"Unfortunately," coach Rex Ryan said in the official press release, "things did not work out the way we all had hoped." Here's where I pause to inhale vapors from a simmering stew of irony, denial, and cluelessness.
The Jets paid $4 million in salary and contract buyout to acquire Tebow from the Denver Broncos. Breaking down his stats with the green and white, that works out to $500,000 per pass attempt, $666,667 per completion, $125,000 per rush, $39,216 per rushing yard -- with no touchdowns. Any GM looking at these numbers would declare Tebow wasn't working out. But the key word here is "work."
Tebow spent more time on the bench than the field this past season. When Ryan sent starting quarterback Mark Sanchez to the sidelines, he skipped over Tebow for third-string Greg McElroy. I have heard various riffs on a universal excuse: Tebow just doesn't have the skillset needed for NFL-level football. So why did the Jets pay out the nose for him in the first place? The team had to be thinking of Tebow's fan base -- all those Christian evangelicals and others he would bring in, because they sure as heck weren't thinking about actually playing him.
ESPN columnist Rich Cimini writes:
Tebow doesn't get away unscathed here. He failed to capitalize on his few opportunities, looking nothing like the player who ran through the Jets in 2011. He put on weight, at the team's request, making him slower.Others say Tebow refused to consider playing other positions. The reported fit he threw after the Sanchez-McElroy slight hurt his chances. But distilling out the drama and speculations, I arrive at two indisputable conclusions: 1) Tebow was hired to be a quarterback, and 2) the Jets never allowed him to be one.
He threw the ball so poorly in training camp, making the same mistakes over and over, that coaches began to question the trade.
Some players don't rise to the occasion until they are put to the test. The Jets never gave Tebow the chance to perform under pressure, in a critical game, in front of his millions of fans. They never gave him a shot at repeating the playoff miracle he worked for the Denver Broncos. They never let him use what was in his toolbox. You can argue football is a high-stakes business, not a motivational seminar. But the Jets never even tried to force their $4 million investment to pay a dividend. If Tebow had blown a big game, gotten sacked or intercepted too many times, we would understand. Now the best the team can do is say "things did not work out" with wimpy credibility, giving an equivalent of "John Doe is leaving to spend more time with family."
As I go to press, Tebow does not have any other NFL offers. Perhaps that will change as his fan base rallies around him, and he still has his foundation to keep him occupied. On Twitter, he offers Scripture as a window into his feelings right now: "Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding... in all your ways acknowledge HIM, and HE will make your paths straight."
If I had to pick a proverb for the Jets, Proverbs 3:27 seems to fit: "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it's in your power to help them."