Tim Tebow will likely never play a down in the NFL again, but the unconventional quarterback is still having a big impact on the game.
Tebow wasn’t on an NFL roster last season, but the incredible media attention that followed him from Denver to New York to a short stint in New England is still fresh in the minds of those caught up in it.
New Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine was in the midst of this Tebow-mania with the Jets, and recalled it this week.
Pettine said the attention surrounding rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel is much different than the hype surrounding Tim Tebow.
“The circumstances are different,” Pettine said, via Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Tebow was an established NFL player [when he was traded to the Jets], he wasn’t coming in as a rookie, unproven. It’s a little easier for us with Manziel because he understands he earned Johnny Football as a college player and nobody understands it more than him. It’s like, ‘Listen, I don’t want to be named starter coming out of the draft.’”
But Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel are alike in many ways. Tebow entered the NFL as one of the most followed players in years. He came from one of college football’s most polarizing programs, the University of Florida, and was the subject of many arguments over whether his unconventional style would find success in the NFL.
In the end, both sides were right. Tim Tebow was successful in the NFL — for a stretch. After taking over as starter for the Denver Broncos in 2011, he led the team on a comeback and a playoff berth, with defenses struggling to stop his running attack.
But eventually defenses caught up with Tebow and exposed his lack of accuracy, and he would never start another game after leaving the Broncos. Tebow was cut before the 2013 season began and seems unlikely to get another chance at the league.
Manziel has faced many of the same questions, surrounded by uncertainty over whether the playmaking ability he showed at Texas A&M will translate to the NFL or whether his small stature will catch up with him. There seem to be as many people thinking he will be a bust as there are thinking he will be a star quarterback.
Though the beginning of their careers may seem similar, Cleveland Browns are likely hoping that Johnny Manziel ends up with a better time in the NFL than Tim Tebow.