Why Jets Fans Should Be Worried About Tim Tebow

The controversial megastar will bring a media circus with him to New York, which is exactly what the struggling team doesn't need.

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The middle of the road is a Jets fan's home. Beginning in the days of "Broadway" Joe Namath, followers of the franchise became accustomed to the obscurity of being a consistently 8-8 team. Since 1969, the Jets have had just eight seasons with ten or more wins and made the playoffs just 11 times. As an emotional investment, they were low risk, low reward. When Rex Ryan took over as head coach in 2009, he wasted no time guaranteeing the first Jets Super Bowl since 1969. In both the 2009 and 2010 seasons, he almost made good on that promise, getting the Jets to two consecutive AFC Championship games. In doing so he dared to raise the hopes of a fan base that had long since consigned their franchise to permanent second-tier status.

This past season, as the Jets skidded out of control, Ryan kept up the bluster, even as embarrassing consecutive losses to Philadelphia and the New York Giants made his words sound more like pleas for attention. When the Jets skidded on a three-game losing streak and missed the playoffs, it hurt. In the aftermath they were skewered in the media as leaderless, trash-talking divas falling apart on the field and in the locker room.

When it became clear that Peyton Manning was going to land in Denver and unseat the Broncos' controversial megastar Tim Tebow, the sports media nearly had a collective seizure. Pundits, drunk on the joy of wild speculation, had Tebow pegged as a lock for sad, quarterback-desperate teams like the Miami Dolphins or the Jacksonville Jaguars. Few thought he would land with the New York Jets, the team that just guaranteed their own franchise quarterback, Mark Sanchez, $20 million over the next two years. But landed there he has, giving Jets fans a new reason to be frustrated.

From an on-field standpoint, the trade is conceivably justified. Tebow is a talented athlete and put in the right position, he could breathe some life and flexibility into the Jets' 24th-ranked offense. But everything he does can be replicated, at a higher level, by a player already on the Jets roster. Sanchez, though he looks thoroughly average (and even below that) at times, is a statistically superior quarterback. They have an effective running back in Shonn Greene, and an explosive running back/receiver hybrid in Joe McKnight. Tebow would ostensibly be used in the Jets' wildcat (a kind of anything-goes trick play formation used maybe five to ten times a game), but Jeremy Kerley proved himself in that role in week 18 with a competent 40-yard pass to Mathew Mulligan. The Jets have very limited cap space and just signed back-up quarterback Drew Stanton six days ago. Why spend another $2.5 million and two draft picks on Tim Tebow?

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Daniel D. Snyder is a writer based in New Mexico.

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