Friday, June 14, 2013

The Devil's Second Greatest Trick

Recently, many people have inferred (or said outright), that Nick Saban is the devil. They are wrong, however; he is not the devil, but he did, at one point in his career, work for the devil. And the devil just played his second greatest trick: he signed Tim Tebow to the New England Patriots.

Make no mistake, Bill Belichick did not sign Tebow as a publicity stunt (see Jets, New York). This was a football move, pure and simple. Belichick is always looking for football players, and Tebow is the quintessential football player.

From a football perspective, the move makes sense for both parties. The Patriots get a guy who will do whatever is asked of him, play whatever position is asked of him and work as hard, if not harder, than anyone else. Tebow will be able to learn how to be a better quarterback from Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels, he'll be able to play a variety of positions while learning the offensive system, and most importantly, he will not be looked at as a savior or the key to the team's success.

There were many connections prior to Belichick's signing of Tebow.

One, Belichick has long had an appreciation for everything Urban Meyer, and Tebow is as close to Meyer as Belichick will get in a football player. Tebow knows the Meyer spread option offense inside and out and can help McDaniels and Belichick develop plays within that system.

Two, McDaniels originally drafted Tebow as the head coach of Denver, even moving up to the bottom of the first round to get him. Sadly, McDaniels was never able to complete his project of turning Tebow into a viable NFL quarterback, although his successor, John Fox, was able to use Tebow and a version of the spread option to take the Broncos to the 2011 playoffs, defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime in the first round before falling to the Patriots.

Three, Belichick has reunited Tebow with his favorite target from their days at Florida: tight end Aaron Hernandez. They played the "goal-line-Tebow-run-up-the-middle-whoops-no-wait-it's-a-jump-pass" play with the Gators, at least giving the Patriots the option to use it, even just as a decoy, in goal line situations.

Finally, there is precedence of Belichick taking a relatively unused player from an AFC East team and turning him into a key contributor (see Welker, Wes and Woodhead, Danny).

Wes Welker with the Dolphins: 2 seasons, 48.0 rec, 560.5 yds, 0.5 tds
Wes Welker with the Patriots: 6 seasons, 112.0 rec, 1,243.2 yds, 6.2 tds

Danny Woodhead with the Jets: 1 season, 15 runs, 64 yds, 0 tds, 8 rec, 87 yds, 0 tds
Danny Woodhead with the Patriots: 3 seasons, 83.3 runs, 399.7 yds, 3.3 tds, 30.7 rec, 327.3 yds, 4 tds

So if history is any indication, Tebow should be an effective player for the Patriots. Certainly much more effective than he was for the Jets. (Who will face the Patriots on Sept. 12, a Thursday night game to kick off week two - gee I wonder what ESPN First Take will discuss on Sept. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16…)

Because when it comes to player personnel, Belichick always makes the right decision (see Ochocinco, Chad. Actually, don’t.).

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