That’s a bit of a shocker–not the trade, which was expected, but the destination: Tim Tebow, the University of Florida quarterback, two-time champion and 2007 Heisman trophy winner who graduated to the Denver Broncos despite the wobbliest throw in the history of the game, and the game’s most obsessively pious player, was just traded to Gotham, land of liberals, atheists, socialists and snarks, where he’ll play for the New York Jets. He didn’t command a very price: a fourth-round draft pick, plus a sixth and seventh pick. Denver just signed Peyton Manning to a five-year deal. It was a given that Tebow’s days in the rarefied airs of Denver were numbered, especially after his over-hyped and unconvincing post-season, though his season wasn’t half bad: he’d turned a 1-4 team into a 7-4 playoff contender even though god was, in 2011 anyway, a Giants fan with little patience for rocky teams. Tebow wanted to return to a Florida team. He’ll have to get used to East Rutherford instead, a very Florida-like flattish landscape of sprawl and asphalt but for the Meadowlands’ smokestacks.
Here’s how the Jets fronted the news on their website, lower-casing the “New” in New Jersey”: “Tebow-mania just got a new Jersey address. […] The deeply religious Tebow wowed Denver fans and the NFL and stirred national interest during last season as he stepped in at QB for the Broncos in the seventh game of the season and led them from their 1-4 start to a 7-4 finish and into the playoffs for the first time in six years. […] One of those regular-season victories, of course, came in Week 11 when Tebow, struggled against the Jets for most of the Thursday night game, and in fact was under center for eight consecutive punts, seven of them on three-and-outs, before leading the Broncos 95 yards to his 20-yard touchdown run with 58 seconds left to pull out the 17-13 win. […] Among the teams reported to be interested in trading for the 6’3″, 245-pounder from Florida, were the Jaguars, Packers and Dolphins. Miami dropped out just about the time some area reporters were hearing that the Jets had an interest in bringing him back to the East Coast, onto Rex Ryan’s team and into coordinator Tony Sparano’s offense.”
From USA Today: “It didn’t take Denver VP of football operations John Elway long to find a willing suitor for the polarizing southpaw even as the Broncos were removing Tebow’s pictures from their Englewood, Colo., facilities prior to Manning’s introductory press conference yesterday. “This is a tough business,” Elway said Tuesday. “I will tell you the toughest thing about this whole thing is Tim Tebow because of what I think about Tim Tebow. … The things that he did last year were tremendous in helping turn this organization around from a 4-12 team to a playoff team and winning the division. “I have a great deal of respect for him as a person and the things that he does. There is no question the hardest thing about this business is the personal side. We just had to make a decision as an organization … for what would be the best opportunity to be competitive for a world championship, and Peyton Manning was that. That is why we chose to go that direction.”