Title: Tim Tebow: Jaguar Savior?
Date: September 17, 2009
Original Source: The On Deck Circle
Synopsis: Long before Tebowmania rocked the football world in 2011, I pined for my Jacksonville Jaguars to draft local boy and Florida legend Tim Tebow.
There are eight months until the 2010 NFL Entry Draft. There are 15 regular season games remaining for every team in the NFL. The NCAA College Football season is but two weeks old.
It is, obviously, very early in the football season. However…
The Jacksonville Jaguars are 0-1. The Jacksonville Jaguars are about to play their first home game of 2009. The Jacksonville Jaguars are about to fail to sell out their first home game of 2009. The Jacksonville Jaguars are about to blackout their first home game of 2009.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, one game into the NFL season, are in a lot of trouble. It’s not on the field, where they played a defensively inspired Week 1 game against Indianapolis and have a top-10 talent in Maurice Jones-Drew to hang their collective hat on, but off the field. Jacksonville is a city no longer supporting its team, leaving them no advertising revenue and forcing the team (by NFL rules) to blackout home games on local television, thereby forcing ownership to consider its options across all strategic platforms.
Owner Wayne Weaver has repeated adamantly that he will not move the team. Instead, they’ve lowered ticket prices, offered flexible season ticket arrangements, lowered concession prices, and tried to create a family-friendly at-the-stadium atmosphere. Nothing has worked.
So the team, eight months in advance of the Draft, is setting the wheels in motion to change the city’s attitude towards it’s team.
Enter Tim Tebow.
An ESPN story broke the news that Weaver and the Jaguars are already considering drafting Tim Tebow in April.
Please ignore the fact that the team has no idea where they will pick, has no idea how this season will play out, has no idea how Tebow will perform in his fourth season at Florida and at the Combine, and has no idea what they have with David Garrard (the Two-Face of NFL quarterbacks). Please also ignore that publicly declaring your draft strategy is asinine, especially concerning a player that scouts vary on so greatly (the Jags have essentially created the market for Tebow – where he would have been a potential Day Two pick before, the Jags obvious interest brings him into the discussion much earlier).
Ignore all of this, and focus on the logic: As ESPN put it; this could be LeBron in Cleveland, the football version. I’d call that an outlandish exaggeration, but the point is clear: the Jaguars are so hard up for fan support that they think a reasonable solution is to draft a hometown hero, regardless of his potential as an NFL quarterback, in order to increase fan interest and ticket sales.
From a strictly business standpoint, it makes some sense. Probably not a great deal of sense (though they are currently surveying the county to see if Tebow would sway season ticket purchasing…seriously), but it’s not an awful idea. From a football standpoint, it seems absurd.
Tebow, while a great college quarterback with highly admirable intangibles (leadership, determination, etc), does not project to be a great NFL quarterback. The jury is out on his NFL potential due to his strange mechanics and bad habits – there are some who believe his intangibles will lead him to greatness, while others say there is just too much physically to overcome at the NFL level.
Personally, I think Tebow will make a good, not great, quarterback at the NFL level, with the potential to be one of the league’s most likable players and role models. Obviously, this is a description every team would like to see next to their players…but next to their franchise quarterback, you’d like a more glowing review of talent.
As a Jaguar fan in Canada (or am I?), I can’t speak for the impact on a local level. I’d assume it could drive some interest in the team initially, but it may be missing the forest for the trees, so to speak – winning has been shown to drive attendance in a lot of cases, and the Jaguars have made the playoffs but twice in the past nine seasons. Does adding an unprojectable quarterback to an offense devoid of but one star talent make much sense if the ultimate goal is to win?
I guess we’ll see. It’s a fun idea, and one that should definitely have an impact in the short-term…if the Jags haven’t blown their shot at him by declaring they’ll select him eight months in advance.
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