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Patriots' signing of QB Tim Tebow could be coach Bill Belichick's latest masterstroke

Eric Adelson
Yahoo Sports

Leave it to the arbiter of conventional wisdom to punch conventional wisdom squarely in the jaw.

Every so-called expert in the NFL said Tim Tebow couldn't make it in the NFL. He can't throw. He can't learn an offense. He can't fall in line.

And of course, there was the circus! Think of the circus!

That was the conventional wisdom, until just after 5 p.m. ET Monday afternoon, when reports surfaced that Tebow was going to the New England Patriots to play for the originator of so much of the wisdom in the NFL: Bill Belichick.

It's a copycat league, and the league has been trying to copy Belichick for years. Ask the franchises who have hired former Patriots assistant coaches Josh McDaniel, Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Scott Pioli, and Charlie Weis. Everyone wants to be just like Belichick, and nobody has been able to do it.

That's because Belichick has always gone directly opposite of where all the so-called experts stand. He gave Corey Dillon a shot. He gave Randy Moss a shot. He gave a former rugby player, Nate Ebner, a shot. And now he's giving Tebow a shot when every other team had weeks to bring him in.

Now watch: Everyone who yesterday said Tebow was a football dead-end is going to miraculously see the light. This really could work!

Of course it could work! Tebow's got that rugby player's toughness – his willingness to tuck the ball away and seek contact as if he has a million-dollar insurance policy on the cartilage in his nose.

Of course Belichick could make it work! He's the former lacrosse player who played the attack position and used his toughness and preparation to overcome other limitations.

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Bill Belichick speaks to the media during rookie minicamp at Gillette Stadium. (USAT Sports)

"Bill wasn't the best athlete on the team," former teammate Dana Seero told the Eagle Tribune two years ago, "but nobody worked harder in practice and nobody was in better shape. I was a tackle. And I always remembered Bill knew where everybody was supposed to be. He was solid all the time."

New York Jets fans who were delighted to be rid of Tebow will now start to fear that Tebow will be reborn in New England. The pundits who were sure the circus would keep Tebow out of the NFL forever now realize that, hey, Tom Brady is married to the greatest supermodel in the world and there's no circus.

There will be no circus in New England.

Media coverage? Absolutely. But the Patriots are used to that. They've been to how many Super Bowls in the Belichick-Brady era?

Watch how the conventional wisdom about Tebow's game will change. Maybe he'll be a backup who sees an occasional running play. Maybe he'll do his old jump pass from his Florida Gators days. Maybe he'll spell Brady at quarterback every now and then. Watch it work. Admit it: you can see it working now in a way nobody saw it working days ago.

It will work because Belichick has order. He has complete control in a way other franchises (especially the Jets) don't. He'll scoff at the constant media questions. What will he do with Tim Tebow?

Whatever he damn well pleases.

Tebow won't grumble. First of all, that's not his style. He wants to play quarterback, but he hardly complained last season in New York even though he went from a playoff hero to the punt team. Tebow is not going to gripe about Bill Belichick or to Bill Belichick. He'll do whatever he's asked – quarterback or wildcard or fullback or all of the above.

And slowly but surely, the story of Tebow's demise will reverse course.

If it doesn't? If Tebow holds a clipboard and then vanishes into retirement? Belichick will not get any blame. All the so-called experts will blame Tebow, insisting he never had the goods and even the great Bill Belichick couldn't save him.

If it does work? It's a victory that will go down in New England lore. It'll cement the Jets' inferiority complex for years to come, and prove yet again that Belichick can fit any round peg into a square hole.

Remember: Tebow has never failed at any level of football. He was one of the greatest college football players of all time after being a high school legend. He then was a first-round draft pick and helped turn the Denver Broncos around. He led them to a stirring playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers with an overtime pass.

We all know the reasons why Tebow's history counted for nothing up until a few hours ago: He can't play the quarterback position. Put simply, he can't throw.

Never mind that nobody could throw or run or do anything productive in New York, where the Jets had a weak offensive line, no real running threat and no solid targets at wide receiver.

Well, the Patriots don't have those problems. The Patriots don't have a coach, general manager and owner pulling in all different directions. The Patriots don't have an avalanche of anonymous quotes coming out of the locker room following every availability with the media.

The Patriots have an unquestioned coach, and unquestioned leader at quarterback (who can throw), and an unquestioned chain of command.

Tebow will fit right in or he'll be out.

Here's betting it's the former. And here's betting the same people who were so sure Tebow was done will quietly come around to seeing how Tebow makes perfect sense in the Patriots' offense.

Then conventional wisdom will change again. Because Bill Belichick made it so.

 

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