The Patriots signed Tim Tebow and it almost immediately started to rain. Slightly more concerning, it hasn’t really stopped yet.
Are the two events related? I’m not sure. I can neither confirm nor deny whether this is just your average June shower or the beginning of the End of Days. I don’t know if the rain will move out by this afternoon, or if Tebow will emerge from today’s session sporting a long white beard and pimping an enormous Ark.
But in the meantime, I can definitely contribute to the insanity surrounding this match made in heaven, hell or somewhere in between. (Especially since Bill Belichick’s press conference was about as enlightening as a Rob Gronkowski’s take on Benghazi.)
So, let’s take a quick trip through the list of theories (both realistic and ridiculous) as to why in the world Tim Tebow is now a member of the New England Patriots:
The Pity Signing: Bill Belichick likes and respects Tim Tebow as a person. This is one piece of information that we know to be true. The pair’s relationship goes back to Tebow’s days at Florida. They once shared a romantic pre-draft dinner in the North End (to which Tebow hilariously brought along a football). It’s not a stretch to suggest that Belichick cares deeply about the individual behind the madness, so you can imagine how the coach must have felt about the recent report that he “hates” Tebow as a player. You imagine he felt bad...and this is his way remedying the situation.
After all, Belichick endorsing a player is the equivalent of Oprah endorsing a book. Worst case scenario, Tebow’s arrival in New England should be enough to make the other 31 teams take a step back and think: “Hmm, is there anyway that he can help us? What are we missing?” which might open some doors in the event that Tebow eventually gets cut. In the meantime, Belichick can sleep easy knowing that the rumors about him hating a player who he happens to very much care for are dead and buried. How can he hate him? He signed him!
And if Tebow somehow helps the team, guess who looks like a genius?
Unfortunately, Skip Bayless. But also Belichick.
The Back Up QB: Let’s say that Tom Brady does get hurt. Now, after you’ve regained consciousness and finished sitting shiva, which player would you rather have leading your team for the rest of the season: The young and unproven pocket QB who probably needs to throw 30 interceptions before he figures out the NFL game . . . or one of the most confident (whether or not that confidence is entirely justified) athletes in the world, and a proven leader who, regardless of circumstance, has a playoff win under his belt, someone who fits the mold of the NFL’s ever-changing offensive philosophy and allows you endless layers of creativity. (One down side: Passing routes are limited to 15 yards)
Belichick’s opting for Door No. 2
The Sponsor: Rob Gronkowski needs help. He needs to be saved. Which is why you better believe that Tim Tebow’s new locker will be right next to No. 87. On the road, his hotel room will be next to 87’s. From now until the Super Bowl, every time Gronk even thinks about doing something stupid, he’ll look over his shoulder and into the warming gaze of Tim Tebow. Hear the words: “Now Rob . . .” and take a step back from the ledge. Gronk problem solved. Especially once Tebow also heals Gronk’s back.
The Preseason Draw: NFL preseason ratings are down. NFL preseason attendance is down. The reason? The NFL preseason is horrible. But not so much if Tim Tebow is under center. In that case, the Patriots preseason will get more attention than most teams will in the regular season. The money will keep rolling in. And Robert Kraft will get a step closer to achieving his dream of purchasing the entire town of Foxboro and changing the name to Patriotsville.
The Practice Player: Remember the aforementioned shift in the league’s offensive philosophy? The emergence of The Pistol and the like? Well, that’s what Tim Tebow does best, and that gives the Patriots the ultimate training tool. Anytime you’ve got a game against a quirky offense, you spend the week playing against your quirky practice QB and more prepared come Sunday. That’s certainly in the best interest of the team.
On one hand, this year’s schedule is light in terms of potential Pistol opponents. Of the 16 games, 11 come against teams with more traditional offenses, led by Ryan Tannehill (x2), Matt Ryan, Josh Freeman, Peyton Manning, Brandon Weeden, Drew Brees, Andy Dalton, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub and Joe Flacco. They also play Cam Newton, who gets out of the pocket but couldn’t be more different than Tebow. The other four games come against the Jets, who will be miserable regardless of their quarterback, and the Bills, who might give the job to EJ Manuel, who has a much better arm and about eight inches on Tebow (shh).
On the other hand, who knows? The Pats need to be ready for anything and everything. Belichick is thinking big picture, and that makes Tebow an invaluable addition to the roster.
The Smoke Screen: Let’s say that Gronk does screw up again. Or some whacko groupie comes out of the woodwork and claims that Tom Brady is her Baby Daddy. Or Brandon Spikes tweets out a naked picture of himself. Or Vince Wilfork bumps into Ted Johnson in a dark alley and things escalate quickly. Or Belichick makes another controversial "4th and 2” type decision that goes horribly wrong and opens the door for mass media chaos.
Basically, anytime there’s a story that needs to be buried, you send out a press release that Tebow will be available to the media and sit back as 200 pounds of dirt pile up over the problem.
The Short Yardage Back: For all of Tom Brady’s greatness, one of his greatest skills is the short yardage QB dive. In fact, according to @footballfacts, Brady is a career 88-for-92 when running on third and fourth and needing two yards or less.
He’s also two months shy of his 36th birthday.
Tebow is 10-for-14 over his career in that same situation, which isn’t as dominant as Brady but still pretty damn good — and a much safer option.
The Trade Off: I can’t get too deep into this, except to say: With Charissa Thompson headed to FOX1, don’t be surprised if Linda Holliday is named the new co-host of SportsNation.
The Tight End: If he can’t help Gronk, Tebow can fill in for him. At the very least, he can assume the H-Back role that they tried out last year with Aaron Hernandez. After all, Tebow can block. He can run. He can definitely catch a pass or two. Suddenly, the Patriots offense, which already has the best QB in the game, has another facet to drive the defense crazy.
This is assuming that Tebow’s willing to play another position, which is fair, assuming Tebow still wants to play in the NFL.
The Long-Snapper: The Onion actually posted an (obviously) fake article about the Pats signing a new long-snapper, but that actually makes a lot of sense. If a guy is already your back-up QB, reserve tight end and primary H-back, why not give him a chance to learn how to long snap.
Isn’t that a better use of a roster spot than the one currently occupied by Danny Aiken.
The Mantra: In Belichick We Trust