Tebow, Bountygate fallout will continue
The dust has finally started to settle from the NFL’s midweek March Madness that saw Tim Tebow become a New York Jet and the New Orleans Saints face some of the harshest sanctions ever doled out by the league.
Here are five key questions as the Jets and Saints start looking toward September:
1. Did Tim Tebow actually get to pick between the Jets and Jaguars?
Depends on whom you believe. While numerous reports during Wednesday’s negotiation said that the quarterback got the option to choose his destiny, Tebow said after the trade was finalized he didn’t have any say in where he ended up and that the Broncos had “all that power.” That’s not what Denver vice president of football operations John Elway said. The Hall of Famer told ESPN Radio in Denver on Thursday that the offers were close enough to let Tebow pick his own team.
"We did,” Elway said in the radio interview. “There was more from Jacksonville, but we looked at it, and it was close enough. We were in contact with Tim throughout the day and talked to him, and he knew what was going on the whole time. So the reports that he was not involved are not accurate.”
2. Who takes Sean Payton’s place on the sideline this season?
With New Orleans coach Sean Payton suspended for the entire 2012 season, someone will have to take on the title of interim head coach during his absence. When Payton broke his leg in an in-game collision last October, assistant head coach Joe Vitt took on the role until Payton recovered. But with Vitt suspended for the first six games of the year, the likely fix will be one of the team’s coordinators, Pete Carmichael or Steve Spagnuolo. Carmichael, who has been with the team since 2009, has taken over offensive play-calling duties previously in Payton’s absence and has a close relationship with team leader Drew Brees. Spagnuolo, hired in January to replace Gregg Williams, doesn’t have much familiarity in the locker room yet but is the only current assistant with head-coaching experience, having led St. Louis the past three seasons. And offensive line coach Aaron Kromer might get a look, a source told The Associated Press.
3. Has Jeremy Shockey's name been cleared as the bounty 'snitch?'
A day after NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp accused former Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey on Twitter of being the “snitch,” Shockey took to Twitter to defend himself. After a spirited back and forth, Shockey rested his case Thursday afternoon by tweeting a screengrab of alleged text messages between him and Payton in which the coach says, “I know you had nothing to do with that stuff sap said!!” Unless Shockey was devious enough to label someone else as “Coach Payton” in his phone and instruct him to send that response, it seems like Sapp owes his fellow former Miami Hurricane an apology.
4. How much influence do the Jets plan to have in shaping Tebowmania?
According to a wire report, a source close to the team said Jets officials are strongly encouraging Tebow to live closer to their practice facility in New Jersey to keep him away from the temptations of New York nightlife. New York bar owners said they would be happy to accommodate Tebow’s strong faith and abstinence from drinking and sex — as long as it gets him in the door. Murray Hill sports bar Brother Jimmy’s has created a “No Sex on the Beach” drink for Tebow, a virgin version of the traditional “Sex on the Beach.” The team is certainly not trying to keep him away from its bottom line, however. His new jersey was already available yesterday on the main page of NFLshop.com.
5. Will Bountygate have repercussions in other sports?
If one US senator has his way. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is setting up a judiciary committee hearing on bounties, saying he wants to examine whether federal law should make such bounty systems a crime. “Let’s be real basic about it here. If this activity were taking place off of a sporting field, away from a court, nobody would have a second thought (about whether it’s wrong). ‘You mean, someone paid you to go out and hurt someone?’” Durbin said Thursday. “It goes way beyond the rules of any sporting contest, at least team contest, to intentionally inflict harm on another person for a financial reward.”