Plenty of people think New England is the perfect landing spot for the 24-year-old quarterback with one-of-a-kind skills, especially since Tebow is already pals with both Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who drafted Tebow for the Broncos in 2010. But like one of Tebow's wobbling down-the-field heaves, making Tebow fit with the Patriots may be more of an excitement generator than the way to gameplan for a season.
The Patriots have checked out Tebow before (the aforementioned North End dinner with Belichick), and both Belichick and Nick Caserio, the Patriots' director of player personnel, have had kind words about Tebow as a person and as a quarterback.
But Tebow's main draw continues to be the attention surrounding his personality and heroic feats, and that's why his joining the Patriots seems to be a stretch.
If Tebow came to New England, one thing he definitely wouldn't be doing is challenging Tom Brady for the starting job. He would be the understudy, the backup, the dutiful disciple … but for how long? Tebow is the lightning rod he is because he does amazing things when he plays, and for him to do that, he has to be on the field.
Tebow wouldn't have to be a conventional backup, of course. He could jump into Brady-led sets as a halfback, much like tight end Aaron Hernandez did last season. But Belichick and Caserio have both said that when they evaluated Tebow, they judged him as a quarterback, nothing else. Finding an extra place for a player to contribute to the team is different than bringing in a player who won't even be given the chance to compete for an on-field role.
Tebow has struggled as a backup before, and his vocal fans haven't loved it, either. It's asking a lot to think that he would be OK staying on the sidelines for another few seasons, especially after his quick rise to greatness this past season in Denver. A year in which, despite never having more than middling quarterback numbers, he led the Broncos to six wins in a row and a 29-23 playoff shocker over Pittsburgh.
Tebow showed his greatest advances when he was given playing time to work on his game, and retreating to be a backup or a pseudo-halfback doesn't make a lot of sense.
The elephant in the room, of course, would be whether Tebow as the backup suddenly becomes the heir apparent for when Brady's time is done. Brady and the Pats are possibly the best at sticking to business, but if Tebow's ascension past Kyle Orton and the entire offseason mess with Peyton Manning has shown anything, it's that conjecture can take on a life of its own. Introducing the possibility of someone other than Brady could set the Patriots up for a messy ending even before their top-level quarterback shows a hint of regression.
Tebow also brings a great deal of attention anywhere he goes, thanks to his huge fan following and how outspoken he is about his faith. While Tebow himself is a nice, polite young man, let's just say Belichick prefers as few circuses as possible. Tebow is a great draw, and definitely an exciting player, but those aren't areas where the Patriots need help right now.
Perhaps the biggest reason why the Patriots should just leave well enough alone is that New England is already loaded. The hardcore fans may only see dropped passes and Brady getting sacked, but compared to the rest of the league, the Patriots are in great shape. Any help they need is on the defensive end. Just because Belichick could find a great place to plug in Tebow doesn't mean he should, especially if it comes at the expense of Brady or the rest of the great offensive tools New England has been developing.
It's like when the Yankees add another .300 hitter. Did they really need to do that, or do they have the same chance at Alex Rodriguez striking out to end the game as when they had a couple cheaper guys in the lineup?
The Patriots went to the Super Bowl this year with Brady, a solid set of offensive tools, a defense picked off the practice squad and held together with duct tape, and Belichick's scheming. What about Tebowmania turns that into a Lombardi Trophy?
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