Whatever happened to Tebow-mania?!
One minute we're talking about how impossible it was for Tim Tebow to get the Broncos to the playoffs, then we're talking about how impossible it was that he beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. If they would have somehow beaten the AFC champion New England Patriots, Tebow probably would have been elected Pope.
Enter Peyton Manning.
As a band-wagon Colts fan, I'm well aware of Manning's talents and capabilities. As a realist, I'm not sure he has it anymore. True, there have been lots of quarterbacks to recover from major surgeries only to have successful year or five (worth $95 million no less).
Tom Brady is the poster child for QBs missing an entire season after an injury and coming back strong. If his receivers could catch a ball to save their lives, we'd be talking about Brady as one of if not the greatest quarterback of all time after another Super Bowl win avenging the loss to the Giants.
But the cards fell and Brady is still human. A first-ballot Hall of Fame human...but one capable of losing every once in awhile.
Back to Tebow and Manning.
I understand why the Broncos got rid of Tebow as fast as they did. They really botched the whole PR part of the Manning business. Maybe they were genuinely surprised that they were the front runners even after the 49ers came out of the closet looking to create a super team in San Fran with Manning at the helm.
What this Manning situation has actually done to the teams who were pursuing him is create a feeling of inadequacy for those QBs who stood on the sidelines waiting to get their pink slip. As it turns out, Tebow received his just a day after the Manning announcement. Mark Sanchez gets to keep his job, Alex Smith had no where else to sign but back with the 49ers, Miami is rolling the dice with David Garrard, the Seahawks thought Matt Flynn's record ONE game with Green Bay was enough to hand him the reins of their squad, and Jacksonville still thinks that Blaine Gabbert is the answer they're looking for at the QB spot.
So where does that leave Timmy T?
Well, the Jets solved that dilemma for us hours after Manning's press conference in Denver. Tebow is now a Jet and a third-string QB at best as far as quality play. Just a week before, the Jets re-signed Drew Stanton as their back-up QB for $1.25 million.
The Tebow signing can only mean one thing for New York's playbook...Wildcat.
The former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, now Jets offensive coordinator and the man who brought the wildcat into the NFL, will have his moment in the sun with Tebow in New York. The type of plays that the Broncos made work last season will be tweaked and perfected by Sparano. Tebow was not signed to simply sit behind Sanchez on the bench.
How does Tebow feel about this? It's hard to say. His Twitter indicated a few days back that Jacksonville would be his ideal trade destination and being close to home would be what he really wanted most. Contrary to that statement, sources around the trade yesterday stated that Tebow was given a major part in the decision of his trade and that New York was ultimately where he decided his services were best needed.
At this point in his career, I can't argue. No matter where Tim goes, his public will follow. Millions of fans around the country fawn over his laid-back demeanor, coupled with the fact that he's the most outspoken Christian the sports world has seen in a long time. As Colin Cowherd stated on his radio broadcast the other day, "The Christian mantle makes him a king among his fans, but with that title comes an uneasy feeling of zealotry wherever he goes."
That makes sense in that he will always have those fans, but as fickle as they can be, how quickly will they turn on him if he makes a mistake or even, God forbid (no pun intended), swears on the field? Despite how frequently and unashamedly NFL players let naughty words fly, Tebow and his faithful would get national criticism for those kinds of antics. Such is the life of a king.
Meanwhile, Manning is the new king of Denver and his new team is compiling talent around him as you read. The only question left on everyone's mind is the obvious one...can he still play?
There's no doubt that Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He has nothing left to prove, but still has a love for the game that has him conditioning back to football strength at age 36 with chronic neck problems.
My hunch is that the first six weeks will be rocky for Peyton, but he will bounce back and shine in the remaining part of the season.
If Tim Tebow gets half as much playing time as he's speculated to get, I may just become a band-wagon Jets fan (I'll just turn the channel when Mark Sanchez or Rex Ryan are on the TV). I'll also continue to root for the Broncos now that Manning has landed. To be fair, I liked Denver when they had Tebow so I haven't officially switched teams.