NEW YORK — Tim Tebow, the quarterback phenomenon who led the Denver Broncos on an unlikely run to the NFL playoffs last season, was traded to the New York Jets on Wednesday.
One day after signing superstar quarterback Peyton Manning to a five-year contract, the Denver Broncos parted ways with the instigator of “Tebowmania”, who attracted the attention of American football fans by reviving the Broncos.
Denver was mired in a 1-4 slump to open the season when the Broncos turned to Tebow as their starter seven games into the season. Tebow went 7-4 and took the team into the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.
But Tebow was not done. He sparked Denver to a 29-23 over-time upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round before the clock struck midnight on his fairy-tale story, the New England Patriots ousting Denver 45-10 in round two.
The Jets, who sent Denver fourth-round and sixth-round 2012 NFL Draft picks to obtain Tebow and a seventh-round pick, had a front-row view of “Tebowmania” in a 17-13 loss last November during his remarkable turnaround of the Broncos.
Tebow marched the Broncos 95 yards in 12 plays in the final minutes against the Jets and scored on a 20-yard touchdown run with 58 seconds remaining to provide the winning points.
While Tebow completed only 46.5 percent of his passes last season, he kept finding ways to win and inspiring top efforts from teammates even while he was statistically among the poorest quarterbacks in the NFL.
Among his reversals was rallying the Broncos from a 15-0 deficit to an 18-15 over-time victory against Miami.
The major question now is how Tebow will fit into the Jets, who already have a beloved quarterback in Mark Sanchez. Having both signal callers is almost certain to create a quarterback controversy in media-mad New York once starter Sanchez struggles for the first time next season.
“We don’t need Tebow,” Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie said in a message on his Twitter account before the deal was completed.
Tebow, who has a base salary of $1.1 million, arrives just two weeks after Sanchez signed a three-year contract extension with the Jets worth $40.5 million.