On ESPN NY, the statement was made that Tim Tebow has been mistreated this season by the Jets. Dave Rothenberg pointed out that it is not easy to state that an athlete has been mistreated, but in Tebow's situation he felt it was valid. A safer choice would be stating that Tebow was mislead.
Go back to March 21st when the Jets acquired Tebow for a fourth and sixth round pick. Many people were baffled, but when weighing the situation out the Jets didn't sacrifice much. March 26th comes and the red carpets are rolled out for Tebow. He gives his much awaited press conference, in which he states his "excitement" to be a Jet. Tony Sparano was brought in as the offensive coordinator, and fans were promised to see specific 10-15 play packages that were specialized for Tebow. He was never promised a starting job, however he was supposed to be an impact player. The offense was supposed to be unique and innovative. The season seemed somewhat promising for Tebow.
Late July comes and with that arrives training camp. The truth starts to unravel as Tebow spends a majority of the time as a punt protector and back up quarterback. Still some hope is there for Tebow being a dependable backup. Tebow's preseason debut was average against the Bengals. His play wasn't alarming or spectacular.
Tebow gains more publicity for his GQ shoot and ESPN birthday bonanza. The media is focused on Tebow and he responds in a positive manner. Tebow passes for 70 yards in his MetLife Debut, however short arms a pass to Stephen Hill. The Jets show some value and interest by resting Tebow against the Panthers pre-season game.
Against Buffalo in the opener, the wildcat is used and proves to be extremely predictable. Tebow only receives five carries, with no passes. He plays a majority of the game on specials. Against Pittsburgh Tebow only touches the ball once for a 22 yard rush. As the season progresses Tebow sparingly touches the ball (far from the promised 10-15 play packages designed and "hidden" during the pre-season) and finally throws one pass against San Francisco. His only big yardage play came off a fake punt pass for 23 yards against Indianapolis.
Crazy ideas are thrown out that Tebow was to possibly see running back action due to injuries. The season unraveled in all different directions for Tebow that were far from the original plan . Tebow is dubbed as "terrible" by teammates. It is safe to criticize play, however in Tebow's scenario he had limited opportunities.
Tebow revealed on November 23rd that he fractured two ribs against the Seahawks on the 11th. In an odd turn of events Greg McElroy gets the call against the Cardinals with Tebow being inactive. McElroy replaced Sanchez who's performance was awful, and wins the game by a slim 7-6 score. It's strange how Rex Ryan replaces Sanchez when Tebow is out. Sanchez had played awfully in games prior to the Arizona showdown (buttfumble ThanksGiving). Tebow was at least promised to be a backup and didn't even receive that privilege.
Tebow's wildcat and special teams roles are revoked after the Jacksonville game, which leads Rex to say he's just the number two. After the awful loss to the Titans (which deminished any post-season hopes), Rex turns to a new quarterback. The assumption was that Tebow would earn the job, however he chooses McElroy. Tebow was declared a backup to Sanchez and lost that role to a kid who barely beat the Cardinals throwing for 29 yards. McElroy has little NFL experience. Tebow was unorthodox, yet he led the Broncos to the playoffs. This isn't his first rodeo, but Rex thought McElroy was the better option.
Tebow is proven and you know what you have with him. The man was perhaps the most electrifying college football player in the modern era. Sure McElroy was a national title winner, but his team was carried by Ingram and defense play. Tim Tebow was Florida football and he transitioned some aspects of his game into the NFL. He earned the right to at least get some play for the Chargers game over McElroy. I'm sure Tebow's past performances validate him starting over McElroy's game against the Cardinals.
McElroy was serviceable at best against the Chargers getting sacked 11 times. To his defense it is hard to play well when your constantly under pressure. Rumor spread that Tebow was not pleased and asked not to go in for the wildcat plays. People can patronize Tim Tebow for his play, but don't patronize the guys morality and work ethic. He is a team player who went from starting a year ago to being a special teams option. He grinds daily at practice and is slighted for someone who was originally listed as a third string.
The biggest hit to Tebow's confidence was the announcement that Mark Sanchez will start Sunday against Buffalo due to the concussion McElroy suffered from the Charger game. Many would have assumed that maybe Tebow would get a start to at least audition for other teams. He has at least earned that if not more. Rex Ryan had the audacity to say that Tebow probably wasn't happy with the choice. It doesn't take a psychologist to make that kind of analysis. Ryan stated that Sanchez will start because of his week one performance against Buffalo and his familiarity with the team. It was probably the poorest excuse for Sanchez all season.
Tebow was promised fool's gold. He was never promised a starting role, but he was supposed have some significant impact. Instead he has be polarizing for all the wrong reasons this season. At 25 he missed a peak year in his football career. Time and youth are key in this game and the Jets wasted a year for him. Imagine if you are recruited for a job and promised to utilize your special talents, but instead you are put to the side to file paper work. Tebow can be criticized for play, but it is an injustice to him to criticize his morality and football passion. The Jets have attempted to demoralize him and the media has tried to get him to crumble under the New York pressure. Tebow has stayed silent, but he has earned the right to respectfully voice his frustration. Mistreated no, but Tebow was completely misled and exposed for wrong reasons.