In a move that reintroduces a former NFL first-round pick and option-style passer to the clamorous market that begged for -- and, eventually, mocked -- his services as a football player during a time of great quarterbacking acrimony in New York, the Mets (of Major League Baseball) have signed Tim Tebow to a contract.
In short, this is the Tebow Mania you've been waiting for, New Yorkers. The Jets wouldn't play him, but the Mets will be sending the 29-year-old rookie to their instructional league, according to an announcement made by the club on Thursday. Thursday also happens to be the date of the NFL's season-opener.
Tebow is a little more than a week removed from a baseball showcase that drew scouts from nearly every major league team. While the reviews from scouts were mixed at best -- Tebow's swing is quite long, but produces power; he is fast in the outfield but does not have a major league-caliber arm -- the Mets obviously saw enough potential to give him a shot. At the worst, they've wrangled a public relations golden goose. Tebow will generate more for the team's minor league economy in terms of merchandise and ticket sales than potentially any player in team history. At best, they did their work quietly while others stood back and laughed -- perhaps Tebow can one day make it to the show, adding his name to a long list of players who finally made it over the hurdle in their 30s.
While the move is sure to stoke the macabre sense of humor shared by Mets and Jets fans like, we can find a very reasonable take on this situation from the great New York Post columnist Joel Sherman. Tim Tebow gives us the chance to make up for the Michael Jordan baseball fiasco.
"The grander point was missed then," Sherman wrote. "The most popular athlete in the world wanted to play baseball. If he defied all odds and succeeded, great, then the most popular athlete in the world was playing baseball. And if he failed, he a) brought attention to the game; b) used his very loud megaphone to profess his love for the sport to his millions of fans around the world; and c) accentuated just how tough it is to play major league baseball, because the greatest athlete in the world would have failed at it."
While all of us have jokes, we here at the NFL wish Tebow nothing but the best of luck. In my one season covering Tebow while he was a member of the Jets, it was easy to see how passionate he was about anything he threw himself into. Now, that happens to be baseball as a member of the Mets.
The instructional league runs from mid-September through October.