The Jacksonville Jaguars are 7-5 and sitting pretty for a spot in the NFL playoffs. And yet, the national discussion about the Jaguars (if there is any) revolves around their sickly attendance numbers, how they might enjoy their future in Los Angeles, and their hilarious mascot hijinx.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist has an idea that he thinks might boost attendance and keep the Jags in Jacksonville: draft University of Florida superstar Tim Tebow.
"Should they [draft Tebow]? I've actually talked to the ownership about that. I think it would be great," Crist said. [...]
"He's a great Floridian. He's much more a great human being than he is a quarterback in my humble opinion," Crist said.
Well, that's where it gets tricky, isn't it? To start with, incumbent quarterback David Garrard(notes) is playing pretty good football and doesn't necessarily need to be replaced. And even if he did, scouts are all over the board on how Tebow might fare as an NFL quarterback.
I'm sure the governor's right that Tebow is a great human being, but the next time an NFL team drafts someone because they're a great human being will be the first time. Gandhi was a great human being. If he were alive, though, he would not be on Mel Kiper's big board.
It's a unique situation. If a small-market team like Jacksonville was in a position to draft someone who could secure their financial future and provide a major attendance boost, they'd almost have to do it. Can Tebow provide that, though? Is that something that falls within his enormous capabilities?
Say the Jaguars do draft Tebow, and he turns out to be just okay as an NFL'er. Say he can't beat out David Garrard at quarterback (and he couldn't, at least not in the immediate future), and he doesn't really set the world on fire at any other position, either. Is that still going to move tickets? Are people going to shell out the big money for Jags season tickets to see Tim Tebow play the role of anonymous cog/special teamer? Of course not.
What sells tickets is winning, and as we're seeing now, sometimes that's not even enough. Tebow might provide some short-term excitement and a short-term boost in ticket sales, but ultimately, it will only make a difference if he helps the team win. It only makes sense to draft him if the team feels like he can help them win.