In what was perhaps the first ever press conference to introduce a backup quarterback in the NFL, the Jets unveiled Tim Tebow to the New York media on Monday afternoon. Not surprisingly, Tebow said all the right things, talked about wanting to be the perfect teammate and said he wanted to do his part to win football games, no matter what his role with his new team might be.
And yet, there is still the spectre of doom over the entire proceedings, especially as the Jets signed incumbent starter March Sanchez to a five-year contract extension just over two weeks ago.
Tebow of course isn’t a typical backup quarterback. He thinks run first, pass second and that was the reason he was supposedly brought in so as to run the Wildcat package.
“I’m looking forward to my time in New York; my time as a Jet. I’m so honored and humbled to be a Jet. I’m so thankful that they wanted me,” Tebow said. “So excited about meeting my teammates; I’ve had the pleasure to meet quite a few already.”
But no matter what Tebow’s impact on the field might be, his impact off the field is what will matter the most to the Jets. His press conference drew 33 television cameras and a press contingent that totaled roughly 200. For a player as popular as Tebow, perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that within minutes of the trade being made official, his jerseys were on sale on the team’s web site.
Tebow wasn’t as worried about the dollars and cents of the trade as trying to make sense of what his new role with the team will be.
“My goal is to go out there and try and execute and try to do as well as I possibly can,” Tebow said. “Improve every single day and really get comfortable with my role and expand my role my going out there and competing well.”
The “expand my role” part is the obvious sticking point. The Jets now have two young starters on their roster who took the majority of snaps last season for their respective teams. Tebow may have been talking about his willingness to do what the coaching staff gameplans for him, but there are already some fans hoping his role will be to take over the starting position.
Last season, Tebow took over for Kyle Orton in Denver as starter, going 7-4 with the Broncos and leading them to a wild-card playoff win over Pittsburgh. Only four times in the regular season, and not once during the postseason, did Tebow’s completion percentage top 50 percent.
But statistics aside, Tebow doesn’t want to settle for being a backup in New York, even as he said all the right things about being a good teammate.
“I think that everybody that puts on a uniform, you want to go out there and you want to play. That’s why you play the game of football,” Tebow said. “I’m excited to be a Jet to go out there and help this team any way that I can. However my role is, however I can try to expand my role, I will do that.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.