The strange part of the circus that surrounds Tim Tebow's every move – including reports Monday that he's going to sign with the New England Patriots – is that he does so little to keep it alive.
He doesn't court the media. He doesn't say outlandish things. He doesn't complain about coaching decisions or teammates. He doesn't publicly beg for another chance. Even the quarterback's outward displays of faith (Tebowing, for instance) are nothing that dozens of other NFL players don't do each week after scoring a touchdown.
Tebow is a good soldier, a young player who never said he was as good as his fans claim or publicly ripped into his critics. He, even during his star turn with the Denver Broncos in 2011, always claimed he was just looking to get better.
The circus never cared. His supporters never stopped pushing, his detractors never stopped blasting and the media never stopped feeding that ratings-gold beast.
So now it's New England. Now it's Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. And now for Tebow it's the perfect place and the perfect opportunity at the absolute most desperate of times.
No one pulls the stakes out from under the big top like Belichick.
It stands to reason the buttoned-up Patriots won't be trotting Tebow out for a huge stand-alone press conference the way the New York Jets did – come meet our backup! It's unlikely Belichick will spend a lot of time discussing possible uses for his new signee on the field, including schematic changes and thus boxing himself into a public relations corner.
It's even odds that Belichick merely mumbles out some statement about Tebow being just another player at minicamp, just another guy on the roster, when it begins Tuesday. And then he tells Tebow that if he ever goes jogging without a shirt on, he's cut.
Mostly there is zero chance of a quarterback controversy. Tom Brady is the greatest New England Patriot of them all and the only hope for New England to win a fourth Super Bowl. Fans at Gillette Stadium aren't going to be chanting for Tebow unless it's for him to be used as a short-yard running back or in extreme mop-up time.
For Tebow, this is a dream come true at the end of a nightmare stretch, the safe harbor amidst the forever storm of his career.
He isn't ready to be a full-time NFL starter, no matter how magical that run in Denver was. His mechanics need work. His understanding of the game needs work. His everything needs work.
And he can work in New England, with the circus as muted as possible.
It's been our long-held belief that the best place for Tebow was somewhere that he wouldn't possibly be seen as a serious contender for the starting job – New England, Green Bay, New Orleans. Someplace with a clear franchise quarterback. An obvious delineation between starter and backup. First-string and the other guys.
Tebow needs some time as one of the "other guys" and in this case he's probably the third-stringer behind former Arkansas star Ryan Mallett.
Belichick is a brilliant coach. Brady is a tremendous mentor. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is the man who drafted Tebow in the first round back in Denver. And given time, perhaps Tebow learns from each of them.
Or perhaps not.
Either way he'll at least have the chance without the weekly drama of will he play or won't he play?, will he throw down field well enough to unseat Mark Sanchez?, or should that throw make the nightly lowlight segment?. Heaven help the poor reporter asking Belichick about Tebow's snap count in a postgame presser.
The media will make Tebow a story as long as it possibly can, but in Foxborough it's unlikely that lasts too long. The Patriots can snuff out the oxygen on anything.
There will always be interest, but unless Tebow is going to switch positions, he isn't seeing the field in much more than spot duty in ways that showcase his physical frame and athletic ability. And while Tebow may be a physical beast, no one is better on a fourth-and-1 QB sneak than Brady, who rushed for four touchdowns just last season.
It's not just that Tebow isn't going to be the starter, it's that no one is going to claim he should be the starter.
Instead, a guy who throughout his career has lived with a wild storm of passion and press enveloping him, might find the place where he can just focus on being himself and maybe, just maybe, develop into a good NFL player.
Belichick has always been intrigued by Tebow. The guy is an athlete. He's a hard worker. He's unique. And he came highly recommended by Belichick's pal, Urban Meyer. During the 2010 NFL draft process Belichick brought Tebow in for a workout and then took the unusual move of sharing dinner at a high-profile North End restaurant, where they were sure to be seen.
Now he's signing Tebow as a third-string quarterback and giving his career another chance to find itself.
With one foot out of the league and no one else biting, it couldn't have gotten any better for Tim Tebow than this.
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