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Monday, June 10, 2013

Patriots Certainly Know How To Spice Up The Offseason: By Signing Tim Tebow

Nobody would ever question the NFL's status as the most popular sport in the United States. Still, a reminder every once in a while is always important. Two days before the Bruins meet the Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals and while the Red Sox have the best record in the American League, the Patriots stole all the local and even headlines this afternoon with one simple move: reportedly signing Tim Tebow.

In many ways, we should have seen this coming for years (Tebow has been in the NFL since 2010). New England head coach Bill Belichick went to dinner with Tebow before the 2010 Draft and even though the Pats didn't end up taking him, Belichick has always been enamored with Tebow's intangibles. There is no more polarizing figure in pro sports than Tebow, you either love him or hate him. There really is no in between with him.

The good news is that unlike his last stop-the Jets-the Patriots are the exact opposite franchise in terms of winning, stability, direction and purpose. Yes it will be a media frenzy the first time he shows up at minicamp tomorrow and during training camp in August (assuming he makes it that far) but eventually New England will shut it down in terms of non-stop ESPN hype I mean coverage. Keep in mind this is all forgotten if he's gone before the regular season starts in September.

Since he can't throw, Tebow's role in the NFL has always been up in the air. Know it alls like to say that he could play tight end and the Jets traded two draft picks for him although they ended up just using him as a punt protector and in very predictable running plays. Tom Brady is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL so he won't feel any additional pressure from Tebow, a guy that supposedly couldn't get any other offers after the Jets released him.

As flawed as he is, I still think Tebow is a better quarterback than untested and unproven Ryan Mallett. Tebow took Denver to the playoffs in his first season as a starter (2011) and they upset Pittsburgh before getting blown out in New England-ironically his last start. At the time, Denver's head coach was Josh McDaniels who is now the Patriots' offensive coordinator. He obviously saw something in him to draft him 25th overall in 2010 (way higher than he was projected).

Studying a couple years behind Brady wouldn't be a bad thing. We all hate to think about it but at some point, Brady will retire and the Pats need to think of a successor. Tebow is a winner, a great teammate and a leader. Those are all good qualities to have and who knows, maybe being in a better environment like the Patriots will allow his career to get back on track. It's a no-lose situation for the Patriots since they'll pay him peanuts on a team friendly deal and Belichick can look like a genius again if he gets anything out of Tebow. Conversely, if he stinks then they can say they tried and dump him without any issues.

Belichick has always been tight with Tebow's head coach at Florida-Urban Meyer-and having two former teammates-Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes-in the locker room should help him quickly adjust to this very different culture here.

UPDATE 6/11: ESPN's Adam Schefter reports it is a two-year deal for Tebow with no guaranteed money.

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