(Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
(Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

A Hot Commodity

Frustrated Jaguars fans have been asking, "Tebow, why not?" Yet as the season wears on, the question is taking on an entirely different meaning

By
Jenny Vrentas
· More from Jenny·

Tim Tebow hasn’t abandoned his dream of being an NFL quarterback, but for the time being, the NFL has abandoned him. Even his hometown Jaguars, who are 0-5 and have the league’s worst quarterback situation, want nothing to do with him. They tried to trade for him back in the spring of 2012, but now …

All he gets are poorly attended rallies at EverBank Field, a plane flying over the stadium during a game with a TEBOW, WHY NOT? banner in tow, and the celebrity gossip website TMZ asking team owner Shad Khan about adding the lefty QB.

And yet, the Heisman winner and two-time national college champion—the erstwhile QB who has more playoff wins in Denver than Peyton Manning—has never been in higher demand. It isn’t just a team, but a league that wants his power and speed. And no, it’s not the CFL.

It’s an entirely different game in which the forward pass is illegal.

That would be USA Rugby, whose CEO, Nigel Melville, tweeted upon Tebow’s release from the Patriots in September: “One door closes, an Olympic Rugby door opens for @TimTebow—we should talk about our global game!”

Though Melville has not spoken directly to Tebow, he has reached out to people in Tebow’s camp and extended an open invitation for the former first-round pick of the Broncos to give the sport a try (pun intended!). Rugby, after all, is the ultimate option offense. And the fact that Tebow completed just 47.9% of his passes in three NFL seasons doesn’t matter. His unique athleticism would likely make him an instant star on the rugby pitch. Says Melville, “He would be a very impactful player.”

(Bruce Lipsky/AP)
This banner passed over the Jaguars’ field during their 37-3 loss to the Colts on Sept. 29. (Bruce Lipsky/AP)

It was Tebow’s athleticism that inspired Patriots coach Bill Belichick—who has a strong track record of creating nontraditional roles for players—to give him a shot this summer. He didn’t make the New England’s roster, but there is evidence that shows Tebow is actually a better athlete than any other running back or tight end (or even quarterback) that the Pats had in camp.

At Nebraska in the 1970s, the football team’s head strength and conditioning coach, Boyd Epley, developed an index with a university professor to quantify athleticism. The goal was to help head coach Tom Osborne sift through hundreds of high school athletes to find the most desirable ones and award scholarships. Using simple and easily accessible data inputs—the physical dimensions of height, weight and wing span, and the physical tests of the 10-yard or 40-yard dash, shuttle run and vertical jump—a secret formula produced a number akin to an SAT score for each player’s athleticism.

A New England-based company, Athletic Standard, has leased the use of this index and consults with U.S. national teams, including USA Rugby, to help identify prospects (like Tebow) in other sports to recruit. They’ve created databases of hundreds of NFL players by simply using Combine data (though they do not work with any NFL teams at this time). “Our data doesn’t care about anything else other than his ability to generate power,” says Athletic Standard CEO Thomas Newman. “Then you can find a slot to slide him in.”

(Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
In an era of mobile QBs, Tebow’s weakness is a career 47.9 completion percentage. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

An index value close to 2,000 (or above) signals a very special athlete. Sometimes, the results are prophetic: Eric Fisher, who leapfrogged fellow tackle Luke Joeckel as the first pick in this year’s NFL draft, scores nearly 1,900 on the index, 400 points higher than Joeckel. Tebow’s score is between 2,100 and 2,200, which would have ranked him first in this year’s NFL draft class of tight ends, second in the group of running backs (behind Seattle’s Christine Michael) and higher than any tailback, tight end or QB on the Patriots’ preseason roster.

Athleticism is a valued commodity in the NFL, as the Colts showed by going after budding Kenyan rugby star Daniel Adongo. But it’s also just a starting point. There’s also the critical matter of skills plus intelligence and drive. In Tebow’s case, his athleticism, his intelligence and his drive weren’t enough to land a spot on New England’s 53-man roster—or elsewhere.

But the door is always open at USA Rugby.

The national team had success converting sprinter Carlin Isles, a winger who is considered to be the sport’s fastest man. Melville eyes Tebow as a center, or even a forward. There’s no doubt that Tebow’s rabid fan following would energize the sport, and he could be an Olympic athlete in 2016.

“He wants to fulfill his dream as an NFL quarterback, and I respect that,” Melville said. “But in the meantime, what’s he doing?”

That plane flying over EverBank Field with the banner in tow was asking the Jaguars’ front office, “Why not?” At this point, shouldn’t Tebow be asking the same about rugby?

* * *

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166 comments
LittleOne4u
LittleOne4u

Send Tebow to the Tampa Bay (TTTT), maybe he can 'save' the dumb azz coach and be his mentor.  

