After giving Tim Tebow the preseason to prove himself, the New England Patriots reached the same conclusion as the New York Jets and cut the polarizing quarterback Saturday, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported. If even Bill Belichick -- one of the most innovative minds in football today -- can't figure out what to do with the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, is this the end of Tebow's highly publicized NFL run? Has Tebowmania reached its conclusion?
This could be the end for Tim Tebow, but I hope not: Less than 20 months ago, I watched him top off a 316-yard outing with a dramatic, game-winning touchdown pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers -- then the NFL's top defense -- in a memorable playoff triumph for the Denver Broncos.
Most players who wash out after enjoying early success do something to hasten their demise, either on or off the field (or both). Not Tebow, who hasn't even taken a meaningful snap since the Broncos' divisional-round defeat to the Pats one week after the aforementioned Steeler slaying. The Buffalo Bills might start undrafted rookie free agent Jeff Tuel against the Pats in their season opener. Couldn't one make a case that Tebow might give Buffalo a better chance to win?
Now that even New England could not figure out how to make this work, I suspect the next we will see of Tim Tebow is as a wildly successful and impactful motivational speaker. Long before Tebow was signed, it seemed like the Patriots were his last, best shot: Bill Belichick is a creative thinker, Josh McDaniels drafted Tebow in the first round and there wouldn't be any pressure on Tebow to be a starting quarterback because Tom Brady still walks the Foxborough earth. But Tebow actually seems to have regressed as a quarterback despite -- or maybe because of -- all the tinkering he has undergone.
Tebow doesn't play other positions, and it no longer seems realistic that he can be rebuilt into an NFL signal-caller. As Frank Sinatra might have sung, "If Tebow can't make it there, he can't make it anywhere." And I don't think he will.
I'll be honest: I'm kind of surprised Tim Tebow didn't make the squad. Yes, I understand that puts me in the vast minority. I mean, Bill Belichick has watched Tebow play before, right? He paid attention when his Patriots knocked Tebow's Broncos out of the playoffs a few years ago, no?
It could have been a strategic move to just keep Tebow on the roster. If Belichick had kept him, coaches around the league would have spent hours trying to figure out how the Pats were planning to utilize him. Just getting coaches to worry about what Belichick could do with Tebow would have been more valuable than doing anything with him at all. It would have been like the NFL's version of Keyser Söze.
But yeah, Tebow is done.
This isn't surprising at all -- if Tim Tebow can't play QB, what position is he going to play for you, exactly? He didn't learn how to play anything else in the offseason, so you can't throw him out there and expect him to be an added weapon for you. And you can't keep a player like him to just be the punt protector.
The only way Tebow plays in the NFL again is if he does one of two things:
1) Learns how to play tight end or H-back effectively, and tells teams he's willing to change positions to play in the league. He'll have suitors then.
2) Goes to Canada, plays QB there for three years and really learns the position. Proves he can get better and waits for an outside-the-box-type head coach to get hired. Then he could make a Doug Flutie-like comeback.
Those really are the only two avenues open to him if he wants to keep playing football.