Tim Tebow and the New York Jets: The Final Insult

New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow is seen in street clothes while on the sideline during the first half of an NFL football
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow is seen in street clothes while on the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The nationally televised humiliation of Tim Tebow by the New York Jets started from day one.

In March, Tebow flew to New York for the announcement that he had been traded from the Denver Broncos to the Jets. He didn't want to make it a big deal. He was the backup quarterback after all.

But the Jets orchestrated a Hollywood style press conference, and forced him to speak in front of all the cameras.

All by himself.

No one introduced him. Not one member of the Jets organization even showed their face. They paraded him up there.

But Tebow smiled loyally, and did what he was told.

"The reason we're doing this today is because I have bosses too," Tebow said at the introductory press conference. "And they wanted me to stand up [here] and talk to you all. So I can blame it on them because they made me do it."

The Jets made him do a lot of things, none of which were helpful to him or the team.

They started out by putting Tebow in punt protection plays on special teams, just one season after he won a playoff game as a starting quarterback against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the number one ranked defense in the NFL. No quarterback would ever agree to that.

But Tebow smiled loyally, and did what he was told.

Then the Jets completely bungled and misused him in the wildcat offense, when in reality the offense that Tebow ran to win two NCAA Championships and led the Broncos to the playoffs was the shotgun spread option offense, not the wildcat. Nonetheless, the few times they trotted Tebow onto the field, the Jets ran predictable play after predictable play.

But Tebow smiled loyally, and did what he was told.

Later in the year, as the season started to slip away from the Jets when quarterback Mark Sanchez played as poorly as everyone thought he would, the Jets locker room exploded in anger...at Tebow. Some unnamed players called him "terrible." Presumably there are no mirrors in the Jets locker room.

But Tebow smiled loyally and wounded, and did what he was told.

Which brings us to the final insult.

After Sanchez and the Jets suffered an embarrassing loss on national television Monday night against the Tennessee Titans, Head Coach Rex Ryan informed Sanchez that he was benched for the remainder of the season. On Tuesday, Ryan then announced that third string quarterback Greg McElroy would come off the inactive list to start in front of Tebow.

Loyalty and trust is everything in team sports, and in life. Tebow showed his teammates and his coaching staff unconditional loyalty, and endured more disrespect than any player I've ever seen.

And all Tebow got in return was to be humiliated one last time.

This public humiliation of a man who deserved it the least will not be the legacy of Tebow. It will be the legacy of Rex Ryan.

Reports from the New York Daily News on Tuesday night were that Tebow would ask for his release or a trade if he didn't start at some point this season.

When one man gives you his devotion and loyalty and you repay him with disrespect, the relationship is broken forever.

Where Tebow will play next year remains to be seen. But I have a feeling he will be a starting quarterback somewhere.

On September 27, 2008, Florida Gators' quarterback Tim Tebow spoke at a post-game press conference after the Gators got upset at home by the Ole Miss Rebels.

Here is what he promised:

To the fans, the Gator Nation, I'm sorry. Extremely sorry. But I promise you one thing: a lot of good will come from this. You will never see a player, in the entire country, play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of this season. And you will never see a team play harder than we will play the rest of the season. God bless.

Coach Ryan, good luck if you play Tebow's team next year, you're going to need it.