JETS: It's All About Tebow Time In NY

So much for a quiet offseason. Tim Tebow trade to the New York Jets shakes things up in the AFC East.

Tebow trade shatters the silence
The Sports Xchange

   Tim Tebow sported a green necktie on Monday when he was introduced to the media as the newest member of the New York Jets, but he made it clear that he is not "green with envy" - or any other negative emotion - when it comes to his old team in Denver, new Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning or his new teammate Mark Sanchez.

   "It's such an honor for me to be here," Tebow said at the press conference, held at the Jets' training facility in Florham Park, N.J. "I'm so excited to be a Jet."
   While TV evangelist and commentator Pat Robertson panned the Broncos' move, saying it would "serve them right" for trading Tebow - the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and an outspoken Christian - if Manning were to suffer a relapse of the neck injury that sidelined him for the 2011 season, Tebow was nothing but gracious when it came to the Broncos.

   "There is no ill will to the Broncos or the coaching staff or Peyton Manning or anybody," Tebow said. "I know they're going to have a great team and are going to win a lot of games next season. I'll always have a lot of friends on that team, and I'm always going to root for those guys because we went through a lot together. It'll be exciting to watch and see how they do, but I'm excited about being a Jet, and this is where I want to be."

   As for Tebow's role with the Jets, he doesn't anticipate any friction with incumbent Jets starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, who signed a five-year contract extension worth $58.25 million on March 9.

   "I think the exciting thing is me and Mark have a really good relationship," Tebow said. "We've been friends, we text back and forth, we talked already and we're going to have a great working relationship.

   "From my conversations with him, he was excited, he was excited about working with me and I'm excited to work with him. He's won a lot of games as a quarterback and I think we'll have a great working relationship. I'm excited about that opportunity."

   That having been said, Tebow is eager to play as much as he can for the Jets, although current plans call for Sanchez to remain the starter while Tebow works mostly in the Wildcat package popularized by new Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.

   "I think everybody that puts on a uniform, you want to get out there and you want to play, you want to play football," Tebow said. "Whatever my role is, however I can expand that role, I'm going to go out and do that. I'm going to try and help this team any way I can."

   More than 200 members of the media attended Tuesday's press conference, according to team reports.

   --So much for the Jets' quiet offseason.

   The Jets returned to their reality show ways Wednesday (March 21), when they spent all day and most of the night acquiring, un-acquiring and then really acquiring quarterback Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos. The Jets sent a fourth- and sixth-round pick in next month's draft to the Broncos in exchange for Tebow and a seventh-round pick this year, but of course, the deal was far more complex than that.

   At 12:50 p.m. Wednesday, the Jets sent out a Tweet announcing the trade was complete. But by mid-afternoon, word trickled out the Jets were refusing to pay the more than $5 million in recapture money the Broncos were due after advancing Tebow several years of salary. So Tebow went back on the block with both the Jets and his hometown Jacksonville Jaguars pursuing him.

   Several hours of conflicting reports (and at least one Tweet from a fake Tebow account announcing he had been traded to the Jaguars) later, Tebow was again headed to New Jersey after the Jets and Broncos agreed to split the money. During a conference call that began after 10:30-the Jets' second late-night conference call announcing quarterback news in the last 12 days-general manager Mike Tannenbaum said Tebow was acquired to serve as the No. 2 quarterback behind Mark Sanchez and that he would fill a change-of-pace Wildcat role while posing no threat to Mark Sanchez' starting job.

   "It makes us more diverse, more dynamic, and I think it's going to make defensive coordinators get ready for a lot of different things we can do offensively," Tannenbaum said. "Mark's our starter. We just feel like we added a great playmaker backup quarterback in Tim."

   And, not inconsequentially, a decidedly unconventional player who generates plenty of news and headlines for who he is and what he does on and off the field. Thrust into the starting lineup last season after the Broncos started 1-4, Tebow directed Denver to a 7-4 record and the AFC West title as a starter.

   The Broncos were trailing or tied at the beginning of the fourth quarter in six of those wins, including a 17-13 win over the Jets Nov. 17 in which Tebow capped a 95-yard drive by scrambling 20 yards for the winning score with less than a minute to play. And in the wild-card round against the Steelers, Tebow threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play from scrimmage in the first playoff game played under the new postseason overtime rules.

   Tebow's touchdown celebration-i.e. "Tebowing"-became a national fad and his openly religious ways inspired plenty of debate nationwide, as well as a memorable Saturday Night Live skit. Tebow's jersey was the second-best seller in the NFL last year, ranking just behind then-reigning Super Bowl champion Aaron Rodgers. The New York Times reported in February that Tebow's name was mentioned about 1,450 times on ESPN's SportsCenter last season, almost twice as often as runner-up Tom Brady.

   As often as Tebow won and as much chatter as he caused, though, his unorthodox style never seemed to win over Broncos executive vice president of football operations and Hall-of-Fame quarterback John Elway, who was often pictured grimacing in a luxury suite during Tebow's starts.

   And critics contended the Broncos, armed with a top-notch defense and running game, won not because of Tebow but in spite of a quarterback who had as many rushes as completions in six of the 14 games in which he attempted a pass (including Nov. 13, when Tebow completed two passes in a 17-10 win over the Chiefs). Counting the playoffs, the Broncos were just 3-6 when Tebow attempted more than 20 passes.

   Winning the Peyton Manning sweepstakes Monday allowed Elway to make the least awkward break possible from the Tebow Era and set the wheels in motion to send Tebow to the big city, where the news was greeted Thursday morning with a New York Daily News back page cartoon picturing the Statue of Liberty Tebowing and the words "Timsanity is upon us," a play on Linsanity, the last New York-based sporting sensation.

   The Jets, who missed the playoffs last season while the Giants won the Super Bowl, can certainly use Tebow's ability to sell jerseys and drive talk-show debate as they once again try to steal the metro New York area away from the Giants. It seemed appropriate that coach Rex Ryan's first comments about the trade were captured by none other than TMZ.
   "We obviously know that Tim has a magnetic following," Tannenbaum said. "We understand the popularity of any backup quarterback, and this one is a little bit more unique than the others."

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