In what could be considered a “Hail Mary” opportunity with the National Football League, Tim Tebow will sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday. After a two-year hiatus from regular season play, he will sign as the number four quarterback for the colorful Eagles coach, Chip Kelly.
Tebow was brought to Philly last month for a private workout, common to the Kelly camp. Although they have auditioned several players, the Heisman trophy-winning quarterback, is the player his staff continues to talk about. Kelly purports to having been a fan of Tebow through his various incarnations and sojourns. Insiders say Kelly is not worried about the media frenzy that follows his new quarterback.
For his past two years of absence from the NFL, Tebow has served as an analyst for the SEC Network and ESPN. He has also been working with Tom House, the renowned quarterback coach, who has also worked with Tom Brady. They have worked diligently on his throwing arm and improving his passing accuracy. In his professional career to date, the quarterback has only completed 47.9 percent of his passes. He also has had difficulty working in the pocket. With his inconsistent NFL performance, his signing with the Eagles could certainly represent a Hail Mary opportunity to prove his league-worthiness.
Despite these mediocre statistics, Tebow sports a sound history of successful leadership on the field. As the starting quarterback for Florida, he led the team to two national championships. He was a first round draft pick for the Denver Broncos in 2010. Starting 16 games over two years, he led the Broncos to one playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rex Ryan and the New York Jets, would pick up Tebow before the next season in a trade with Denver. He would see very little action in his one season with the Jets, throwing only eight passes. The media circus that followed him throughout the season was a constant distraction to the Jets, who suffered a losing season with starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez. The following 2013 season, Tebow was signed by the New England Patriots. After a mediocre performance in the two pre-season games he played, the Patriots cut him from the roster.
Tebow also remains a very popular public figure because of his Christian beliefs. His habit of kneeling on one knee after successful plays, became one of the most celebrated, as well as mocked, sports gestures of the past few years. He is known for being a positive role model and living consistent to his proclaimed beliefs. Even as he was cut before the regular season with the Patriots, he politely thanked Robert Kraft and the organization for the opportunity to have played in New England.
He has a lot to prove with his new start at Philadelphia. He joins a Chip Kelly offense at the bottom of the quarterback roster, behind starter Sam Bradford, old teammate, Mark Sanchez, at number two and Matt Barkley at number three. He has to demonstrate an ability to pass accurately from the pocket despite a two-year absence from the game. Chip Kelly is known for being innovative and unorthodox – a combination that might work in Tebow’s favor.
He will work out of the shotgun formation and can lean on his ability as a rusher. Tebow averages five yards per carry when he runs the ball. Analysts say that he will likely never be seen as a traditional quarterback. That being said, Tebow’s Monday signing with the Philadelphia Eagles probably represents a Hail Mary opportunity for the storied quarterback in the NFL.
Opinion by Chris Marion
Photo by Rick Burtzel – Flickr License