Solator the Megatrack
Solator the Megatrack

I stopped watching NFL football for the most part when the NFL decided to "black ball" Tebow.  The owners have taken such a stance because they want the NFL to be your god. No other player in the history of the NFL proclaimed the name of Jesus like Tebow and the NFL doesn't like that.  The preseason audition of Tebow by New England was orchestrated entirely by the NFL to appease disgruntled fans.  New England never had any intentions of signing Tebow as their two quarterbacks are established with NE and they never have had three quarterbacks on the team.    It was all a charade to give an appearance. The NFL wants you focused on football on Sunday not Jesus. Loving Jesus will get you to heaven. Loving football won't do a thing.

Jane4
Jane4

Muslem cant play or manage football teams

hermansheila1
hermansheila1

At the risk of sounding too "chick" for this crowd --- Tim Tebow is a fun watch.  His athleticism comes thru the TV set (and no, mine doesn't have rabbit ears).  Sometimes a person wants to watch someone who puts it all there.  Can't help it, he's likeable and I'll watch whatever team he plays for and whatever sport.

skanee00
skanee00

I would like to see Tebow serve his country by playing rugby.  I'm sure the USA Eagles would love to have him on the team.  He won a Heisman and a national title so you know he is a great athlete.  He would probably inspire a lot of other gridiron greats to turn rugby.

Go USA Eagles!  Let's win the World Cup!  You gotta believe! 

BetterReadThanThisArticle
BetterReadThanThisArticle

i used to think soccer players when i played football. i realized football players were soft when i played rugby

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

When writing about Tebow and the Jags, it might have been good to mention Denard Robinson, who's following the career path with the Jags that Tebow should be with some other team.

DanaBougon
DanaBougon

I have a serious question... does anyone know why Tebow won't consider another position?  Has he ever explained it?

DanaBougon
DanaBougon

First, what exactly do you people who despise Tebow because he is an "out" Christian, have against a young man who tries to live a decent moral life, loves a God that represents peace/love/forgiveness/generosity? 

Seriously, please explain this to me,  if that is possible.  Don't tell me because he sucks at playing football -  DON'T INSULT MY INTELLIGENCE.  That is not the reason and you know it.  If that was the reason your hateful comments would be aimed at his PLAY not his RELIGION.  Are you jealous that this young man seems to be the real deal, the whole package?  Decent, caring and committed to something other than himself?  So, what is it?  Please, fill me in on what exactly is going on in  your freakin' simple little mind. 

I do not happen to be religious but I certainly know a good young man when I see one. 

bartleby'sdog
bartleby'sdog

There's a job opening in a museum garden in Paris for "A Prayer' to be installed right next to Rodin's "The Thinker."

Tebow would be perfect.

JeffJMontoya
JeffJMontoya

Look up USA Eagle Rugby player Dan Lyle who could have played in the NFL but went with Rugby at the age of 23. Not only did he become an International Player for the USA he also played Pro Rugby as well. Tebow is a smart guy and an elite athlete he could pick the game up quickly. However I've played rugby for twenty years and it would be best to get him introduced to the 7 man version first not 15 man. By the time the Olympics come around he should be pretty well prepared. It can be done he just needs to get his head out of the clouds and realize that the NFL doesn't want him. Rugby is a huge International Sport and he could be a great ambassador for the sport here in the USA. Tim next month the USA Eagles are playing the New Zealand Maori International side here in the states take look.

JosephBagadoughnutz
JosephBagadoughnutz

tebow has only one calling in life:  perform circumcisions on little christian converts in third world countries, like he has been doing.

nfinitwordsfoto
nfinitwordsfoto

@Solator the Megatrack, what you've just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read At no point in your rambling, incoherent comment were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this board is now dumber for having seen it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Carnifex
Carnifex

@Solator the Megatrack I don't think you're completely correct. No athlete has ever taken an NFL field who was as ostentatiously pious as Ray Lewis, not even Tim Tebow (whose faith is probably more genuine than Lewis' anyways). The problem is that in our culture as a whole, there's a certain level of racism attached to when it is and is not acceptable to be openly Christian. For whatever reason, blacks are expected to be piously Christian and whites are not. Ray Lewis, Tony Dungy, and a multitude of other success black men in athletics are praised for their - well - praise of Christ. Tebow, on the other hand, breaks up the racial expectations of piety and is thus vilified by the same people who find the faith expressed by Lewis and Dungy acceptable, comfortable, or whatever. It's okay to be Christian if you're black because that's what is expected of you. It is not okay be be Christian if you are white because that doesn't fit the narrative.

matt37
matt37

@hermansheila1 Yeah, watching a guy run around and throw 60+ % of his passes in the dirt is great fun.

esgalan2
esgalan2

@skanee00 

If someone ever offer you odds, any odds on the USA NOT winning the World Cup, TAKE IT with your eyes closed !!!  

If there is ONE team sport where major upsets never happen  its Rugby . 

The USA team has NO chance to win the WC.

RichardRomano
RichardRomano

@SpartanTarget There's a difference.  Tebow has won games as a QB; Denard Robinson would not.  That's the maddening thing about Tebow -- the guy is a winner, but his unorthodox play scares off suitors.  If given a chance to play and develop, who knows what he could become.  Gabbert has had 3 seasons to develop, same with Freeman and Bradford.  What do any of these QBs have to show for it?  Not much.  Tebow has a playoff win and a division title.  Not bad for a guy who started 3/4 of a season.

