I miss Tim Tebow. Even if the guy hasn't played in an NFL regular season game since 2012, I can't be the only one who misses 'Tebow Time' and 'Tebowing', right?
Well, at least we'll get to see him this spring as a baseball player. At least, that's what New York Mets manager Terry Collins believes, according to a quote from this week's Winter Meetings.
"I do not know how it's going to shake out. We're in New York. We can handle anybody with a name on his back in our camp. If they decide to send him to camp, we'll get him better. I can tell you, I certainly hope you will see Tim Tebow in some of our games."
As a Tebow fan, I'd be interested to see how the Mets players handle being in the same locker room as the former Heisman Trophy winner.
That line of thinking, as well as Collins' optimism, made me think about which NFL players who hadn't played with Tebow would react to having him as their quarterback? Which receivers would hate playing with the 2010 first-rounder the most, and how would players like Terrell Owens and Randy Moss react to catching balls from a quarterback with a career 47.9 completion percentage?
I think the best question before we dive into this is how many receivers would try to actively lock Tebow in his locker for his quarterback play, but that's a different story entirely...
15 Brandon Marshall
Interestingly, this one actually could have happened as the Broncos traded Marshall, a fourth-round pick in 2006, to the Miami Dolphins only weeks before the 2010 NFL Draft. Marshall, now known for his excellent work with the mental health community and his openness about his borderline personality disorder, battled several legal issues during his time with the Broncos - as well as arguments with then-coach Josh McDaniels.
In short, before becoming one of the league’s great leaders, Marshall was a player in desperate need of one. With that said, it’s hard to think that Marshall circa 2010 would have gotten along too well with a golden boy, ‘pure’ quarterback that wasn’t always feeding him the ball. Religion may even have been a part of their potential feud, as them partnering up in that time would have been before Marshall converted to Christianity.
However, it is worth noting that after Marshall found the road to maturity, he did praise Tebow and his openness about his Christianity during a memorable 2012 interview on ESPN’s First Take. Maybe they’d have gotten along well after all...off the field, at least.
14 Joey Galloway
Galloway ends up on this list because, to the former Ohio State wideout’s credit, he’s an outspoken and intelligent man like Tebow; this would have most likely led to some issues in the locker room, especially if race relations in America - a topic that Galloway got into an ugly argument with fellow ESPN colleague Paul Finebaum earlier this year in light of Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests - or something along those lines came up in conversation.
As he showed after Finebaum defended comments made on his nationally syndicated radio show about how America isn’t oppressing black people, Galloway isn’t one to sit and stay quiet when he disagrees with something. To Galloway, you can feel a certain way, but...
“How you feel about that doesn’t actually… that’s the thing, you’re taking your feelings and putting them on his situation. If that’s the way [Kaepernick] feels, then he has the absolute right to feel that way…”
13 Wes Welker
Another player who just missed out on playing with Tebow by a year or two, Welker - a Denver Bronco from 2013-14 - had his career saved by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots after signing with them in 2007. While Welker did catch 67 balls in 2006 for the Miami Dolphins, it was his time in New England that cemented his place among the all-time great slot receivers.
In six seasons with the Patriots, Welker made five Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro twice, so chances are he wouldn't have wanted to trade Tom Brady (or, circa 2008 Matt Cassel) for a lesser quarterback in Tim Tebow. Welker may have enjoyed the way Tebow could make impressive, all-around plays, but the former Texas Tech receiver made a lot of money and a realistic case for the Hall of Fame due to Brady. If Welker was catching balls from Tebow, then Welker may have tried returning to kicking.
12 Demaryius Thomas
There seems to be a misconception with many NFL fans that when Tim Tebow replaced Kyle Orton as the Denver Broncos’ quarterback, that was what turned Demaryius Thomas’ career around and set things up for the other 2010 first-round pick to make three straight Pro Bows from 2012-14. To an extent, Tebow throwing to Thomas did help make him a national name, especially in the play that Steelers fans refuse to talk about almost five years later, but it was a combination of Thomas’ own talent and the addition of Peyton Manning as quarterback that turned the former Georgia Tech star into that star receiver the Broncos took a chance on.
Even with a mix of Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch behind center this year for Orange Crush, Thomas still has 66 catches for 799 yards and five touchdowns. If you’re Demaryius Thomas, would you really want to go back to the Tebow days when, for almost the past five years, you’ve had ‘true’ quarterbacks throwing to you for the bulk of the time?
