I posted this over at BigCatCountry. If you are a Jaguars fan, or just a NFL fan in general, there are some very good writers over there. Additionally they are very timely in reporting information they get from sources as well as through social media.
My purpose was to address the animosity I was hearing on sports talk radio. The Tebow Divide is great and often the animosity is frightening. The warring parties should laugh more and this was my attempt at an armistice.
Listening to 1010xl this afternoon was a test of one’s patience and self-control. The “Tebownites” were out in full force, clamoring for Emperor Khan to open the city gates and allow Tim to enter the city of Jacksonville on his bronco. According to these fervent believers Blaine Gabbert was a failed experiment and should be traded. When asked whether they would be satisfied with Tim being third on the depth chart should preseason prove he was not better than Blaine or Chad Henne, the Tebownites shot back that you cannot engage in hypotheticals with respect to Tim: you must allow him to showcase his abilities and then make a decision.
The irony is palpable.
So amidst some cathartic, tongue in cheek tweets, I pondered the possibility of what a pilgrimage might bring to the city. My opinion that Tebow would not elevate this team beyond a novelty carnival could be completely inaccurate. If so, what might the future look like?
April 1, 2012
In what many assumed to be an April Fool’s joke, the Jacksonville Jaguars acquire Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos. In preparation of Tim’s arrival, and extreme fan reaction from both sides, Mayor Alvin Brown proactively declares the city a disaster area. Federal troops are sent to stabilize the potential friction as well as escort Tim from the airport. While humbly thanking the crowd for their support and stating how nice it was to be home, Tim reminded everyone that he has to earn his spot on the team and will do whatever it takes to make Jacksonville a winner, even if it is merely being a positive clubhouse guy.
April 29, 2012
In the most bizarre draft in NFL history, the Jaguars manage to position themselves to take Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd and Stephen Hill. Just a bit less shocking was Tebow’s presence in the Jaguars draft war room. When asked how much of an influence Tim had on the draft decisions, Gene Smith was quoted as saying “Tim’s a high character guy.” Mularkey spent the final two days of the draft in the hospital, apparently nursing a neck injury caused by repeatedly putting his head in his hands.
June 20, 2012
Amidst pressure from the fan base, Shad Khan pulls the tarps off all seats in EverBank field. Having sold out the existing seats as of May 1, Khan decides to strike while the iron is hot. Citing Tebow’s presence as the sole reason for the interest in the team (which includes fans from Georgia, Alabama and central/west Florida) Khan issues a formal apology for not making the move sooner. Even though the new purchasing agreement requires fans to sign a 10 year contract the tickets are bought up in minutes.
August 27, 2012
Once again the Jaguars play anemic, one-dimensional offensive football as Mularkey painfully works through the quarterback decision which has plagued him since April. Neither Gabbert, Henne nor Tebow were separating themselves from the pack even though all rookie wide receivers have displayed exceptional playmaking ability. “While we still look for the clear favorite,” Mularkey said after a Tuesday practice, “Blaine looks to be a bit ahead of the others.” On the bright side for Jaguars fans ESPN has been giving them positive coverage every hour, thereby placating their need for media “respect”.
September 3, 2012
No one knows who started the fire but 111 years and 5 months removed from the great fire of 1901, the city of Jacksonville burnt for 7 hours after news that Blaine Gabbert would start the season and Henne would be his backup. Damage to the Main Street Bridge was so substantial that it needed to be torn down. It wasn’t until Tim took to the streets with a megaphone pleading for peace did the rioting and carnage stop. The most disturbing act was the vandalism of the jaguar statue on the west side of EverBank field. An unknown local artist managed to modify the jaguar’s head to look like Tebow’s. Even though the anti-Tebow segment was offended by the act, they had to admit the craftsmanship was remarkable.
October 1, 2012
After going winless in September, coach Mularkey benches Gabbert in favor of Henne. He makes this announcement with Tebow standing beside in an effort to show Tim’s support of the coach. “I know many of you are unhappy about this,” said Tebow, “but Mike is a good coach and I trust him. You should trust him to because he is a good coach. We are a team and I support the team. I like my team and I will do what I can to help them.” While pockets of unrest were reported, mostly in the Nocatee and Eagle Harbor parts of town, on the whole fans were put at ease by the sound of Tim speaking positive words.
November 5, 2012
The Jaguars, riding an eight game losing streak, fired Mike Mularkey. At his press conference announcing Tim Tebow as the new player/coach, Khan had this to say. “Tim exhibited amazing fortitude in dealing with this season. His ability to inspire the team in light of not winning single game thus far was commendable. When I look back at his presence during the draft and his ability to quell the civil unrest I had to consider that maybe we were not utilizing his skills to the best of our ability. I want to thank Mike for his time here.” Upon taking the podium Tim immediately announced he would be starting at quarterback.
December 3, 2012
Tebow finished the month of November with a perfect quarterback rating and a 100% completion percentage. Even though he only threw a total of 18 passes all month, half of them went for touchdowns. Additionally Maurice Jones-Drew eclipsed 1,800 yards rushing, all but assuring he would break 2,000 before the season ended. On top of that the Jaguars defense continued its season long dominance in yielding a league low 9.2 points per game. Only one team has managed to score over 14 points. Despite Coach Tebow’s focus on the team’s effort, fans and media alike continue to point to Tebow as the sole reason for the winning streak. “I appreciate your kind words but this is bigger than me,” Tim said. There have also been new art sightings around the city. In the spirit of the manatee and jaguars statues that decorated all parts of town, someone has sculpted over two dozen Tebow works with him displayed in a variety of color schemes and clothing.
January 7, 2012
City Hall was overwhelmed with chants of “I told you so!” as Jaguars fans held an Occupy rally, demanding Mayor Brown resign so Tebow could assume the position of mayor. Even though the team barely missed the playoffs the excitement over what 2013 would bring kept the base in high spirits. Leading the protesters was none other than Shad Khan himself. “Together,” Khan shouted, “Tim and I will reshape this city!” Quite possibly the biggest win for Jacksonville was ESPN moving their headquarters out of Bristol, CN to the River City. An unnamed ESPN executive was quoted as saying, “You need to be where the news is and we simply could not give timely and in-depth coverage of Tebow from up north.” Ironically Tim was nowhere near the rowdy crows. Rumor has it he was scheduling time with Jimmy Johnson and Bill Cowher to help with his coaching responsibilities along with reaching out to multiple quarterback coaches to help improve his on field skills.
I guess we will just have to wait this out.