To Boston-area sports columnists:
Congratulations! Tim Tebow is signing with the Patriots and, on behalf of the chroniclers of his short-lived career with the Jets, I wanted to send along an extra large bottle of ibuprofen and a few tips for how to cover him properly.
I know, I know. Right now, you’re probably thinking something crazy like "he’s a third-string quarterback, why would I waste my time covering him at all?" You’ll get over that. You’ll get sucked in like all of us down here did, becoming hopeless and happy slaves to the Tebow Hype Machine.
Tim Tebow made national news with his shirtless run through the rain after a Jets practice in August 2012.
It just happens. One day, you’re writing columns about a football team, and the next, you’re spending your time in the musing about his value as a decoy on the punt team and grilling scout-team receivers about the accuracy of his practice passes. Resistance is futile. Embrace it.
Then, before you know it, you’ll wake up one day and realize you’ve written 47 Tebow columns and can’t remember even one of them. You’ll be making an important contribution to the rapid decline of sports discourse in this country, and we’ll all be dumber as a result.
So, to help you on your way with that process, here are a few tips:
Tip 1: Take a strong stance right away. Either acquiring Tebow is a stroke of genius that will surely revolutionize how the Patriots play football, or it is a disastrous move that will undermine Tom Brady and this entire football dynasty. Brilliant. Or insanity. No room for nuance here. Pick one and dig in.
You can never have enough Tebow."
The best part: There is no wrong answer. If, for example, Tebow has no impact on the Patriots offense, then you can blame the team’s offensive coaches for failing to utilize him in a way that revolutionized football. Find a suitable scapegoat like Tony Sparano — I’m looking at you, Josh McDaniels — and blame him for everything.
Tip 2: Everything he does is news. A post-practice shirtless run in the rain? News. A blind quote from a teammate questioning his ability as quarterback? Big news. He lines up as a running back in practice … while shirtless? Twitter will explode.
President Obama weighed in on Tebow during training camp. No, really — that actually happened. Put it this way: There are still Jets beat writers with post-traumatic stress disorder from covering him last year. If you strike the Tebow pose in their presence, they’ll curl up in the fetal position.
"You can never have enough Tebow," Jets owner Woody Johnson said. That one quote was news for weeks.
Tip 3: Try to avoid actually speaking to Tebow, whenever possible. He’s super excited. He’s just trying to get better and help the team. He loves the Florida Gators and smiles a lot. Nothing to see here.
No, your best bet is to talk to other players, anonymously. Also, be sure to grill coach Bill Belichick about him every single day. This will be your sweet revenge for all those boring press conferences over the years.
Tip 4: Tom Brady is finished. Okay, not really. But someday, right? So don’t let things like "facts" get in your way of wild speculation about what the organization might do with their newest asset.
Try writing a column that’ll fit under this headline: "Will Tebow take over when Brady retires?" That’ll get you at least four appearance on a variety of ESPN2 shows, and eternal damnation.
Tip 5: This will not end well. Be ready.
Maybe his limited role will not be enough to please his legions of fans. Or maybe the media frenzy will be too much for the usually button-down organization? The Patriots only carry two quarterbacks on their roster now, so Tebow might not make it out of training camp, and then what?
But it will end well for you, Boston-area sports columnists. Controversy. Intrigue. Endless hype. Tebow came and went with the Jets, a year that was an unmitigated disaster for everyone involved but the ink-stained hacks who chronicled every ugly moment.