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What Tebow truly means to Jets

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Greg Couch

Greg Couch has been a national columnist at AOL Fanhouse and The Sporting News and an award-winning columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times. He was featured twice in "Best American Sports Writing" and was recognized by the US Tennis Writers Association for best column writing and match coverage. He covers tennis on his personal blog. Follow him on Twitter.

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The snickering everywhere about the Tim Tebow press conference was that such a big deal would be made of a backup quarterback. Stephen A. was fake-outraged! Utter disgrace! New York Giants co-owner John Mara joked that the David Carr press conference would be next.

Yes, this circus would have been too much for a backup quarterback. But that’s not what Tebow is. He’s not a No. 1 quarterback, either. Tebow is the New York Jets’ starting publicity stunt. He’s just for show.

And when you realize that, you can see why the Jets did what they did, moving the press conference from its usual confines to the spacious practice field, where all the New York media could be accommodated at the same time. Even Tebow didn’t want to do it. He’s no dummy. He knows what he is, too.

The sad truth is that everyone keeps using Tim Tebow. In Denver, John Elway and John Fox didn’t want anything to do with him. They inherited him. Fans pressured them into playing him. So Elway/Fox finally gave in, just hoping he would fail so they could get rid of him. That’s why he played, not to win football games but instead to prove a point.

That’s how the Broncos used him. Who knew he would win?

So Elway used him. The Jets are using him. Bill Maher uses him as a political football, a representation of all-things religious and right-wing, even though Tebow almost never gets into political issues. Who cares?

“The reason I’m doing this today is I have bosses too,’’ Tebow said. “And they wanted me to stand up here and talk to you all. So I can blame it on them.’’

Of course his bosses did. What would be the point of having a publicity stunt if you didn’t go after publicity?

Tebow didn’t want this. But he agreed to it. He doesn’t have any choice. He wants to be a football player, and he can’t find people in power who see him that way. So this is his path to get onto the field.

For all the talk about how unfair this is to starter Mark Sanchez, I’ll just say this: Boo-hoo. The guy is going to likely lose his starting job soon enough to a publicity stunt. That’s got to hurt. But how many millions has he already made to be a crummy quarterback?

The Jets ended the season in a shambles. The lack of discipline from Coach Rex Ryan had turned them into the new Bronx Zoo. They were losers, and in the meantime, the Giants were winning the Super Bowl. So the Jets brought in the ultimate beloved good-guy. With one move, they weren’t about disorganization and disrespect anymore.

If it turns out that he can run an offense, too, then that will just be a bonus. With that press conference, Tebow already started to pay off. The notorious New York media were kissing up to him, kissing up to the Jets instead of clobbering them.

And before people get too worked up over a No. 2 quarterback getting too close to a microphone, remember who we heard from the last time someone from the Jets was talking:

Fourth-string quarterback Greg McElroy said at the end of the season that the Jets had a “corrupt mindset.’’

“Quite frankly, it you go down the roster this year, there’s no reason we shouldn’t have made a Super Bowl run,’’ he said. “The talent, top to bottom, is pretty remarkable.

“The disappointing thing is . . . it doesn’t matter how much talent you have. If you don’t come together as a group and just figure things out and kind of withstand difficulties of the season, you’re never going to amount to anything.’’

The only person in power to ever take Tebow seriously was former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who drafted him in the first round. Soon after, he was forced out. Elway and Fox couldn’t believe they were stuck with Tebow.

Elway always denied that he had anything against Tebow, but his mad dash to get Peyton Manning, even after Tebow led the Broncos to the playoffs, proved otherwise. Elway wanted a football player, not a publicity stunt. It was a pretty lousy thing to do to Tebow, but it is Elway’s team to run, apparently. He’d better win with Manning.

Tebow seemed oblivious to Elway’s and Coach Fox’s disdain for him. He always seems that way, but he isn’t.

As far as we know, Tebow has never done anything other than be a good human being, send an unwavering positive message, try hard on the football field and win with incredible guts. It is just so different from anyone else that he comes across more as entertainment than football player.

So in New York, a giant Jockey billboard of him is already up over the Lincoln Tunnel. It was big news when he went to the Broadway show “Wicked.’’ Carnegie Deli is naming a sandwich after him.

Tebow talked a few times about why he wanted to be with the Jets, praising Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.

“Having football coaches that believed in you,’’ he said, “and having football coaches that see (potential) in you.’’

Oh, the Jets see potential in Tebow, all right. The New York Post reported that he wore an $895 Hugo Boss suit at the press conference. Broadway Tim Comes to the Bronx Zoo. Just think of the marquee.

Tagged: Broncos, Jets, Tim Tebow, Giants

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