by Ryan Meehan
On Monday Tim Tebow showed up to the Jets’ training facility to work out and was promptly escorted to Rex Ryan’s office where he was informed that he was being let go by the team. This should not have been a surprise as they drafted Geno Smith and had six quarterbacks that would have been on their way to start workouts next week.
There’s a great quote about entertainment that comedian Artie Lange makes at the end of his audio book “Too Fat to Fish” where he says “Show business is a business, it’s more business than it is show”. There is a lot of truth to that in all walks of the entertainment industry, and let’s not forget that sports (although competitive in nature) are nowadays considered to be entertainment before anything else.
The Jets are a little bit of both ends of that statement. In a way, they are a business as evidenced by their desire to sign Tim Tebow in order to sell jerseys through the licensing agreement. But they’re a show in the sense that they need that show in order to sell the aforementioned merchandise.
Since we view our sports on television let’s look at the Jets as a TV station and Tim Tebow as a TV show. What essentially happened is that the Jets saw the pilot, liked it, said they liked it for a reason that they really didn’t, and decided to cancel the show when it came back to bite them in the ass. Since we can all agree that the Jets are a bit of a circus anyway, this should be relatively easy to draw parallels.
It’s no secret that upper management loves Rex Ryan. In their eyes, he’s the NBC Thursday lineup in the 80s with “Cheers” and “Hill Street Blues”. (In actuality, it’s more like NBC’s current lineup when “Whitney” is in season) When ratings are down, someone on one of the shows makes some crazy statement on Twitter to attract attention to an otherwise slumping show with poor writing.
For the sake of this analogy, “ratings” refer to the Jets’ record, and those “crazy statements” are referring to anything that flies out of Rex Ryan’s blowhole whenever there’s a microphone in front of it. Those ratings (like in TV) are going to rise or fall depending on how the networks around you are doing. The Dolphins are now contenders whose ratings are about to go up, and although Buffalo is not exactly making strides towards going one way or the other, and the Patriots are still the most popular network on TV. What does this mean? It means on the section of your channel selector that hovers around the AFC East is going to be landing on the Jets a lot less than they’d like you to believe.
The problem with the Jets as a network is they are on the verge of becoming UPN. Their popularity may be leveling out, but at the same time as a product the quality is decreasing at an alarming rate. If they can’t turn the network into something that has a quality reality show, Fireman Ed could end up a Bills fan in six years. The Tim Tebow show is now over, the Darrelle Revis show is on another network now, and what the Jets are currently faced with at the moment is the fact that is looks like they might have to actually do a show where they play football with Mark Sanchez as the leading man. And let’s be honest, most of us thought that show should have been cancelled a couple years ago.
The point here is that the Jets are a series of overhyped shows. And make no bones about it, they dragged Tim Tebow into town with no intention of making him a part of that offense at all. They did it to sell jerseys and attract media attention, and it worked. And if Tebow believes anything to the contrary, he’s playing dumb because we all know he has to be smarter than that.