- The Jacksonville Jaguars have released former University of Florida and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.
- Tebow was trying to make the Jaguars’ roster as a tight end–a position he had never played before.
- Tebow was a dominant player at the college level but has bounced around the NFL with a stint in minor league baseball.
Tim Tebow is out of a job once again. The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Florida was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars ending his latest comeback attempt. Tebow was not only attempting to come back to the NFL after six years out of football but trying to make the team as a tight end–a position that he’d never played before.
It wasn’t for lack of effort–Tebow has always been admired for his work ethic and tenacity but there’s a reason that you don’t often see players succeed at a new position at the highest level of football. Tebow was signed to a one year deal and definitely gave it a good shot but the learning curve was just too great for him to deal with. His biggest issues were what you’d expect from any player moving from quarterback to tight end–a lack of experience blocking and tackling. The tackling liability made it untenable to play Tebow on special teams and that’s an increasingly important role for tight ends at the NFL level.
New Jaguars’ coach Urban Meyer–who also coached Tebow at the University of Florida–explained the challenge of playing tight end:
“We knew that was an uphill battle for Tim. Players loved him, locker room loved him, but it was the right thing.”
“Two of the special teams phases are tackling and if you’ve never tackled [it’s not easy to do. Every off day we’ll have a two to three hour meeting about roster management. We expect to be very good in special teams. Tight end position is one of those, and tailback — if he can’t contribute on special teams that’s a tough go.”
Tebow had some initial success as a NFL quarterback with the Denver Broncos but even then his skill set was unusual for the position. He was thrust into the starting role late in the 2010 season and got his first career victory on December 26 against the Houston Texans. The Broncos trailed 17-0 at halftime and he helped lead Denver to a 24-23 comeback victory with 308 passing yards, one TD pass and a rushing TD. Tebow struggled in the passing game at times but was always a dangerous rushing threat. He also showed a knack for ‘prime time’ performances. Arguably his best performance as a pro came in the first round of the NFL 2011 NFL playoffs as the Broncos hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers. He threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns including an 80 yard TD strike to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime to give the Broncos a 29-23 win. Reality quickly set in, however, as the next week the Broncos were eviscerated by the New England Patriots and bounced from the playoffs.
Initially, Tebow was penciled in as the starting QB for the 2012 season but that lasted only until March. The Broncos were successful at luring free agent quarterback Peyton Manning to Denver and at that point there was no way that Tebow–or any other quarterback in the NFL–was going to supplant him for the starting job. Tebow was traded to the New York Jets on March 21 but used primarily on special teams. On the season, he threw only 8 passes and attempted only 32 rushes and released after the season. He went to training camp with the New England Patriots in 2013 and the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014 but didn’t make the team and was released. IN 2016, Tebow turned his attention to baseball–a sport in which he excelled at the high school level. He spent five years in the New York Mets organization but retired from the sport in February 2021. During the off season, Tebow has done some broadcasting work with the SEC Network.
Tebow has handled his release from the Jaguars with characteristic class and optimism. Shortly after Jacksonville made the move he took to Twitter with this message:
“Thankful for the highs and even the lows, the opportunities, and the setbacks. I’ve never wanted to make decisions out of fear of failure and I’m grateful for the chance to have pursued a dream.”
“Thank you to the Jaguars organization and everyone who has supported me in this journey. And we know that … God works all things together for good. Romans 8:28.”
Attitude, commitment and character have never been an issue with Tebow and he’s been by all accounts a great teammate and locker room presence. At the college level, he was as successful as any quarterback to ever play the game but that hasn’t been the case with his professional career. You almost have to feel bad for him–he’s been in the wrong place at the wrong time (playing quarterback when his team acquired Peyton Manning), used sparingly and poorly at times (NY Jets under Rex Ryan) and has bounced from team to team looking for an opportunity. This lack of continuity undermined his development at the professional level. Now, at age 34 he could be at the end of the road–at least in terms of playing quarterback in the National Football League. He could be a very intriguing option for a Canadian Football League (CFL) team and his skill set would lend itself well to this brand of football. He could extend his career that way but he’s never shown much interest in this option. This notwithstanding, it’s difficult to see him having sustained success as a professional athlete going forward.
Tebow has always had a positive outlook on life and even if his pro sports career is over he’s got options. BetOnline.ag has posted a betting market on what Tebow will do next and it includes some interesting career moves:
WHAT WILL TIM TEBOW DO NEXT?
