Tim Tebow threw 8 passes for the New York Jets during the entire 2012 season. Even though he was listed as the #2 QB, Jets Coach Rex Ryan refused to put him in the game to replace a severely struggling Mark Sanchez. Instead Ryan opted to play his 3rd string QB and keep Tebow on the bench. On April 29, 2013 the Jets released Tim Tebow after what many described as a successful campaign to kill his NFL career. For the next two months the sports world speculated, “What’s next for Tim Tebow?”
It looked as if no other team was interested in signing the 4th year free agent. Then on June 10, 2013, in a surprise move, the New England Patriots signed Tebow to a two-year contract with no guaranteed money. What does Belichick have in mind? The rumors and speculation started to heat up again. Did Josh McDaniels engineer the signing to finally be reunited with his prized 2010 draft pick? Did Belichick some how know in advance that Aaron Hernandez was a murderous thug and the Patriots would soon be in need of a fill-in TE? Is Tim Tebow the new heir-apparent to Tom Brady?
No, no, and no!
Take away the celebrity and media draw of Tim Tebow, and you see that this is the same game of cat and mouse that the Jets and Patriots (division rivals since 1960) have been playing for half a decade. Why did the Patriots sign Tim Tebow? Hmm…If you had the opportunity to sign your division rivals back-up QB, you would too. Who knows the Jets’ play book better than their QBs? Tim Tebow doesn’t just bring media attention and a choir boy image to Boston, he has the Jets’ entire offensive manual stored in his head. He will serve as the practice squad QB throughout training camp making sure the Patriots are ready to embarrass the Jets in their first meeting on September 12.
This is not a novel idea and certainly is not a new practice for either the Patriots or the Jets. Since 1993 both teams have been stealing both players and coaches from each other in hopes of gaining some advantage over the other. Did you know Bill Parcells, Pete Carroll, Eric Mangini, and even Bill Belichick have all held coaching positions on both the Jets and the Patriots during the last 20 years?
In 1994 Pete Carroll was named head coach of the New York Jets. Just 3 years later in 1997, Carroll was hired as head coach of the New England Patriots. Bill Parcells coached the Patriots from 1993-1996. Although Parcells had decided to leave New England, his contract did not allow him to coach anywhere else. The New York Jets sought Parcells as head coach and general manager. To circumvent Parcells’ contractual obligations, the Jets hired Bill Belichick (then the No. 1 assistant to Parcells) as the Jets coach, and then hired Parcells in an “advisory” role. After a lawsuit from the Patriots, a deal was struck allowing Parcells to coach the Jets in exchange for a number of future draft picks.
When Parcells stepped down as head coach of the Jets in 1999, he had already arranged with team management to have Belichick succeed him. However, Belichick would be the New York Jets’ head coach for only one day. When Belichick was introduced as head coach to the media—the day after his hiring was publicized—he turned it into a surprise-resignation announcement. Soon after this bizarre turn of events, he was introduced as the Patriots’ 12th full-time head coach, succeeding the recently fired Pete Carroll.
But the incestual relationship between the Patriots and jets doesn’t just end with coaches. In the last 20 years, over 50 players have jumped back and forth between the two division rivals.
After spending 3 seasons with the New England Patriots, running back Curtis Martin dashed over the the Jets at the start of the 1998 season. Long time Patriots defensive back, Ty Law left the Patriots following the 2004 season only to suit up for the Jets in 2005 bringing his entire knowledge of the Patriots defense with him.
In 2005 Vinny Testaverde was the starting QB for the Jets. The next year he was signed by New England on November 14, 2006, just in time to help the Patriots prepare for their victory over the Jets in the first round of the playoffs. In 2008 the Patriots drafted Kevin O’Connell, QB out of San Diego State, in the 3rd round of the draft. He was released at the end of the season and quickly snagged up by the Jets as an extra camp arm and to pick his brain about the New England offense. O’Connell was cut by the Jets—in front of millions of HBO viewers on Hardknocks—at the end of camp that year after they had pumped him for all his New England knowledge.
The very next year in 2010, the Jets appeared on HBO Hardknocks for a second consecutive year, and the Patriots returned the favor by signing New York’s camp spotlight player, Danny Woodhead.
The point is that this is nothing new. Tim Tebow’s signing is nothing special. He is not going to unseat Tom Brady. In fact he isn’t even going to unseat Ryan Mallett as the #2 signal caller. He certainly isn’t going to transform into a TE to replace Aaron Hernandez. Heck he may not even make the regular season roster. Plain and simple, Tim Tebow was signed by the Patriots for his knowledge of the Jets’ offense. If Tebow does remain with the Patriots, he will likely be inactive most weeks and that is a best case scenario. In short, if you want a Tim Tebow New England Patriots jersey, you better buy one quick while they are still making them.