With the Denver Broncos interested in free agent quarterback Peyton Manning -- not to mention the reports that if Manning is signed, quarterback Tim Tebow will be traded out of Denver -- many analysts and fans have begun to speculate landing spots for Tebow. Unfortunately for Jacksonville Jaguars fans, we'll once again have to endure the national media lazily connecting the dots and picking Jacksonville as the prime landing location for Tebow.
In the media's mind, it makes sense for the Jaguars to make a move for Tebow because of his popularity, citing that Tebow will no doubt push ticket sales for a franchise that has struggled to sell tickets. What's not typically brought up with this point, however, is that since the Jaguars passed on Tim Tebow in the 2010 NFL Draft, the team has not had a single blackout and ticket renewals have been up each offseason.
These facts don't fit the lazy narrative that's already been set forth -- ergo, they don't get mentioned.
The reality of the situation is that there are just as many Jaguars fans, likely more, who do not want Tim Tebow on the Jaguars. As a matter of fact, the Jaguars polled season ticket holders prior to the 2010 NFL Draft and to the surprise of most, season ticket holders who voted "No" on Tebow outweighed the "Yes" votes. This hasn't stopped people from telling Jaguars fans what they want, however.
While there are certainly plenty of Jaguars fans who would love to have Tim Tebow, and there are legions of Florida Gators fans in the Jacksonville area that would like to see him on the local NFL team, that doesn't necessarily translate to the ticket sales that everyone attributes to Tebow. As a matter of fact, the Jaguars franchise did a market study prior to the draft to find out just what kind of season ticket impact drafting Tebow would have, and the results determined that the season ticket boost would be minimal at best.
Sure, having Tim Tebow on the Jaguars would push some tickets, but that push would be temporary for the team if he's not any good. This is the whole crux of the problem, is that the national media and some "fans" believe that simply having Tebow on the roster is going to push ticket sales, even if he's bad or he's not playing. In reality, that's a pretty big insult to fans because people essentially call them sheep: "You'd buy a ticket to watch this guy lead a team to defeat, or not even play."
I find it hard to believe that if the Jaguars had Tebow the past few seasons and wound up with a similar record, he would still sell all of those tickets. In the NFL, winning sells tickets more than anything else.
The logic behind the team being interested in trade for Tebow itself is just nonsensical. The Jaguars made it known they were not in the race for Peyton Manning because they feel like they have their guy at quarterback in Blaine Gabbert, whom the team traded up for in the 2011 NFL Draft. Regardless of your thoughts on Gabbert, why would a team willingly pull themselves out of the running for the services of Peyton Manning, but then be interested in trading for Tim Tebow ... just to sell tickets? Where is the logic in that? Peyton Manning would undoubtedly sell just as many tickets as Tebow, but he would also significantly improve the quarterback position which likely translates to more wins. So, why would a team pass that up just to trade for the quarterback a team seems desperate to replace?
Because Jaguars owner Shad Khan "wants" Tim Tebow, obviously. "100 percent I would have. Absolutely," Khan told WOKV in a radio interview when he was asked if he would have drafted Tebow in 2010. Khan later clarified to local media he wouldn't have done so with the tenth overall pick that season, but at some point in the draft. This, of course, has been twisted into meaning that Khan still wants Tebow, after watching him play nearly two years in the NFL. Another lazy, twisted connection that fits the narrative for much of the national media, yet if you talk to anyone connected with the Jaguars organization, there is no interest at all from the team.
I asked someone in the Jaguars organization about the topic, and I was told that reports of interest in trading for Tebow are met with snickering and eye rolling. Just like the national media is insinuating fans of Jacksonville are sheep with their narrative, they're also telling everyone that essentially, Shad Khan is a gimmick business man, willing to go out and get a player he thinks will sell tickets, regardless of the player's ability on the field or long term viability. The "Tebow to Jacksonville" trade story has become the new mutated version of the "Jaguars are moving to L.A." narrative that was told for years, yet was wildly inaccurate once you looked at the facts of the situation and talked to people in the know with the franchise.
Tim Tebow is like Jacksonville's very own form of herpes. When you finally think you're rid of him, he pops back up out of nowhere.
For more on the Jacksonville Jaguars, visit SB Nation's Jaguars blog Big Cat Country.