In the postseason, Tebow threw the game-winning touchdown pass on the first play of overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-23. Denver lost the following week at New England, 45-10. Although he energized the team, Tebow's long, looping delivery led to some accuracy issues. And with his eagerness to run, he's hardly the prototypical pocket passer.
His fans don't care.
"It's interesting that people keep saying he can't play in the NFL and yet teams are lining up to get him," Echevarria said.
Indeed, Tebow's hometown Jaguars and the St. Louis Rams showed interest. Many figured he would be lock to land in Jacksonville, where his fame surely would boost sluggish ticket sales and make the team relevant nationally for the first time in five years.
But in the end, Tebow went to the Jets in exchange for fourth- and sixth-round draft picks. The Broncos also received a seventh-rounder in return.
Some Tebow fans question the destination.
"That's got to be probably the toughest thing for Tebow," said Mike McBride, a member of the Clay County Gator Club outside Jacksonville. "One of the most critical cities in sports is New York, worse than any place in the nation. If they're winning, fine. If they're losing, they want you tarred and feathered and sent packing."
But McBride, whose wife, daughter and daughter-in-law all proudly wore No. 15 Broncos jerseys in Jaguars country, also believes Tebow could use the larger platform to better share his faith.
"He's different from everyone else," McBride said. "I'll always watch Tebow hoping he's an anomaly in a league where so many guys get to the top and get the big purse and either get in trouble or don't play to the big purse. This kid is full motor. He might not be the best quarterback, but it's not because he's not giving full effort."
The region that might have the toughest time dealing with Tebow's latest stop is South Florida, where the Dolphins are king and the Gators rank closely behind in the football-fervent state.
Can those Dolphins fans who love Tebow really root for him now that he plays for the AFC East rival Jets?
"I was hoping he would wind up going to the Dolphins," said Henry Rivera, a Miami native now playing baseball at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa. "And now that he's playing against our biggest rival, it's heartbreaking."
Teammate Trevor Freeman, who was sitting a row behind Rivera as they watched the New York Yankees play an intrasquad game in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, was quick to chime in.
"It's not about the Jets; it's about Tim Tebow!" Freeman said.
Another teammate, Will Palmerton, lived in Gainesville last year and is a Gators fan.
"I don't know if he's going to quite fit in," Palmerton said. "A better fit would've been Jacksonville. I mean, I'll still root for him ... maybe not for the Jets to win, but for him to do well."
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, who went to graduate school in Gainesville, expects Tebow to experience some culture shock in New York. He also feels there will be some conflicted Tebow fans.
"Oh, I'm sure there will be," he said. "Sure will."
The Beatties are among those.
Mike Beattie's initial reaction when he learned Tebow was landing with the Jets?
"I was disgusted," said Beattie, a CPA in Tampa. "I just thought the Jets would be a horrible place for him. They have a loud-mouth, obnoxious coach and a divided locker room. That whole franchise is a mess. I could pick 25 other teams that would be a better fit. The Jets didn't seem to make any sense."
But Tebow's there now, for better or worse, leaving Beattie no choice.
"I want him to do well," Beattie said. "If he doesn't play, then I'm not going to care. But it he gets on the field, then I'm going to root for him with everything I've got."
AP Sports Writers Rachel Cohen in New York, Pat Graham and Arnie Stapleton in Denver, and Ben Walker in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report.