By NANCY ARMOUR, Associated Press
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 NFL champions 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.
"I can't imagine a more unlikely fit for Tim Tebow than the New York Jets, just given what we know about the culture of that team. It seems to me, and a lot of outside observers, a team that has a pretty broken culture — at least a messy culture," said Patton Dodd, the executive editor of Patheos.com, a website designed for dialogue on religion and spirituality, and author of the ebook, "The Tebow Mystique."
"(But) in some ways, it's sort of ideal for him," Dodd added. "Even though it doesn't seem like a likely fit, if he's serious about what he believes, this is the kind of place that he ought to, to use Christian language, feel called to."
On paper, 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 and sings the lyrics during warmups. He has shown he can win football games, too, taking a 1-4 Broncos team to the playoffs and thrilling fans with a series of otherworldly comebacks.
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.
Without coming out and saying it, none other than John Elway — the Hall of Famer who now runs the Broncos — decided he'd had enough. He signed Peyton Manning — a justifiable move no matter who you unseat.
"Tim Tebow's a great kid. If I want someone to marry my daughter, it's him," Elway said.
Though he called Tebow a "great football player," Elway refused to say much about whether he could be a great quarterback and then promptly shipped him out of town.
Now, Tebow walks into a city where fans won't have any qualms about sharing their feelings — these are fans who make a near-annual ritual of booing their top draft pick when his name is announced — and onto a team that already has a shaky situation with its quarterback, Mark Sanchez.
Sanchez's psyche was already fragile after the debacle that was last season and seeing the Jets pine for 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.
Uh-huh. The Broncos said similar things about Kyle Orton, and he finished last season in Kansas City.
The New York fan base is notoriously fickle — Linsanity? That's so two weeks ago — 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.