"I think my role depends on how well I practice and how well I perform in practices," Tebow recently told the team's official website. "I think first and foremost, my goal is to go in there and work hard and to earn guys' respect a little bit at a time and one day at a time."
Both quarterbacks appear to welcome the competition, but how will this play out?
Scenario one: Coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano strike gold. A quietly motivated Sanchez regains focus, cuts down on mistakes and develops chemistry with Santonio Holmes. He is spelled periodically by Tebow in Wildcat situations, morphing New York's offense into an unpredictable stew that leaves opponents guessing. Both quarterbacks are hailed for executing their assignments, keeping drama to a minimum and leading the Jets to an AFC East title. The media mob predicting chaos for Gang Green comes off as foolish gossips and hobby horses. Mike Tannenbaum never pays for a steak again in the Tri-state area.
Scenario two: Fifty-two seconds into the season opener, Sanchez throws an incomplete pass. Tebow enters the game and runs for a 77-yard touchdown in which he sheds nine tacklers and somersaults into the end zone. Holmes is the first to greet Tebow in the end zone. The MetLife crowd sways in ecstasy. Mark Sanchez explodes into pieces on the spot.
Realistically, this pans out somewhere in between. Tebow appears to accept his role and remains openly excited to work with Sparano, who last coached him at the 2010 Senior Bowl.
"It was fun playing for him then and it will be a lot of fun playing for him now," Tebow said. "He's someone that is (an) extremely outside-the box thinker, and figures out ways to put his athletes in positions where they can succeed."
If Sparano can find a way to turn the Sanchez-Tebow puzzle into wins, he's more than earned his paycheck.