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The Tebow Trade: Fans Weigh In

Pros and cons of acquiring the former Heisman winner

Last week, the New York Jets stunned the sports world with its sudden pickup in a trade of Tim Tebow.

Following the earlier and equally stunning news that future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning would sign as a free agent with the Denver Broncos, Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner, found himself on the trade block. The Jets swooped in and acquired the lefty, while surrendering two mid-round draft picks. So, what’s the early verdict?

A good place to find opinionated sports fans is always the corner deli. Anton Community Newspapers found plenty of them at an establishment in Mineola.

“I don’t think they need him [Tebow],” said Bill a deli customer. “He’s not the answer.”

“I’d love to see him as a tight end,” Bill continued. “He’s a gamer, a great person to have on the team. But he’s not a quarterback. That’s not the spot for him. Tebow will bring something [to the team], but only for five or six plays a game.”

Mike Smerechniak, the “Deli Lama” of Long Island Gourmet, disagreed.

“Tebow brings versatility,” he said. “Teams will have to practice and prepare for the pro set offense that you get with [Mark] Sanchez and the wildcat set you get with Tebow. Look at the Jets. They couldn’t handle Tebow,” he added, referring to a defeat the Jets suffered at the hands of Broncos last year.

Bill and Mike had their disagreements on Mark Sanchez, who remains the team’s starting quarterback.

“Sanchez isn’t that good,” Mike claimed. “This [the trade] will push Sanchez.”

But Bill noted Sanchez’s past success.

“He’s good enough to get you where you want to go,” added Bill, referring, of course, to a Super Bowl appearance and victory, the ultimate for any New York football team.  

Rob Shaver, head football coach at Plainedge High School knows the game pretty well. He led Plainedge to another winning season in 2011. He, too, sided with Sanchez on the quarterback situation.

“It [the trade] causes more controversy than they [the Jets] need,” he said. “They already have a quarterback. Plus, they just signed him for five years. This is not good for him,” he added, also speaking of Sanchez.

The negative view of the trade remains prevalent, as anyone can tell by listening for just a few minutes on any sports call-in program right up to the opinion of Jets legend, Joe Namath.

“No matter how much money the Jets give Tim Tebow, they will never start him,” said Dom Morales, an East Meadow resident and a Newsday All-County defensive tackle at East Meadow High School. “They are in love with Mark Sanchez and will never bench him. Tebow will be used primarily as a backup quarterback and will only be called to certain situations as offensive packages will be set up for him.”

Another fan, Elliot Duffy, was even more pessimistic.

“I think the Jets are a pitiful organization,” he said. “When they could not get Peyton Manning they extended Mark Sanchez’s contract only to go trade for Tim Tebow. They are seriously disorganized and need a new general manager.”

Last year was a disappointment for the Jets. After winning a string of playoff games and making it to the AFC championship game in both 2009 and 2010, the Jets, in 2011, slumped to an 8 and 8 record. Sanchez has been the quarterback since his rookie year and led the Jets to two winning seasons. Still, New York is a win now town and so with the trade, the Jets both grabbed the headlines from the Super Bowl Champion Giants and set up the 2012 campaign as a key juncture in the team’s current history.

In his undergraduate career at the University of Florida, Tebow helped the Gators win two national championships. In 2007, he won the coveted Heisman Trophy. He is also the only two-time winner of the Maxwell Trophy in college football history.

But the pro game is different from college. The National Football League is a quarterback-driven league, but that has always meant a passing quarterback. And since Tebow made his mark as a running quarterback, that is where the controversy has been focused and will remain until the games begin.