Gird yourselves, Miami. Hurricane Tebow is on its way.
Tim Tebow, the one-man circus, returns to town Sunday. Just without the pomp and circumstance as his last visit to Sun Life Stadium.
For one, hes not the Jets starting quarterback (at least not yet). And two, the organization isnt throwing a party in his college teams honor this time.
But even if hes merely the Jets backup QB and punt protector, Tebow can expect plenty of true-blue fans in the stands. Just think of the excitement if he actually gets on the field.
Dont make more of it than it is; please dont, linebacker Kevin Burnett pleaded. Tebows going to come in for about five [plays].
Everything Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner and evangelical hero, does is overhyped. GQ magazine put him on the cover of its football preview edition. NFL.com has a webpage dedicated solely to his highlights, entitled appropriately enough the TebowZone.
Theres no way around it. Tebow who has even fielded questions about his post-career political aspirations (he has them) has moved beyond simply being an athlete.
Love him or hate him, hes an icon. But count Jared Odrick and Brian Hartline among the many who simply dont understand why.
BAD MEMORIES FOR DOLFANS
You dont want my real answer to that, Odrick said, when asked to explain the nations infatuation with Tebow, the Florida Gator great. Id be on the front page of every newspaper. And Id definitely be on Deadspin.
Added Hartline: Everybody loves him, but the same people go with the Kardashians. I dont know what they did either. Theyre on every cover, everywhere.
Hartline quickly clarified, because he knows all-to-well what Tebow can do.
Tim Tebow won a lot of football games in college. Hes won basically wherever hes gone.
Heck, theres a chance Tebows surreal run through the 2011 season during which he engineered six fourth-quarter comebacks would never have happened without his improbable rally at Sun Life.
Tebow, making his first start of the year when the Broncos visited Miami last October, looked awful for the games first 55 minutes. But against all odds, he engineered a 15-point rally throwing for two touchdowns in the games final 2:44 to send the game into overtime.
The Broncos ultimately won the game in overtime, went on to make the playoffs, and even beat the Steelers in the Wild Card round, courtesy of course of a storybook Tebow touchdown pass.
Yet theres been no Tebow magic yet this year. He simply hasnt had the chance. The Broncos dealt Tebow to New York after signing Peyton Manning, and while he seems like a perfect triggerman for Tony Sparanos Wildcat offense, the Jets have hardly used him.
Through two games, Tebow has appeared in just 13 offensive snaps, running six times for 33 yards.
After the Jets beatdown at the hands of the Steelers last week during which Tebow saw the field merely three times on offensive the New York media took coach Rex Ryan to task.
Ryan was none too pleased, saying he and not they determine Tebows use.
Asked a similar question by Miami reporters via conference call, Ryan was a bit subdued:
A POSITIVE INFLUENCE
Each week is a different situation, Ryan said. Sometimes we can run [the Wildcat] more and sometimes we can run it less. You really dont know how much involvement hes going to have in a game plan week to week.
Meanwhile Tebows presence has created a potentially awkward situation for Mark Sanchez the Jets starter who led New York to the AFC championship game in each of his two seasons.
Sanchez was gracious Wednesday, saying the relationship has been a good one, and Tebow has helped the team quite a bit.
Hes a positive influence on everybody, Sanchez. Hes a great teammate to have.
Exactly how much Tebow will help the team Sunday remains to be seen.
The Dolphins are preparing as if theyll see the familiar gimmick offense, but not going too crazy. There are only many hours in the day, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said, and plenty more to get ready for than Tebow.
You still have to stop the run, Burnett added.
And when asked if he understood Tebowmania, Burnett said no.
Its a case of, youve got a good PR guy, Burnett added. I need to call him up, find out who he is.