On Tuesday, June 11, the New England Patriots welcomed Tim Tebow to minicamp. The team’s decision to sign the much-discussed quarterback left many scratching their heads, but I immediately found five people who could learn from Tebow’s presence on the team.
The Media: If there is any team that knows how to control the active sports media, it is the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick disappointed a post-minicamp press conference when he fielded numerous questions about Tebow and fought reporters’ fire with terse responses. To me, the Jets gave too much freedom to the media. Therefore, the latter group will learn to work with what Belichick gives them, which likely won’t be much.
Tom Brady: Since he first stepped on the field at Gillette Stadium in 2001, Tom Brady has been the figurehead of the New England Patriots organization. Twelve short years later, he is undoubtedly the social chair of the NFL’s quarterback fraternity and the lone leader of the Patriots squad. However, Tebow is challenging Brady’s place at the center of attention. While he may not lead with exceptional performance on the field, Tebow will teach Mr. Brady that it takes good character to influence a team effectively.
Ryan Mallett: Former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett has spent his entire career playing in Tom Brady’s shadow – that is, when he plays at all. Last season, according to ESPN, Mallett completed one pass in four games. In the 2012 offseason, the Patriots’ front office entertained the idea of using him as bait for a trade with the Cleveland Browns, but nothing came of it. As the regular season nears, Mallett will learn that he is replaceable. If Tebow gains ground in training camp, Mallett may find himself in the third spot or looking for a new team.
The New York Jets’ front office: Including Tebow’s former team may seem odd, but there’s a valid point in it. The Jets released Tebow in late April, knowing they had lost key pieces of their offense in free agency. Prior to the 2010 NFL Draft, analysts explored the possibility of teams transforming Tebow into a fullback or a tight end. With Shonn Greene joining the Tennessee Titans and Dustin Keller heading to Miami, the Jets have some Tebow-sized holes to fill. The Jets will learn that they released Tebow too soon and made a costly mistake.
Tim Tebow: I believe that the greatest teacher is his own student. As such, Tim Tebow has his own lessons to learn from the Patriots signing him. Tebow’s career has been a story of highs and lows. One season, he is leading the Denver Broncos to the AFC Divisional Round of the 2011 playoffs (ironically, a game against the Patriots). He spends the entirety of the next season on the Jets bench, helplessly watching a bad season get worse. With Tom Brady as his mentor, Tebow will learn how to throw more accurately, how to control his presence in the media, and how to increase his on-field independence by working with his coach.
Of course, this all depends on Tebow making the 53-man roster in August. In the famed words of Bill Belichick, “we’ll see.”