinart, Jason White and Eric Couch among the more recent examples -- have been NFL busts. Think about it though: If the Jets really did trade for Tebow to drain public attention away from the Super Bowl champion Giants, that's working out pretty well.