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"I know Tim is a tremendous competitor, and I don't doubt that at all," Ryan said, again explaining in the vaguest possible terms why it will never be Tebow Time on his team. "For right now, I think this move, it's a move that I made, is best for our team in this game. I believe that and that's why I'm making the move that I'm making."
Tebow has played in 11 games for the Jets, but if you blinked, you missed him. Outside of a 23-yard completion against Indianapolis back in mid-October, he's passed for a grand total of 16 yards. He's had just three runs longer than 10 yards. He's yet to reach the end zone with either his legs or his left arm.
Now, the Jets can't afford for him to play well -- not even in their final two meaningless games.
As with all sinking ships, everyone is now trying to figure out a way to save himself. Ryan is hanging on by a thread. So is Tony Sparano, the offensive coordinator who was supposed to make this experiment work. Not to mention general manager Mike Tannenbaum, who has overseen the gutting of a franchise that seemed on the rise not so long ago.
If Tebow plays now -- and plays well -- those Jets fans still paying attention would undoubtedly wonder, "Hey, why haven't they been playing him all along?" Which would lead to all the above-mentioned figures finding themselves looking for work next season. They may be anyway, but they no longer have any chance of surviving on Tebow's back.
In hindsight, Tebow and the Jets were like love-struck teenagers back in March, all giddy over each other and not paying a lick of attention to what really mattered.
For Tebow it was a chance to spread his clean-cut, deeply religious brand in the greatest media market of them all. For the Jets, it was a chance to steal away some of the thunder from the team they share a city and a stadium with, the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
In the end, the only winner was the Broncos, playing the role of the all-knowing parent. Even after Tebow guided the team to the playoffs in 2011 and a stirring overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round, GM John Elway knew he needed more skill at the most important position on the field. He jumped at the chance to land one of the best ever, Peyton Manning, and quickly dumped Tebow on the Jets, even picking up a couple of draft picks in the deal.
And look where they teams are now: Denver, the AFC West champion and headed to the playoffs with an 11-3 record; the Jets, already looking ahead to the offseason at 6-8.
So, it's time for Tebow to put the shirt back on and find another team. Maybe he'll wind up close to home with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Or maybe another team in desperate QB straits, such as the Arizona Cardinals. If those options don't pan out, he could even give the Canadian Football League a try. The game north of the border might be better suited to his unorthodox style.
No matter what, the clock has run out on Tebow Time in New York.
We all saw the end coming, what surprised us was the Jets didn't wind the darn thing up.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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