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NEW YORK — Chaotic, arrogant, sometimes even crass.
And if you think the New York Jets are bad, you should see their fans.
Welcome to The Big Apple, Tim Tebow. If you can make it there ... well, let’s just say the attention you received in Denver — the obsessing over your throwing technique, what kind of teammate you were, your religious beliefs, your musical preferences, where you went for dinner and, yes, even your Tebowing — will seem like a quick once-over compared to the microscope you’ll be under in Manhattan.
“I think it’s a great market; it’s a great city,” Tebow said late Wednesday night.
Better watch what you wish for.
While their buttoned-down co-tenants at the Meadowlands, the Giants, just won their second Super Bowl in five years, the Jets are an NFL franchise in dysfunction. Head coach Rex Ryan has turned off pretty much anyone not in green and white with his foul mouth and obscene gestures, and it’s going to take more than a few bottles of Lysol to clear the toxic air in the Jets locker room.
They couldn’t even pull off the trade without drama.
After announcing they had acquired Tebow from the Denver Broncos on Wednesday morning, the Jets needed the entire day to actually get the deal done, tripped up by the fine print. In the meantime, instead of the lovefest that usually greets new players, Tebow was dismissed as a “publicity stunt” by none other than Joe Namath and dissed by Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie.
Tebow has all the makings of a 21st Century All-American. He’s personable, he’s polite, he’s generous, he even listens to Christian rock during warmups. He has shown he can win football games, too, taking a 1-4 Broncos team to the playoffs.
What he’s not so great at is throwing the football. His 46.5 completion percentage ranked him 33rd in the 32-team NFL last year, and the Broncos backed into the playoffs with three straight losses.
Now, Tebow walks into a city where fans won’t have any qualms about sharing their feelings and a team that already has a shaky quarterback situation.
Mark Sanchez’s psyche was already fragile after the debacle that was last season and seeing the Jets pine for Peyton Manning couldn’t have helped. Then, not two weeks after he’s signed to a three-year extension, the Jets go out and get Tebow.
“Mark Sanchez is, has been and will be our starting quarterback,” Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said late Wednesday.
The Broncos said similar things about Kyle Orton, and he finished last season in Kansas City.
The New York fan base is notoriously fickle and one interception by Sanchez, heck, one glare from Santonio Holmes, and Jets fans will be calling for Tebow. The tabloids won’t even be that restrained; one paper Thursday featured the Statue of Liberty, Tebowing.
“We obviously know that Tim has a magnetic following,” Tannenbaum said. “We understand the popularity of the backup quarterback, and this one is more unique than others.”
“Unique.” That’s a good way of putting it.