Coach a football team -150 Celeb boxing match +200 WWE appearance +300 Preacher/Pastor +400 Missionary +2000 Chippendale dancer +3300 OnlyFans celeb +3300 Olympic athlete +10000
Tebow has already made one move–he’s signed on to be a spokesman for the Clean Juice chain of juice bars. Since the prop is worded what he’ll do *next* and ‘juice bar spokesman’ isn’t an option we’ll look further down the road. It’s all but inevitable that Tebow will eventually try his hand as a coach at some level of football but not sure that this is the time. His celebrity status is still reasonably strong–particularly among devout Christians–and he may decide that he should leverage this while he can. That being said, he’s not hard up for money and would be disinclined to do something just for a ‘cash grab’. Several financial media sources put his net worth between $5 million and $10 million USD–not enough to be considered stratospherically rich but far from being hard up for cash. Tebow is also atypical for professional athletes due to his apparent disinterest in ‘conspicuous consumption’. Translation–for a guy not trying to ‘live large’ he’s got plenty of money.
Celebrity boxing is something of a ‘growth industry’ at the moment but hard to see Tebow getting on this gravy train. He might think it would undermine his legitimate athletic successes (and at the college level these are significant and undeniable) or that it might diminish his brand among hardcore Christians. Besides, other than the necessary athleticism he’s never struck me as much of a fighter.
The WWE appearance is even less likely–the same caveats apply here as to celebrity boxing plus there’s an added dimension that many mainstream sports writers might not get. The WWE’s primary competition is the upstart All Elite Wrestling (AEW) which has enjoyed impressive success in a short time. AEW is operated by Tony Khan–son of Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Shahid Kahn. The elder Kahn is also a co-owner of the promotion. Were Tebow a vindictive person he could get on the WWE’s radar with a couple of phone calls. He’s not, however, and for that reason alone I don’t think he’d drop a dime to the WWE even if he *had* interest. A more likely scenario would be an appearance in AEW which is based in Jacksonville–where Tebow owns a house and spent considerable time even before his stint with the Jaguars. The problem here is the wording of the bet as a WWE appearance and not a pro wrestling appearance. I would have worded it as a ‘WWE/AEW appearance’ if I were booking this bet. On top of everything, Tebow has never shown any real interest in pro wrestling.
The ‘Preacher/Pastor’ option (+400) and the ‘Missionary’ (+2000) option both look to be the best value positions. Tebow’s parents were Baptist missionaries and had their own ministry in the Philippines at the time of his birth. As an adult, Tebow has done a lot in these areas as well. Obviously, his faith is important to him and both of these option could be seen as a ‘default’ gig while he considers his athletic future or plans his ‘next move’ as a broadcaster or whatever.
He’s not going to become a Chippendale dancer and despite the recent attempt of OnlyFans to broaden their appeal beyond naked cosplay girls there’s no reason to think that Tebow would be a good fit. The ‘Olympic athlete’ isn’t as ridiculous as it might sound. There have been quite a few NFL players to make a run at the Olympics before, during and after their career. Chicago Bears great Willie Gault was a member of the 1980 US Olympic bobsled team and Herschel Walker was a member of the 1992 Olympic bobsled team. Also, consider the wording of the bet–it just says ‘Olympic athlete’ meaning that Tebow wouldn’t have to win a medal. If he decides he wants to take up snowboarding and makes his way to the Olympics he can finish dead last and you still cash your bet. Obviously, you never want the outcome of your bet to come down to a compelling semantical argument with a bookmaker but you could make a case that Tebow would be an ‘Olympic athlete’ just by attempting to qualify in whatever sport. He’s a competitive guy who has already participated in two professional sports. It wouldn’t be a huge shock for him to pick up another one. It’s definitely a more realistic scenario than the ‘Chippendale dancer’ or ‘OnlyFans celeb’ and available at a significantly higher price.
Here’s how I would book the ‘What’s next for Tebow’ prop. Were it me, I’d include betting interests for ‘play in CFL’, ‘play indoor football’ and ‘take a broadcasting job’ but this is how I’d price the same options as in the BetOnline.ag prop with the aforementioned change in wording on the ‘WWE appearance’ option:
WHAT WILL TIM TEBOW DO NEXT? (THE SPORTSINSIDER.COM LINE)
Preacher/Pastor -250 Coach a Football Team +300 Missionary +450 WWE/AEW Appearance +750 Olympic Athlete +3000 Celeb boxing match +5000 OnlyFans celeb +7500 Chippendale dancer +10000
How SportsInsider.com oddsmaker James Murphy would price the Tebow prop
From a theoretical perspective, you can justify a position on ‘Preacher/Pastor’ (+400), ‘Missionary’ (+2000) and ‘Olympic Athlete’ based on value alone. The implied probability at +10000 is just under 1% (0.99% to be precise) and based on what we know about Tebow this looks like a nice overlay to me. If pro sports are no longer a realistic option for Tebow is it *that* unrealistic to think that he’d look for another athletic outlet? The ‘Missionary’ position (see what I did there) at +2000 might even be a better value. Implied probability at that price is 4.76% and given Tebow’s family lineage in missionary work the actual probability is definitely in excess of 10% if not significantly higher. The ‘Preacher/Pastor’ bet comes with implied odds of 20% and for something that Tebow has already done plenty of this is also a very tasty price.