11 Julius Thomas
Like Welker with Brady - or even Thomas and Manning - Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas made a nice payday for himself thanks to the quarterback play he had with the Broncos. Because Thomas played during the 'Peyton Manning Denver heyday' and never had to deal with Brock Osweiler at QB, the former basketball player caught 26 touchdowns over the 2013 and 2014 seasons before getting a five-year, $46 million deal from Jacksonville.
It sure would be unfortunate for Thomas, who's enjoying his payday despite the Jaguars being in last place, to go back to a time where he was on a rookie salary and not getting catches because his quarterback was Tim Tebow. Thomas and Tebow may have been able to bond over the two each having a love for different sports - Thomas with basketball and his time playing at Portland State; Tebow with his new baseball career - but on the gridiron, it'd have been a different conversation between the two.
10 Marvin Harrison
Another wide receiver who wouldn't be pleased with having Tim Tebow as his quarterback simply because his quarterback for so long was Peyton Manning, watching Harrison and Tebow interact would have been fun from the couch, but ugly on the sideline. Harrison was a perfectionist who loved getting the ball and despite him not being the type to sit and moan like Terrell Owens, you could tell when watching a Colts game that he was fuming if Peyton wasn't throwing his way.
Keep in mind, Harrison played with Manning before all of the injuries, so going from a prime Manning (who could never win in the playoffs) to Tim Tebow would not have been fun for the Hall of Famer. Harrison was a warrior that put up with a lot in Indianapolis, especially the lack of a running game, but dealing with Tebow may have been the straw that broke the horse's back.
9 Mohamed Sanu
Speaking of dealing with Tebow, Atlanta's Mohamed Sanu ends up on this list for much more of a serious reason. Tebow is an outspoken Christian and Sanu, a New Jersey native, is an outspoken Muslim. With all of the ties that Tebow has to Donald Trump, including Trump buying a signed Tebow football helmet, there may have been some serious issues in the locker room between these two.
Is this a guarantee? No, of course not. Does it make sense to believe that with how outspoken each are about their religions, two religions that often have a major conflict with each other, to think there may be a spat here or there? It's a sad thing to think about so we should probably move to the next one, yeah?
8 Odell Beckham Jr.
And here begins a trend of wide receivers who love celebrating, love big plays, and hate when their quarterback ignores them. When Odell Beckham Jr. gets the ball from Eli Manning, he makes plays - huge plays, as most defensive backs will tell you - but how would the Madden NFL 16 cover athlete deal with a quarterback who has worse quarterback mechanics than his current quarterback.
That's nothing against Eli Manning or anything, but the guy has always made such bad throws when he shouldn't need to and the two have had their issues in the past. Replacing Manning, who at least can make plays here and there, with Tebow would be what causes Beckham Jr. to finally snap.
Oh, and there's the whole Florida-LSU thing. We can't forget about that.
7 Dez Bryant
People give Dallas Cowboys star Dez Bryant too much flack and now, even after him being in the league for seven seasons, I still can’t figure out why. He has some attitude issues, like so many other NFL players at this point, but Bryant is far, far from the likes of Randy Moss and Terrell Owens (I promise, we’ll have more on them later). If anything,
Though, maybe I have a soft spot for Dez Bryant because he’s one of the few players in this league I can have pity for. For almost every season in his career, Bryant has unfortunately suffered from the ‘my-quarterback-has-injury-problems’ syndrome - including this year, but the saving grace was Dak Prescott. Romo and Prescott at least had a form of competence when playing the quarterback position and Bryant, when he’s managed to avoid the occasional injury, has benefited immensely.
Yet, if Bryant had Tebow throwing to him instead of those two, then I can say with certainty that the attitude issues that plagued the former first-rounder in college and early in his professional career would have returned in a heartbeat. I’m not saying Bryant and Tebow would have traded blows, but that organizational turnaround that the Cowboys are experiencing likely would solely be Dez Bryant throwing up the X as the team went 8-8...again.
6 Rob Gronkowski
Another player who also went in the 2010 NFL Draft, Gronkowski may actually have enjoyed Tebow’s ability to heal those who have come down with an injury. Would Gronk have enjoyed Tebow’s clean, pure lifestyle, however? As the quarterback of the team and the man that people look to on offense, it’s hard not to think that Tebow would have said to Gronkowski something about the tight end’s partying and love of stripping.
How would Gronkowski have responded? Would America’s favorite tight end have been cool with it, or would an all-out stripping contest in the locker room begin as Tebow and Gronkowski fought over who would be a better lead for the next Magic Mike movie? Plus, there’s the football factor, seeing as Gronkowski - with the help of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady - has become a top three tight end in NFL history in only seven seasons. What would he have done with Tebow, other than strip?
