David Moulton: Tim Tebow's fame and NFL future has fallen fast

So I'm watching Monday Night Football and on the third series of the game here comes Tim Tebow on the field for the New York Jets.

Remember him?

A year ago this week, the former Florida quarterback was only the biggest thing in sports.

Bigger than LeBron.

Bigger than Brady.

Remember Te-bowing? Where you kneel, while propping your elbow on the other raised knee and resting your head in your hand, all while taking a moment to pray.

Tens of millions of Americans were Te-bowing everywhere.

He was the subject of a Saturday Night Live skit where Jesus visited the Broncos locker room to compliment Tebow on his success, but to ask him if he could start playing better, earlier in games (it was funny).

His rocky starts only added to the craze. Tebow would many times not be that good for three quarters but then, like a superhero, play great in the 4th quarter. All the while leading the 1-4 Denver team that he inherited, to an 8-5 record with six consecutive wins.

He was so popular, that a majority of Broncos fans wanted no part of Peyton Manning as their next QB. They wanted Tebow instead.

Tebow-mania reached its peak a year ago this week. He was 24, good-looking, articulate and an athlete that wanted to be and was a role model. The debate was whether he his unorthodox talent and skills could lead Denver to a championship?

Professionally not much has gone well for Tebow in the last year. He and the Broncos lost their last three regular season games in 2011 and were both fortunate to make the playoffs at 8-8 (6 for 22 for 60 yards and 2 turnovers in a 7-3 loss to KC to end the regular season. Yikes!). Tebow did play well and threw a 80-yard TD pass to win a playoff game over Pittsburgh but that's been about it.

Discarded for Manning in Denver (they've won 9 straight and he may win his fourth MVP award), Tebow is a sideshow/backup quarterback for the New York Jets. Last year he went to the Pro Bowl. This year he is 6-for-8 passing for 39 yards and has run 32 times for 102 yards.

He has thrown for and scored as many touchdowns as you and I have. Zero.

Everything has changed in a year.

On the one hand he's merely 25 now but still good-looking, articulate and a role model. Yet the question has gone from, "Is Tebow a franchise QB?" to "Will Tebow even be in the league much longer?"

Think about it.

Three years into his pro career the scouting report and questions about Tebow are exactly the same now as then. He's not a great passer (career 48 percent accuracy) and the NFL is a passing league (except for Adrian Peterson in Minnesota). If he's not good enough to be a starter, his popularity attracts too much attention to be an ideal backup quarterback.He is an enigma. An impressive young man with a unique skill set that when given the chance has helped his teams achieve lots of success in high school, college and even once in the NFL.

Yet many players, coaches and executives believe that Tebow is not an NFL quarterback. Period.

To them, he's had his 15 minutes of fame.

Are they right? I believe they are. In fact, I didn't think his 15 minutes would be as good as they were.

Clearly the Jets "experiment" with Tebow has not worked. Maybe they let him start the final two games of the year, but considering Mark Sanchez threw 4 interceptions after Tebow's one series Monday and they still didn't turn to Tebow, his time in New York is coming to an end.

So now what?

Was Tebow the NFL equivalent of a shooting star? Or does this young man of great faith have one more NFL team willing to see if he can be their savior?

I don't think so. As stunning as it seems from where his career was just one year ago, Tebow is likely far closer to the end of the NFL road than the beginning.

Unless his hometown Jacksonville Jaguars come calling.

Jacksonville needs a QB and a face of the franchise. Ticket sales coming off this lousy season (2-12 so far) figure to be a problem going forward. What if the Jags went 'all in" with trying to make the college game work on Sundays? Hire Oregon's Chip Kelly as coach to run the speed "spread" offense and bring in Tebow for it.

What do they have to lose?

But if not Jacksonville, where?

Kansas City? Arizona? Buffalo?

Not likely.

A year ago this week Tebow was the most celebrated athlete in the United States.

Now he can't play.

Amazing.

David Moulton co-hosts "Miller and Moulton in the Afternoon" weekdays 2-6 pm on SW Florida's ESPN Radio (101.5 FM in Bonita/North Naples, 105.1 FM in Naples/Marco Island). His freelance columns appears Sunday, Wednesday and Friday

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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