For the New York Jets, the best recipe for success is failure. As difficult as it may be for Jets fans hear, Tim Tebow is not the answer to the Mark Sanchez problem. The Jets are a team that currently sits with a 2-3 record that might as well be 0-5. Herein lies the problem, however. The Jets are not 0-5, and given that the team was a competent drive away from beating Houston on Monday night, the Jets seem to be a team that is content with wallowing at .500.
Could Tebow give the Jets a better chance to win more football games? Given the teams’ injuries, lack of talent, and the play of Sanchez, it is difficult to argue otherwise.
Lets make this very clear. We’re not talking about being a franchise quarterback, winning a Super Bowl, or even leading a team to the playoffs. We’re talking about winning individual games, on a week-to-week basis.
Given the team's lack of a running game, absence of playmakers at receiver, and an offensive line that would struggle to keep even the most mobile quarterback upright, it is going to have to get worse before it gets better. It is however, more than possible.
What makes the NFL so great is the collective revenue mandated in the league's collective bargaining agreement. Ticket sales, merchandising, and a majority of the league revenue, is as close to as evenly split as possible. That means that the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys have nearly the same amount of money to play with.
It is also the reason that teams such as the 49ers can go from 6-10 in 2010 to 13-3 in 2011. While there are other factors that determine success (coaching, personnel, management), it is the distribution and allocation of money that minimize the negative effects of teams’ market sizes.
Unlike Major League Baseball, where fan bases in Kansans City, Pittsburgh, and San Diego live for five to ten years down the road, teams in the NFL can make drastic turnarounds in just one season. Teams such as San Francisco in 2011, Atlanta in 2008, and New Orleans in 2006 are a few of the recent teams that come to mind. The revenue sharing, in conjunction with the salary cap rules also practically prevents teams from outspending the competition (as the New York Yankees are known to do), and also forces teams to spend a certain amount in order to stay competitive.
The Jets however, have proven that they are the exception to the rule. Even though they share New York with the Giants, the market is still big enough to comfortably support both teams. Jets fans have also proven that a 44 year championship drought won’t stop them from packing Met Life Stadium rain, sleet or shine.
In the long term, it should not be hard to find a viable option at quarterback. For the short term, it seems difficult to imagine that Tebow could produce a worse record than Sanchez. With the Jets' tougher-than-advertised defense, Rex Ryan’s ability to scheme, and the teams’ willingness to get creative in all phases of the game, Tebow could elevate the team to a level of mediocrity that should look eerily familiar to Denver Broncos fans.
Last year in Denver, Tebow certainly brought excitement to a lifeless team, and there is reason to believe he could do that again in New York. He is a player that on a week-to-week basis inspires confidence in his teammates, draws criticism from doubters, and makes headlines both positive and negative.
The problem in a place like New York is that headlines, attention, and bravado blind fans to the fact that the way this team is currently means it is destined to fail. While the decisions made by the team's management is just as significant an issue, the results that have come from a team they build have allowed owner Woody Johnson to blissfully ignore the fans' demand for change, and results.
Johnson, who has reportedly expressed his desire to see Tebow as the starter, did a 180 recently on CNBC, has also said he is more concerned with the results of the 2012 presidential election, than he is with the success of a team he owns. Johnson needs to spare people his phony patriotism and acknowledge that he, much like Mitt Romney once was, is a businessman, whose most important focus is to make as much money as possible.
While criticism of Johnson is also an issue in and of itself, his shrewdness is impossible to ignore. With a fan base as desperate as the Jets, a .500 team with a puncher's chance of making the playoffs helmed by an interesting quarterback is all it takes to fill the seats.
Is it time for a change at quarterback for the Jets? If the team wants the best chance to win regular season games this season, then the answer has to be yes. The goal of NFL teams, however, is not only to win in the regular season, but to go on and win the Super Bowl. Given that the Jets are a less talented team, and arguably not as well coached as the team Tebow quarterbacked in Denver, is it even remotely fathomable that he could lead this team to a Lombardi Trophy?
The bottom line is that teams with 7-8 records and a chance to make the playoffs sell in the NFL, especially in New York. Making Tebow the starter is like putting on a band-aid after you sliced off your finger. This team's construction, coaching, and personnel have already been built, and detrimentally solidified over the last three years.
If, as a Jets fan, you need that longing to watch the team, go to games, and imagine the team's relevance, then by all means, beg for Tim Tebow to start. But while perception matters to everyone, especially the media, the only thing that really matters is building a team that is built to win at all positions, not just quarterback.
From an entertainment standpoint, it is impossible not to want watch the drama unfold in New York. Watching Saint Tim awkwardly handle Mark Sanchez, determine the fate of Coach Rex Ryan and General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, line the pockets of a wannabe Dan Snyder, and torment a rabid fan base for 12 weeks might just consume America more than the presidential election itself.
If Tim Tebow becomes the starter, and if he succeeds, he will undoubtedly have saved the jobs of the Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum, and allow Woody Johnson to ignore his critics for another year.
If that’s what Jets fans really want, then they will be doomed to an eternity without a championship, as the rest of America gets to go along for what will certainly be an entertaining ride.