Cornerss
Cornerss

@DanaBougon , ask yourself this, 

  if you won a Heisman and the national championship twice, would you consider a position change?

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

@DanaBougon He should, but he's stubborn enough to believe he can still be a QB in the NFL. He would be more valuable as a slash-type as an H-Back, special teamer, situational QB for short-yardage, etc., but he can't do that. What does that tell you when even the sorry-a.. Jaguars don't want him? 

bartleby'sdog
bartleby'sdog

@DanaBougon 

Here's a serious answer Dana. Who really cares? The sideshow is coming to an end. As a person, I'm sure Tebow would make a fine neighbor, regardless of the religious angst.

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@DanaBougon The only thing I can think of is that after a taste of playing as a starting QB, the most important position in the modern NFL, for a big-market team, he'd view anything "less" as a failure. In other words, silly, silly stubbornness.

Alix777
Alix777

@DanaBougon And yet somehow Kurt Warner is one of the most beloved football players of the last 20 years. 

And why didn't evangelicals embrace Jeremy Lin (who says many of the same things Tebow did, but in a more thoughtful manner) like they did Tebow? Huh. 

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@DanaBougon Because he sucks as a quarterback, doesn't seem to realize that he simply isn't qualified as a starting QB in the NFL, and seems content to waste his God-given athletic talent waiting by the phone for some team to call (one that doesn't mind a third stringer who brings along his own media circus) instead of taking a job as, say, a blocking tight end, where he'd be phenomenal.

As for his religion, it's just part of the Tebow show, which is frankly annoying because unlike someone who garners that level of attention, like say Chad Ochocinco, Tebow hasn't shown any sort of equivalent level of football brilliance. Frankly, if Christianity is his thing, he'd be better off dropping out of football and starting a youth ministry or something. It'd be a better use of everyone's time than his current schedule of not playing football until someone gives him a job where he can't possibly succeed. 

Hell, let's take Christianity completely out of the equation. If any other NFL player were in his position -- had a starting job, did surprisingly well one year in the playoffs, has absolutely awful stats in the most vital areas for the job he wants, has gone through years of NFL coaches saying "Sorry, you're just not good enough in this job," and most recently left Bill Effing Belichick saying "I just can't do anything with you" -- wouldn't he seem kind of ridiculous to you? If any other NFL player were told that he could easily play another position but he refused, would anyone support that decision? I mean, c'mon, Tebow. Go play rugby. Do something with your gifts. You ain't gonna play quarterback.

RichardRomano
RichardRomano

@doublejtrain68 @DanaBougon Not stubborn -- that's his position, all his life he's played QB.  Another position takes time; it's not as easy as it sounds.  Besides, know any other player who has won at every level of the game at his position and then switched?  Doesn't work that way.

db5
db5

@doublejtrain68 @DanaBougon 

We get it, you're a hater.  If that makes you more of a "man" to trash another young man's dreams then that says quite a lot about people like you.  Sad.

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@bartleby'sdog @DanaBougon I'm positive he'd make a nice neighbor. He wants to take my daughter to prom, I'd be thrilled. Seems like a heck of a nice guy, but he's stupidly dead-set on playing QB.

RichardRomano
RichardRomano

@DanaBougon Yes, he sucks but he's a winner.  Division title, playoff win, and winning record as a starter (8-6).

According to you, he sucks. Logic, fail.

db5
db5

@skanee00

I agree but didn't you hear?  It's trendy to hate on Christians.  Even though the trendy crowd preaches "tolerance" but in reality, they are the least tolerant human beings one can ever have the misfortune of meeting.  They hate their own lives so it makes them feel like tough guys to hate on guys like Tebow.  In reality they're cowards.

matt37
matt37

@RichardRomano @DanaBougon The irony of the "winner" thing is hilarious.  You were screaming for TT to replace Mark Sanchez.  Mark Sanchez, who is a proven winner and has FAR better playoff statistics than Saint Tim.  A man who has 4 playoff victories under his belt and trips to the AFC Championship game his first two years in the league. 

esgalan2
esgalan2

@RichardRomano and this is, of course in no way a hateful comment....


Pot calling the kettle black..............

RichardRomano
RichardRomano

Don't waste your time, db5.  People like this are a dime a dozen.  They've failed at life and can't wait to trample on another's hopes.  As the good book says, "correct a fool and he'll turn on you."

db5
db5

@bartleby'sdog @skanee00  

You sound like someone who hates on people for no reason.  That says a lot about what type of character that you are.  Very sad.

matt37
matt37

@kyyled5 @db5 @skanee00 Especially in the NFL.  Real hard being one of the 75%, in a club of millionaires.  Can't get no respect!  Says Ray Lewis, Kurt Warner, Reggie White, Chris Carter, Jason Witten, Drew Brees etc etc etc.

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