The most polarizing figure in the NFL is heading to Foxborough, Mass. The New England Patriots have officially signed former Denver Broncos and New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, who was a free agent since being released by the Jets in April after one forgettable season in New York. As a backup quarterback, offensive specialist, and special team player last season, Tebow completed six of eight passes for 39 yards and no touchdowns, and ran the ball 32 times for 102 yards and zero scores. While the Jets’ experiment was an unequivocal failure, the following are reasons to believe that he can find ways to contribute in New England if he ultimately makes the 53-man roster:
“The Patriot Way”
The Patriots run a no-nonsense operation, insisting that each player align his personal goals with those of the team. The organization has shown in the past that it will limit players’ availability to the media in order to avoid unwanted and unwarranted attention for any particular member of the team. When the Patriots signed Chad Johnson—who experienced off-field issues before and after his stint in New England—in 2011, they managed to get the attention-hungry wideout to fall in line on an AFC champion team without incident. With that in mind, the Patriots are well-suited to handle the media circus that comes with Tebow.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a proven track record of converting players with questionable backgrounds into team players on winning squads, including getting career-best years out of players like Randy Moss and Corey Dillon, both of whom previously had reputations as selfish players with character issues. Belichick has also demonstrated that he will shuffle players around to best utilize their talents, including playing veteran wide receiver Troy Brown at cornerback during the Patriots’ Super Bowl runs in the 2000s. Current Pats receiver Julian Edelman has also seen snaps on defense when needed. With his track record of maximizing the value of each player, Belichick may offer the best chance for Tebow to consistently showcase his skill set.
Patriots’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels was the head coach in Denver when the Broncos traded up to draft the former Heisman winner out of Florida in the first round of the 2010 draft. With a familiar play-caller at the helm who clearly believes that Tebow can succeed, there is reason to believe that every effort will be made to find a way for the former college standout to produce.
There will be no quarterback controversy between Tebow—who has 17 career touchdown passes and owns a completion percentage of less than 50%—and Tom Brady—a three-time Super Bowl champion—but that doesn’t mean that Tebow’s arrival at Jets minicamp will be without a massive media crush. If any team is capable of silencing “Tebowmania,” however, it’s Belichick’s Patriots.