EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 19, 2012

Tebow to the Pats? It's up to Tebow

Bill Burt

If you've followed football the last several months it is obvious that there is world-wide support for Tim Tebow ... and world-wide opposition for the Denver Broncos lame-duck quarterback.

One region of the world that apparently isn't impressed with the religious signal-caller is New England.

We apparently don't like the guy, or at least the way he throws the ball.

There were three ESPNBoston.com polls asking us about our feelings toward the Pats making a move for Tebow. And every time the message was clear: Don't do it, Bill Belichick.

1. How would you use Tebow? a) As a 3rd string QB; b) RB/TE/WR; c) defense; d) Don't want to see him at all .

Forty-three percent voted "D."

2. Would you offer ... a) A first-rounder, b) A second-rounder, c) A third-rounder, d) a fourth-rounder-and-lower or e) "No picks at all."

A combined 67 percent voted "D" and "E."

3. Who would you rather have a QB? a) Ryan Mallett; or b) Tim Tebow.

Let's just it was a Sadam Hussein-like election victory in Iraq in mid-1990s. Mallett won 79-21.

Now that the foundation has been laid that Tebow is not welcome at Gillette Stadium on Sundays, here is ... the rest of the story.

The Patriots love Tebow. That means Belichick and his old/new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels love him.

And if you're wondering, they don't pay attention to public opinion (see the NFL Drafts from 2000 through 2011).

The guess here is the Patriots would not deal Mallett. He is Tom Brady's replacement or a commodity as trade bait for the 2013 or 2014 drafts. Mallett is 6-foot-6 and, word has it, progressed very nicely under Brady's tutelage this fall and winter.

The Patriots would only take a flyer on Tebow as a hybrid player, jack of all trades, master of none. He would not play quarterback here, for obvious reasons. But in a pinch could be a one to two-game fill-in if Brady were injured.

Tebow is a football player. He can throw the football and run the football, which means he qualifies under the "position flexibility" requirement.

Could you see Tebow in the backfield, at any spot in the field, throwing, running or catching the football?

I could.

Better yet, Belichick could, too.

It would be another preparation nightmare for opposing teams, having to spend a few hours each week on the three of four "Tebow plays" per game. Tebow is big enough and strong enough to catch passes and take the hits.

Which leads us to the real question?

Would Tebow agree to a lesser role in New England for one or two seasons thus slowing his development as a quarterback?

Maybe ESPNBoston.com should put that one up. It holds more value than New England fans.

Bill Burt at bburt@eagletribune.com.