Tebow Time hits the AFC East

Tebow Time hits the AFC East
March 22, 2012, 3:09 pm
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Yesterday afternoon, Tim Tebow was traded to the Jets.

Then he was untraded.

Then late last night, after a brief refractory period, the Broncos were ready to go again. This time, they asked Where's it going to be, Tim: New York or Jacksonville? And because thats an insanely easy question, he picked New York.

So now it's official: Tim Tebow plays for the Jets.

Im not going to say that its weirder than Peyton Manning playing for the Broncos, because thats just about as weird as it gets. Manning spent 14 years in Indianapolis. To quote the great Wong and Owens, "That's all we know!" Meanwhile, Tebows run in Denver spanned only 14 regular season starts.

Still, in two years, Tebow generated enough hype and attention to last two lifetimes. Love him or hate him, Tim Tebow became legend. And the idea of him making the move to the Meadowlands, and thanking his Lord and Savior from underneath that green and white striped helmet doesn't quite make sense. It's unnatural. Like if AC Green had joined the Jail Blazers. Or the Pope enlisted in the Hell Angels.

To this point, there's been some back and forth on exactly why the Jets brought Tebow into town.

Some believe that New York was motivated entirely by the PR side of things. As if all the good vibrations that surround Tebow will erase the negativity that's running rampant through that franchise. But that seems like a failed premise.

Remember when you were a kid, and your Mom would yell at you to make your bed?

When I was growing up, I was the king of trying to fool her with the old "comforter over the messy sheets" move. You know, you'd leave the sheets and blankets all crumpled up, but perfectly lay the comforter on top so it it looked like nothing was wrong?

Yeah, it never worked. And if that's what the Jets are trying to do with Tebow to drape his crystal clean image over the franchise and just hope that no one notices all the other crap then they'll fail too. But instead of being yelled at by their mothers, Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan will lose their jobs.

On the other end of the spectrum there are some people who believe that this move was actually fueled by football.

After all, it's been reported that the reason Tebow picked the Jets to begin with is because they were the team most interested in Tebow the player, as opposed to Tebow the Holy Man. That they revealed plans for option and Wildcat formations and sold him on the idea of being a legitimate part of New York's offensive attack.

How will this work? Well, read this interesting post from ESPN Stats & Info, and you'll see that developing a quirky role for Tebow doesn't make a ton of statistical sense for the Jets. At the very least, it will thoroughly confuse things.

This for a team that's already more confused than David after the dentist.

So in the end, what do we make of this move here in New England? How do we react to the fact that Tim Tebow and every bit of the unprecedented absurdity that comes with him has been suddenly injected into the AFC East; into the fiercest, most storied and complex rivalry in Patriots history.

Personally, I love it. If for anything, because it just serves as another reminder of how quickly things are spiraling out of control down there.

I mean, let's face it: This time last year, the Jets were the toast of the AFC East. They'd just embarrassed the Pats in the postseason, made back-to-back AFC title games (while the Pats hadn't won a playoff game in years) and only appeared to be getting better.

As a Patriots fan, as much as it sucked to admit it, you feared the New York Jets.

These days, you barely recognize them.

Bart Scott is on his way out. Mark Sanchez is a mental mess, and can't get along with his train wreck of a No. 1 wide receiver. Shonn Greene's all right, but he's hardly the frightening every-down back that we feared he'd become. Dustin Keller is consistent and still improving, but he'll also be 28 years old in September. The time for him to make the leap is quickly running out.

In 2009, the Jets ranked first in points allowed. In 2010, they ranked sixth.

Last season, the defense ranked 20th in the NFL, and they've failed miserably in trying to get back on track. Most notably, they whiffed on signing safeties Reggie Nelson and Jarred Bush and had to settle on Laron Landry who appears to have lost his mind, and was recently cut by the Redskins to make room for Brandon Meriweather.

Read that last part again.

Brandon Meriweather.

On the sidelines, Rex Ryan doesn't know what hit him. In the aftermath of last year's disaster, he's tried changing his tune to that of a more humble, less outspoken coach. But he is who he is. It's too late to change his approach. At least as long as he's in New York. Up in the front office, Tannenbaum is strapped for cash, and running out of time and the means to turn the ship around. He and Ryan are both feeling the pressure. They know that something has to happen. You get the sense that they're starting to panic. That they're suddenly just grasping at straws

Case in point: They just traded for Tim Tebow!

Will he make the Jets any better? Probably not. In fact, chances are that the whole situation will just makes things worse. But for now, all we can say is that Tebow's arrival in New York has taken what was already going to be a bizarro NFL season, flipped it on its head and thrown it into a blender. Not that the NFL's ever lacked in the drama department, but next year's going to be wild. Peyton in Denver? Tebow on the Jets? It's hard to believe it's real.

But you better believe the Pats will be ready. And thanks to their own relatively well-known QB, now with an extra seven million dollars of cap space.

Maybe the Jets want to borrow some cash?

Then then could finally afford what this team really needs:

A few hundred sessions with Dr. Drew.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine