The blacklisting of Tim Tebow is not his fault but it is fair

Doug Pensinger

The fact former Broncos and Jets quarterback Tim Tebow was drafted much earlier than he should have, then traded to the worst team possible isn't his fault. But it's understandable and fair for a team to not want to bring in the headache his cult-like status creates.

Tribune Review columnist Joe Starkey wants to talk about (voice lowering to a whisper) Tim Tebow.

Shhhh....

The same quasi-quarterback who is a three-letter word and a five-letter word - not quite four letters, and not quite a quarterback - and is unemployed.

Some are miffed by why Tebow remains unsigned, and non-expert level football minds would likely agree he has a general lack of ability throwing the ball proficiently, but point out random names of other quarterbacks who have jobs, thus justifying Tebow's inclusion on a roster somewhere, because, apparently, all passers are created somewhat equally.

The point most are making is if he was good enough to beat the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs in 2011, he's good enough to be a back-up in 2013.

He beat a Steelers team that beat two teams with winning records in 2011 (the Cincinnati Bengals twice and the Patriots) - yes, including Tebow's Broncos, despite the fact the Steelers were down to the bottom of their defensive line barrel and a quarterback who would have shoulder surgery after the season.

Tebow shares that career achievement with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers - both have defeated the Steelers the only time each have faced them in the playoffs. Does that make them similar? It's laughable to suggest such a thing.

So why bother pointing it out as if it was some kind of Tebow-produced water-into-Gatorade miracle?

The argument can be made Tebow isn't on a roster because of the hype his persona carries - fair to him or otherwise. After all, it wasn't his fault Broncos coach Josh McDaniels drafted him in the first round, where he shouldn't have been drafted (McDaniels was fired midway through Tebow's second season and has been barred from making any personnel decisions since then). It also wasn't his fault Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum dealt a fifth-round pick for Tebow, and personally set up the tents and fed the Carnies of the Tebowmania Circus that would eventually envelope a struggling Jets franchise.

Tannenbaum was relieved of his decision-making duties shortly after the 2012 season ended.

All that being said, it doesn't appear to be difficult to argue Tebow got to experience the unfair side of being grossly overrated (assuming you don't bring up the millions of dollars he's pocketed since arriving in the league). It's tough to come up with a more disastrous pair of personnel men over the last four years in the NFL.

But none of this masks two facts: Tebow is a below average passer with poor mechanics and a seemingly slow comprehension of offense at the NFL level, and the fact we are still talking about this will only lead to us talking about it some more, which creates a distraction among the franchise.

It's impossible to be lukewarm about him. People are all in or all out. But now, if a team isn't willing to be all-in with Tebow - i.e. be prepared to handle the circus-like atmosphere that follows him around like bad body odor - they won't bother giving him a tryout.

Some clamor Tebow is being blacklisted and the evidence is found in the fact JaMarcus Russell - arguably the biggest bust in NFL history - is getting a tryout in an effort to jumpstart his career.

Russell, for as bad as his mechanics are, has much more skill as a passer than Tebow. His issues certainly are many (hence the reason he was released three years into his career after being the first pick of the 2007 NFL Draft), but, after sitting out for three years, he's getting another look to see if things for him have changed.

Tebow can spend some time outside of the NFL, letting his devout followers chill for a bit. He'll likely get another chance at some point (it is eventually hard to pass up potential back-up quarterbacks with starting experience), but it won't be now, when his glorious run in Denver followed by the organizational failure of the Jets show nothing but his cult status taking any and all attention away from his team.


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