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Bill Belichick accepts the Tim Tebow challenge

Bill Belichick threw Tim Tebow a lifeline Monday, giving the disenfranchised football icon a spot on the New England Patriots' roster and, in the process, making a certain Y! Sports columnist (and a knowledgeable organizational source) appear dead wrong in public, which is always an awesome sensation.

As the journalist who a month ago quoted that source as saying Belichick "hates" Tebow as a player – a contention Belichick strongly disputed last Friday – I'm tempted to call Tebow's agent and ask for a cut of the signing bonus. After all, my column urged NFL teams to give Tebow a chance, and if Belichick's desire to spite me ended up producing that outcome, I'm happy to have played a role in extending the kid's NFL career.

For the record, I stand by my original assertion that Belichick has told many people in the Patriots' organization that he's not a Tebow fan. After Belichick's strong denial last Friday, the same source weighed in with an even more forceful rebuttal, insisting that the coach was "so full of it" and that Belichick's Tebow-bashing was commonplace at the team's facility.

Realistically, however, I think Belichick made this move because he reconsidered his views on pro football's most polarizing player – and because he concluded that he's a creative, open-minded and innovative enough coach to maximize Tebow's unique skill set.

And while Belichick may not be getting an invitation to my next pool party (and while I stopped receiving his hand-written holiday cards many Decembers ago), I'll give the man this: He may, in fact, be smart enough to pull this off.

The only reason he'd bring Tebow aboard is because he believes it will help the Patriots succeed – and that he, the greatest coach of his era, can find a way to do what most of his peers believe is impossible.

[Related: Signing Tim Tebow could be Bill Belichick's latest masterstroke]

Again, he may not be wrong. Just as Belichick's innovations in recent years have helped the Patriots' offense stay cutting-edge, he may be able to exploit Tebow's potential as a tight end/H-back/short-yardage runner. With Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez having struggled with injuries during their brief, productive careers, could Tebow be the X-factor that allows the team's tight-end-oriented attack to stay avant-garde

Now imagine Tebow and newly signed running back LeGarrette Blount as dual threats on fourth-and-short, perhaps both lined up behind Tom Brady in a jumbo formation? That, sports fans, is a load of a backfield.

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Bill Belichick and Tim Tebow embrace after a Broncos-Patriots game. (Getty)

All of this could be really, really cool, and I'm assuming Tebow has already bought into these philosophies as a precondition of him joining the Patriots. We know he's a hard worker who has the team's best interests at heart, and Belichick may well give him a chance to prove it, even as the scatter-armed lefty puts his quarterbacking ambitions on hold.

If, however, Belichick believes the Patriots can benefit by Tebow getting some snaps under center in actual games – well, he and I may butt heads over that as well.

For one thing, Brady is a master of tempo and won't be especially thrilled to come off the field for Tebow, ever. Not only could such an approach serve to screw up the Patriots' offensive rhythm, which is a real strength, but it would also take away throwing opportunities from one of the greatest passers of all-time.

You only get so many snaps out of Tom Brady. I wouldn't waste them on any backup, unless a game's outcome has already been decided.

The possibility of ticking off Brady – who wasn't thrilled by the Patriots' decision to preemptively replace the quarterback's close friend and favorite target, Wes Welker, earlier this offseason – is one of the potential problems that signing Tebow could cause.

[Related: Tim Tebow lands in perfect situation to succeed]

Another, and one which prompted the column written in May, is that Tebow's presence is inevitably accompanied by a circus-like environment, at least in terms of media coverage. Belichick abhors this type of distraction, and will do his best to minimize it. Tebow, if only out of self-preservation, will likely do his best to honor the coach's wishes in this regard.

Still, it may not be as smooth as the coach would prefer. While the Pats have had success in the past in minimizing potential drama (see: Randy Moss, 2007) they've also had their share of annoyances (see: Moss, 2009).

Belichick may be better than most at controlling the message and mitigating the circus, but some things are beyond his purview.

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Tim Tebow and Tom Brady shake hands after a game. (Getty)

Let's say the Patriots lose a couple of games in a row and the coach is in a grumpy mood. When he's asked, for the 50th time, about whether Tebow will get any reps at quarterback during practice or might be inserted into a game to "spell" Brady, will Belichick be happy he signed Tebow?

If the answer is no, I don't want to hear any complaining out of Foxborough. It's not like Belichick didn't know what he was signing up for when he made this move.

In the meantime, I'm going to block out any negative thoughts and accentuate the positive. Three things, in particular, stand out:

1) Tebow has a job in the NFL, which is good, and not just because I sometimes enjoy being part of the circus. He seems like a good person, and he deserves another chance.

2) Belichick has a new toy, and he has three months to figure out how to deploy it in a way that maximizes his enjoyment.

3) If it works, he'll reinforce his reputation as the smartest man in the NFL, something which he surely doesn't hate.

And if it doesn't? Well, he can still point to the scoreboard and say he's smarter than a certain Y! Sports columnist.

 

More Tim Tebow coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
What's the fantasy impact of Tim Tebow signing with the Pats?
Signing Tim Tebow could be Bill Belichick's latest masterstroke
Tim Tebow finally lands...with the New England Patriots
QB lands in perfect situation to succeed

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