Jun
03
2021

Tim Tebow: The NFL’s Rick Ankiel

If you don’t succeed, try again. Simple to say. Difficult to do. 

Especially if you find yourself at a crossroads in your career, athletes find themselves at this fork in the road at a certain point in their careers. The majority sail off into the sunset. Few choose to hop back in the trenches. 

A few weeks ago, The Jacksonville Jaguars announced that they signed former Heisman winner Tim Tebow to a contract. A base salary guaranteeing him a try-out, but not a roster spot. He is not competing against Trevor; he will line up alongside him. 

Tebow will play tight end. A new position than the one he established a career with. After failing to gain a starting gig, many believed Tebow should hop on the line at the Y spot. However, Tebow declined the request, deciding to pursue a new path. 

He followed the path of Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson before him; he picked up a baseball. However, he peaked at the minor league level, while the other two were named All-Stars. 

Tebow saw the window of opportunity closing, so announced he would be retiring from professional baseball. Happy Trails, Tim. 

Not quite. 

Tim Tebow’s former college head coach, Urban Meyer, just signed a deal to be the next head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars – a team with a bright future ahead with their championship-caliber backfield led by Trevor Lawrence and sidekick Travis Etienne. Do they need Tebowmania to be running wild all over training camp? 

Honestly, it’s a better option than Hard Knocks.

Clearly, this is nothing but a genius marketing technique. Bring as many eyes to your new look franchise as possible to bring in more revenue than expected. Mark my words; there will be someone wearing a Tim Tebow Jaguars jersey by the middle of July. 

Brilliant. 

However, there is also a chance Tebow turns into a productive tight end who excels in blocking and can catch a pass, if necessary. It would be something the NFL has never seen before. However, it would not be the first time in sports history.

How do Rick Ankiel and Tim Tebow compare in career paths?

The legend of Rick Ankiel may be one of my favorite stories in sports. A story about someone who failed, tried something new, and found success. His story gives motivation to those who need it most. If you are unfamiliar with the story, I’ll sum it up quickly. 

Rick Ankiel pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1999-2004. He did not have a terrible career until he found himself in such a slump it derailed his career. His pitches refused to find the strike zone, eventually leading to his demotion to the minors. 

Three years later, Ankiel rose like a phoenix. He demanded a second chance, but as a position player. Rick Ankiel transitioned from pitcher to outfielder in 2007 for the St. Louis Cardinals. He bounced around the league, spending time in Kansas City, Atlanta, and ending his career in the nation’s capital with the Nationals. 

Ankiel averaged .240 over his career, hitting .285 once in 2007. He only notched 20+ home runs once (2008). His production mainly came in the field. He even made a postseason appearance. 

Tim Tebow now brings this Ankiel way of thinking into the NFL. Tebow is not the most talented player on a football field, but he plays with the most passion and competitive nature of any of the players on the Jaguars’ roster. The man is a national champion himself. 

Is he going to rack up crazy stats? Probably not, but he will do whatever is asked of him to move the ball downfield to score. 

Is Tim Tebow legitimately taking a shot away from a young undrafted rookie?

No. 

Tim Tebow does not have a single leg up over anyone heading into training camp. His contract is not guaranteed; it is basically evidence that he was given a fair tryout. 

If he impresses coaches, then the rookie should realize they have a lot more work to do. If Tim Tebow beats you out for a job, you do not deserve it in the first place. 

Tim Tebow and Rick Ankiel share a common ground; they love to compete. They thrive at achieving goals people doubt they will accomplish. It is what keeps them going. 

I pray that whatever happens to Tebow and the Jaguars is for the best. There needs to be a change in Duval County come September. 

Just remember, Jags fans, have faith.