When watching the local news last week in Jacksonville, the opening introduction said this:
“Tebow is in town. Does the hometown hero sign with Jacksonville? Jag fans certainly hope so.”
After hearing that comment, I looked at the TV in disgust and asked myself “Is this real life?”
Being a Jacksonville native, Jaguar fans are used to hearing a select group obsess about getting hometown hero Tim Tebow in a Jags uniform. And that was even before it was reported Peyton Manning was going to sign with the Broncos. Now, Manning is close to finalizing a 5 year $95 million dollar deal that will most likely cause Denver to release Tebow if the Broncos can’t find a team willing to trade for him.
Already, many people are rolling the red carpet out for Tim Tebow to return home.
Time for the Jacksonville Jaguars to step up and do the right thing for business: Go out & get Tim Tebow.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) March 19, 2012
The national media has always pushed the issue of “Tebow for the Jags” in which they drum up the usual “BUT HE WILL SELL TICKETS” nonsense, to which most local fans just associate with a lack of research on their part. ESPN's Adam Schefter placed Jacksonville as Tebow's top destination on Monday Night's SportsCenter. Here's the transcript:
"None is more obvious than the Jacksonville Jaguars, who with one trade can replace the tarps they've used to cover seats with TebowMania instead. Tebow's from Jacksonville. He would sell tickets, inject excitement, make the Jaguars more relevant than they've been since David Garrard led Jacksonville to a memorable playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. And all it takes is one simple deal."
It's one thing when the national media gets caught up in the Tebow to Jacksonville hype. That's predictable if not frustrating. It’s completely ridiculous though when the local media and city representatives get caught up in that hype...
Let’s start with Action News Jax reporter Dee Registre, who not only spelled Peyton Manning’s name wrong in her article, but also managed to gather the 5 Florida Gator fans who are usually the culprit of any Tebow Bronco jerseys you may see around town to spout the same “he would sell tickets” arguments.
Former Jags receiver Jimmy Smith fired off a few tweets of his own saying the Jags need to call Tebow immediately and that he would “consider coming out of retirement if the Jags got Tebow.” Really Jimmy?
But what really irked many locals around town is Orlando Sentinel writer Mike Bianchi, who fell into the national argument of the Jags needing Tebow to become relevant. Bianchi reasoned the Jaguars "need to go out and bring Tebow back home where he belongs.”
But that’s not the worst part, Bianchi goes on to say this beauty of a statement:
“And please, stop this ridiculous rhetoric about how the Jaguars have already invested a first-round draft pick in quarterback Blaine Gabbert last year and just signed Chad Henne. Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne? Really? Seriously? Last I checked, there was no “HenneMania” taking over the entire country. And I certainly don’t recall ”Gabberting” becoming an international craze.”
So let me get this straight - the Jaguars have not had a blackout since 2009, but need help selling tickets and Tebow is the cure because “HenneMania” doesn’t exist and “Gabberting” was never a trend?
Gabbert certainly didn’t have the best rookie season in NFL history, but what worse of a situation could a rookie QB walk into than a lockout threatened season, no offseason camps, a lame-duck coaching staff, no receiver help, no offensive line support, one of the toughest schedules in the league and a veteran QB that was released a couple weeks before the season?
Does it get worse than that? And in spite of that, do you know the identity of the one starting QB that had a lower completion percentage than Blaine Gabbert last year?
You can’t cut ties with a first round QB after one season with so many extenuating circumstances. But according to local media pundits like Bianchi, we NEED Tebow because he can.... well.... sell jerseys and other football fans around the country know what number he wears.
Yes, Tebow is from Jacksonville and went to the University of Florida, but that doesn't mean he's a quality long term QB solution in the NFL. He's a great kid and an inspiration to many, but what sells tickets isn't media hype. It's the ability to win, consistently. Bringing Tebow to the Jags would sell 2k tickets to Gator fans in the short term but would piss off the dedicated fan base of 50k+ that already go to games. While it would please some in the short term, it would set the franchise backwards in the long term.
The next few months promise to see TebowMania rise again, especially in Jacksonville. But to the Jacksonville and national media who think the Jaguars need Tebow....this is my response...