|Tim Tebow (left) is joining the Jets, who missed the playoffs last season for the first time under coach Rex Ryan.|
Once again, Tim Tebow found a way to make the fourth quarter interesting.
In one of the strangest, most newsworthy days in the history of NFL offseasons, the future of the league's most polarizing player hung in the balance well into the evening as a result of a snag in the trade intended to send him from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets.
Yes, that's right: The most debated player in America's most popular sport was headed to the biggest media market in the country. ... Until a bizarre set of circumstances put the whole thing on ice. ... Before the deal finally got done at around 9 p.m. ET.
TMZ chasing Rex Ryan through the airport? Antonio Cromartie reiterating on Twitter that he'd prefer Tebow head elsewhere? A late surge by the Jacksonville Jaguars to get back into the mix? All of this on the day when the NFL pummeled the Saints with unprecedented punishments.
All on a Wednesday. All in the month of March. All confirming the new reality of professional football: It just never sleeps.
Yet after all the drama, after all the tension surrounding the contract stipulation that sent the day onto another crazy ride, it all ended up back where it began. Tebow is headed to the Jets, an unfathomable possibility only a few months ago. And yet, perhaps, it actually makes perfect sense.
If given the choice, I could see Tebow still being amenable to jumping into the New York media market. If you think the pressure of the Big Apple is too much for Tebow, you've yet to understand the enormity of the world that follows him. This is not too big for him. In fact, I'd argue Tebow wants as much attention as possible.
But really, you ask? He'd rather be in New York over Jacksonville? He'd rather play in a circus-like atmosphere instead of his hometown that's an hour drive from the college campus where he became a sports legend? Yes. And here's why ...
Tebow believes he has been placed on this Earth for one reason -- the very reason he has been given the athletic gift that has allowed him to become a sports phenomenon. He is here to impact lives and spread his message. In New York, unlike any other place in this country, he'll have the biggest platform to do that.
Not into the religious motivations? Fine. From a football standpoint, Tebow can view the Jets as a place where he'll still be able to get on the field in some capacity, even if it's not as the starting quarterback.
Taking Mark Sanchez off the field isn't the same as taking Tom Brady off the field. Tebow can help the Jets if used properly, and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano might be an ideal person to get that done.
This, of course, might not be popular with everyone. But Tebow isn't interested in simply making popular decisions. He's into putting himself in situations where he's wanted by the coaches he plays for, where he'll have a chance to succeed.
In Jacksonville, at least by all appearances, the owner and the fan base craved his potential presence, while the coaching staff and personnel department were lukewarm at best. In New York, it didn't take the nod from ownership to push this decision.
Surely, though, the craziness is not over yet. It will not end with the consummation of a strange trade, nor will it end simply because this one wacky day came to its close. Instead, the Tebow story will only explode into bigger storylines from here.
So as one of the craziest days during any offseason comes to its quiet close, you can be certain that it's only the beginning. After all, this is the NFL. And the NFL, as we've started to learn, never sleeps.
Follow Jeff Darlington on Twitter @jeffdarlington