Tebow Mania Comes to New York

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The Lord certainly works in mysterious ways. The Denver Broncos 2011 season began with a record of 1-4, a team struggling on the field that was looking for a spark to get some wins. Then a miracle happened, his name is Tim Tebow, the #25overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and backup quarterback for the Denver Broncos was given the opportunity to start against the Miami Dolphins in week seven of the regular season. They would go on to win the game 18-15 and advance their team record to 2-4.

Tebow was a two time National Champion in college while playing for the Florida Gators and has shown wherever he has played that he is a winner. He would then become a regular starter for the remainder of the Bronco’s season and lead the team to 6 straight wins and a final record of 8-8 and a spot in the playoffs. Many of the games were won in the fourth quarter and/or overtime. With a quarterback rating of 75.1, a completion percentage of passes at 47.3%, and coming off of a loss to the New England Patriots which resulted in a permanent halt for the 2011 Denver Broncos season, why is Tim Tebow still reviled as a messiah for football? What is it about the 24 year old quarterback that has led the world to stand up and take notice?

Tim Tebow is a devout Christian who has no shame in praising his lord and savior before, during and after football games. Never before in the history of sports has a player been so vocal about his religious beliefs and has been able to incorporate them into his personality on camera in such a way that he has now become a huge media sensation. He became known for his famous “Tebowing” where he gets down on one knee which also relates to his religious beliefs. There is controversy that surrounds Tim Tebow everywhere he goes. There are those who feel he goes too “overboard” with proclamations such as that it is God himself who helps Tebow win football games. This has called into question then who exactly is on the side of those who are against Tim Tebow? No matter what the controversy is there is no denying that Tebow’s public following is strong and loyal. Now, after becoming a superstar and creating a devote following, will they continue to follow him to another team?

On March 21st 2011, Tim Tebow was traded to the New York Jets in what many are considering to be a publicity stunt. The trade occurred just a few days after his former team the Broncos introduced their new quarterback Peyton Manning which led to possibilities Tebow would be traded. Joe Taranto, an undergraduate student at NYIT has gone on the record for saying, “I wasn’t surprised the Jets made a move like this! To me this was the Jets making a splash in the headlines to sell tickets and jerseys. This puts them in the headlines so you can hear less about the Giants.” There are others who see it as a wise strategy that will bring about nothing but positive impact. That impact is already being felt by Campus Slate Editor in Chief John Santamaria who was interviewed by the NY Daily News about the arrival of Tim Tebow to the Jets at the t-shirt sale launch at the Times Square Modell’s on March 22nd. “I want my Tebow apparel!” shouted John Santamaria, 21, who was among the first in line Thursday afternoon. “I’m a big Tebow fan. He’s given the Jets fans something to be excited about.” 

However, that impact may or may not yet be able to revitalize the New York Jets who are coming off a disappointing 2011 season record of 8-8. The fans are in a state of disappointment after being promised by Rex Ryan now for three years a Super Bowl trophy with starting quarterback Mark Sanchez leading the helm. Tebow has been quoted as saying, “I always try to put the team first. … My goal is to hopefully make the Jets a little bit better, to be a great teammate.” Dimitri Matsikas, an Engineering Management major who is enjoying his senior year at NYIT has stated, “Their current quarterback Mark Sanchez is coming off of a rough year and Tebow is not going to help Sanchez grow. Sanchez is a much better quarterback than Tebow from a technical standpoint and he needs time and support from his teammates to become a better NFL quarterback. Tebow’s presence will slow that development.”

Indeed there is strong friction currently between the New York Jets locker room and the polarizing young Tebow who will be the teams #2 quarterback while Sanchez is still the team’s starting quarterback. On the matter of working with Sanchez, Tebow has stated that he and Sanchez are both “extreme competitors and they’ll be able to push each other to get better.” Mark Sanchez has also gone on the record to say his thoughts about working with Tebow. “He definitely has talent,” Sanchez said. “He knows how to win. He knows how to impact players.” However, some of the locker room players such as Antonio Cromartie have been quoted on twitter for saying in response to the team’s acquisition of Tebow “Why bring Tebow in when we need to bring in more Weapons for Mark Sanchez? Let’s build the team around him. We already signed him to a 3 year extension.” That year three year extension deal is set to cost the team $58.25 million over the next five seasons, including $20.5 million in guaranteed money that will go straight to Mark Sanchez.

NYIT student Joe Taranto continues to say about Tebow, “He has a lot to prove. In all honesty, he shouldn’t even be talked about, but his strong religious beliefs and character makes him a great story for the media. Since he has so many doubters the media is turning it into a Cinderella story. He can’t run an NFL formation and team’s needs to cater to him if they want it to work. Hence, the Jets using him for wildcat formations. I don’t think he can single-handedly help the Jets. He will only be a motivation if he helps the Jets win.” He was introduced to the New York media on March 26thin a press conference at the Jets practice facility in Florham Park, NJ. “I’m looking forward to my future as a Jet and I’m very, very excited about it,” Tebow said at the start the conference. He was asked a variety of questions in relation to his new team, competition on the field and his religious beliefs in which he all answered in a positive approach something he has been known for throughout his early career.

He has a positive attitude but if it does not translate to wins then there is no point in him being there. A lot is riding on this acquisition of Tim Tebow and depending on how Sanchez performs next season, it could be a very controversial season that will see two players vying for the hearts and minds of their fellow teammates and fans. Now with the hype of the trade and press conference complete, the next step is preparing for the upcoming NFL season and with still almost 3 months until training camps open, the talk of the league right now here in New York is Tebow Mania!!!

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