Now that Tim Tebow has been cut, it's time to look back at the Tebow Era with the Jets and remember the good times. Here are my top ten moments.
10. First play of the season features Tebow and Mark Sanchez together
People spent all offseason wondering how the Jets would create a dynamic offense with Sanchez and Tebow. The first play of the season, Sanchez and Tebow came out on the field together with Sanchez at quarterback and Tebow at wide receiver. It was the dawning of a new era. With two quarterbacks on the field together, the defense would never know what was coming next. That's a recipe for an unstoppable offense.
9. Tebow off left tackle for four yards
Tebow got his first chance in the first quarter. He took it off tackle for four yards. Mark Sanchez was pulled plenty in an opener in which he lit up the Bills defense so that Tebow could run 5 times for 12 yards.
8. Jets don't read the fine print; trade almost falls apart
Hours after the Jets had announced they had traded for Tebow, things hit a snag over a part of Tebow's contract that may have forced the Jets to pay Denver $5 million. The Jets didn't feel they were obligated to pay. The Broncos did. The Rams jumped into trade talks. The two teams eventually split the difference. Reports later came out the holdup was due simply to the Jets not reading Tebow's contract thoroughly.
7. Tebow misses touchdown pass in preseason
In a blowout preseason loss to the Giants, Tebow created some excitement. With the Jets driving in the second half, he scrambled in the backfield for a few seconds and then threw to Stephen Hill wide open in the end zone. The ball was badly underthrown, and the Jets missed a layup touchdown.
6. Tebow sits the preseason finale
The Jets sat their starters in the final preseason game against the Eagles. Tebow was one of the players who did not see action, which sparked a hard-hitting debate in the media about whether Rex Ryan should have played Tebow since he wasn't really a starter.
5. Sanchez pass hits Tebow in the facemask
Tebow has the build of a tight end. Naturally, that means he's capable of being a receiver even if he's totally unfamiliar with any of the tasks necessary to succeed in that role. Week 3 in Miami, Sanchez threw a pass to Tebow in the flat that banged off Tebow's facemask. Opponents started to realize that Tebow was no receiving threat and simply stopped covering him in some cases. The Jets eventually phased Tebow out of the receiving game.
4. Tebow gets activated on Thanksgiving, even though he couldn't play
Many wondered why Tebow got no playing time against the Patriots on Thanksgiving. Mark Sanchez played a miserable game, capped by the buttfumble. There was good reason to pull Sanchez. The Jets didn't even run their normal Tebow Wildcat sets or have Tebow play as a personal protector. Rex Ryan later explained Tebow's rib injury was too serious to let him play. That makes sense for about a second until you wonder why Ryan activated a player who couldn't play. Then it gets worse when you realize Tebow was the only quarterback other than Sanchez who was active for the game. The next week against the Cardinals, Tebow, although a week more healed, was inactive. Greg McElroy came off the bench and delivered a win in relief of Sanchez.
3. Tebow runs with his shirt off through the rain in training camp
This is pictured above. ESPN exploded when this happened with the kind of hard-hitting analysis of the Tebow Era with the Jets we've come to expect.
2. Tebow gets a series
Week 15 in Tennessee, Tebow finally got to play for a whole series. Jets fans had been calling for it all year. Why would Tony Sparano be stupid enough to play him and not give him a series? Tebow broke off runs of 11 and 12 yards on the first two plays. Then it became evident that even late in the year he still did not have a grasp of the playbook or basic concepts such as hot reads as the drive stalled, Tebow took a sack and a delay of game, and the Jets had to punt. Jets fans immediately cursed Tony Sparano for being stupid enough to give Tebow an entire series.
1. Tebow's introductory press conference
Knowing what we do now, Tebow's introductory press conference seems kind of sad. He seemed genuinely excited to be with the Jets. Tebow had already worked things out in his mind. He was going to work his rear end off and impress his coaches so much that he would get Mark Sanchez's starting job. He would lead the Jets to glory and become a New York sports immortal. Obviously that was not to be. The Jets didn't believe in him or Tebow didn't earn more playing time, probably both. Ultimately it is pretty clear both sides would have been better off had this marriage never happened. For that brief moment last March, there at least seemed to be a glimmer of hope that this could work out.