5 Keyshawn Johnson
Keyshawn Johnson was an interesting talent during his NFL days and retired early at the age of 34, but would having Tebow have made him quit earlier? For our younger readers, Johnson was essentially the loudmouth, arrogant player that Terrell Owens and Randy Moss were, but those two at least had defining traits. Johnson was more of the 'balanced' type of wide reciever you'll see in Madden - he could catch balls, but didn't have that killer speed or spectacular catch ability.
And when things didn't go well, Keyshawn exploded. No player or coach, not even Jon Gruden, was safe from the almighty Keyshawn. Tim Tebow may not be a fighter when it comes to other players, but he'd have probably gotten a pass from everyone if he tried to humble Keyshawn. Would anyone other than Keyshawn have had a problem with that?
4 Antonio Brown
Of our top five on this list, Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro wideout Antonio Brown - who actually was selected in the same draft as Tebow - is the only one who doesn’t suffer from anything that resembles egomania or arrogance. How does Brown end up on here then, you ask?
With the exception of the game or two a year when he has Landry Jones or Dennis Dixon throwing his way, Brown gets to play 60 minutes a game with Ben Roethlisberger - a former first-round pick like Tebow, but one who actually has NFL intangibles. It’s because of Roethlisberger and that high-powered Steelers offense that Brown has become the league’s best wide receiver, one who has averaged 100 catches, 1,330 yards, and eight touchdowns a year since 2011.
With that said, imagine Brown’s reaction if he found that his quarterback - a gunslinging, savvy veteran who has two Super Bowl rings to his name - was replaced by one who was too stubborn to change his position because he wanted to stay as a quarterback. Like Tebow, Antonio Brown is an all-around good guy who you can tell really relishes in being a role model, but the former Dancing With The Stars member probably wouldn’t enjoy his time with the 2007 Heisman Trophy Winner.
3 Randy Moss
When was Randy Moss truly happy during his time in the NFL? When he caught the ball and scored touchdowns. In his time with the Broncos and Jets, Tebow threw for a total of 17 touchdowns; Moss had three seasons of 17 or more touchdowns, including the record-setting 23 touchdowns for the 2007 Patriots. It’d make sense to think that Moss, who has mellowed out since retiring and joining FOX Sports as an NFL contributor, would have had a tough time in his playing days with Tebow.
Yes, Moss may have been able to temporarily put his own desires aside if Tebow could engineer that same magic he showed for the 2011 Denver Broncos, but would that happiness have lasted forever? Probably not, at least until Tebow and Moss reached the Super Bowl. It’s Tebow time, baby!
2 Chad Ochocinco
Chad: You know, I’m thinking of a new touchdown celebration where I score, punt the ball upwards on some Ray Guy style, jump in the air like I’m one of the X-Men, and catch it with my helmet. Anyone want to come practice it with me?
Tim: But Chad, if you do that, you’ll get fined! I think we should all watch some game film, see what went wrong on Sunday.
The one thing I’ll give Chad Johnson Ochocinco some major credit for is that the guy loved having fun, even after Roger Goodell took over and made it clear that celebrations were going to be a thing of the past. But, would Ochocinco be able to have fun with Tim Tebow, a man who seems to come off as the antithesis of that word?
Maybe. There’s no doubt that both are true football lovers and, with Tim Tebow’s intelligence and diverse background, the four-time All-Pro receiver likely would have found other names to put on the back of his jersey. Ochocinco enjoys catching the ball too, though, and made his opinions known to Carson Palmer when the 2003 number one overall pick didn’t target him enough. How bad, then, would things have been with Tebow?
1 Terrell Owens
Everything that I said about Ochocinco applies to Owens, but there’s one key difference between the two. While Ochocinco would have probably ignored Tebow’s protest and may have even inspired the 2007 Heisman winner to come up with a trend that could become the new ‘Tebowing’, Owens would simply have bullied his quarterback the same way he did with Jeff Garcia and Tony Romo.
Ochocinco was a child who enjoyed stories and playing with toys. Owens was - and remains - a child who is out to ruin stories and steal toys. When T.O. didn’t get his way, the six-time Pro Bowler would bitch and moan, complaining to the media and destroying entire locker rooms; this happened with contracts and it happened when his quarterback, from Young to Palmer, didn’t throw the ball his way.
If both came out of ‘retirement’ and ended up on an NFL roster tomorrow, Owens would start a problem with Tebow and his religion the same way that he caused a controversy by insisting that former 49ers teammate Jeff Garcia was gay. T.O. was one of the most talented wide receivers in recent memory, but pairing him with Tebow not only seems like a fan fiction gone wrong, but a certain way for Lucifer to come looking for the popcorn-loving Pro Bowler..