Guess who’s back?! Everyone’s favorite sports talking point (including Mockingbird’s) is heading to the New England Patriots, and the initial reactions are just as polarized as any conversation about Tim Tebow has ever been. There’s the cautious optimist, there’s the outright optimist, and then there’s the severe pessimist, to name just a few.
The Patriots are building a track record for giving high-profile names a second shot after failure. Sometimes it has worked (see Randy Moss) and other it has failed (Albert Hayensworth). Even though he is willing to give these second chances, the Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick, isn’t exactly the picture of grace (he reportedly points out every fault of every player the day after a loss, and treats everyone with a great deal of anger.)
On paper, Tebow’s signing makes very little sense. New England already has their starting quarterback in future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. Why do they need Tebow too? I’ve come up with a few reasons, however, that this might actually work:
1. Tebow is at the bottom of his barrel
There’s a passage in 1 Kings 17 about how God meets the needs of a widow and her son right as they are about to die because they have reached the bottom of their barrel of food. Tim Tebow is certainly at the bottom of his barrel right now. He was unceremoniously run out of New York, and he couldn’t find a team up until now. Just the other day he tweeted about going camping with a friend. It seems strange because Tebow has had a slow fall from grace without even doing anything wrong. Even so, his football career seemed over, and he was poised to hit the speaking circuit. It’s not that because he’s at the bottom of his barrel, then God MUST bless him with success. Of course not. It’s that Tebow has nowhere to go but up, and…
When Tebow signed with the Jets last year, the quarterback controversy started immediately and never subsided. The starting quarterback for the Jets, Mark Sanchez, has always been mired in mediocrity, and he never improved despite head coach Rex Ryan’s rather creepy love and admiration for him (Ryan got a tattoo of his wife in a sexy pose wearing nothing but a Sanchez jersey.) The expectation and the possibility that he COULD replace Sanchez made it all the more disgraceful when he didn’t. However, sitting behind Tom Brady in New England, there will be no expectations, no pressure. Pressure to succeed can be crippling, in football, in entertainment, and in life. Being freed from these expectations could allow Tebow to flourish in whatever role Belichick comes up with for him.
3. The Patriots will quash the Tim Tebow media circus
Belichick rules his player’s interaction with an iron fist (another reason why he is far from the perfect grace figure) and limits their exposure especially when they are high-profile names. Even when Patriot players do give press conferences, they are full of clichés and boring answers. The media yawns and seems to give up after a while. This is what Tebow needs. He needs the media to yawn and move onto another story so he can not only play football, but have his relationship with Jesus without being criticized every two seconds for it.
Of course, Tebow could also be cut from the Patriots’ roster this summer and drift away into obscurity, at which point I will sneak onto the Mockingbird server and delete this article because I’ll look like a fool. Tebow might not be the star football player he was two seasons ago, but this move could provide enough grace and remove enough expectations for him to get the fresh starts he’s needed so desperately.