Move over Oscar and Felix. There’s a new odd couple in New York City (well, technically New Jersey). In what has to be one of the most unexpected and explosive moves in recent NFL history, the Denver Broncos traded Tim Tebow to the New York Jets. The trade, which was on-again, off-again, on-again last Wednesday, was finally official on Saturday. On Monday, Tebow will be formally introduced as the Jets’ backup quarterback (another first in that second-string quarterbacks are usually not given such a coming out party — but, this is Tim Tebow we’re talking about).
When news first broke that Tebow would be heading to New York, my first reaction was, “NOOOOOOO!!!!” Growing up in Florida as Miami Dolphins fan, if there was one team that I could not stand (apart from the Oakland Raiders, who are in a category all by themselves), it was the New York Jets (although I do love NYC). If there was one coach in all of the National Football League that I could not stand, it was Rex Ryan. I still love to visualize Ryan, with his “I don’t know what just happened” look, pacing the sidelines after the Jets got Tebowed on Thursday Night Football last season. Priceless.
But, a funny thing happened throughout the day on Wednesday. What at first seemed like the worst possible landing spot for Tebow gradually turned into perhaps the best place he could be. Notwithstanding inane tweets by Antonio Cromartie (since walked back), the Jets organization — Owner, General Manager, and Head Coach — seem to genuinely want Tebow. That is certainly a contrast to the Denver Broncos, who made it abundantly clear that they wanted nothing to do with Tebow or Tebowmania, instead opting for a legend, 36 year-old Peyton Manning, the former Colt who was sidelined all of last year with neck issues.
And, in what can only be described as God’s sense of humor, I found myself warming up to the idea that Tim Tebow would be wearing green and white this fall. By the end of last Wednesday, when Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum spoke to the press and Tebow held a conference call with the media, I was inexplicably finding myself — for the very first time in my life — actually liking the New York Jets and Rex Ryan. Miracles never cease.
I will readily admit that my newfound fondness for the Jets can be traced back to one man — Tim Tebow. Without Tebow as a Jet, I would still root against Gang Green, unless they were playing the Raiders, in which case I would hope the game ended in a tie after overtime. Is it necessarily wrong to root for a team because of one player? Others may disagree, but in a time when sports’ role models — regardless of their personal faith — are in short supply, you would think that people would find Tim Tebow a breath of fresh air. Even in New York City.
But, of all the places that Tim Tebow could play, why the New York Jets? Some Jets’ fans are at a loss to answer that question. Merril Hoge and Steven A. Smith — bless their hearts — will never figure it out because their hate for Tim Tebow will not allow them to think clearly. Regardless of what Woody Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum or Rex Ryan say, Tim Tebow is a New York Jet because God has allowed Tim to walk onto the biggest stage of his young life. And, Tim Tebow’s stage transcends football.
What greater stage than NYC? In terms of exposure — both good and bad — it doesn’t get any bigger or better than the Big Apple. Los Angeles doesn’t even come close. Besides, they don’t even have a football franchise in that city. For Tebow, the football player and the man of faith, playing for the New York Jets will provide Tim the opportunity to shine, both on an off the football field. It might also give Rex Ryan the missing piece of the puzzle which he needs to bring the Jets their first Super Bowl Championship since another Southeastern Conference quarterback by the name of Joe Willie Namath did it in 1969.
For that to happen, God would have to intervene in a way that most non-Christians (and not a few Christians) simply find unfathomable — that He actually ordains who wins and loses football games. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that and neither would Tim Tebow. I would say that God is most concerned with His own glory. And, to the extent that Tim Tebow and the New York Jets winning the Super Bowl would redound to His glory, then God might just have preordained the birth of this odd couple. With Tim Tebow and Rex Ryan together in NYC (some call it Babylon), continue to expect the unexpected:
So even the most pious of Jets fans shouldn’t expect a Super Bowl title. But if their new quarterback’s story really has an Author, they’re in for a pretty interesting ride.” (“Tebow in Babylon,” by Ross Douthat)