The XFL Needs Tim Tebow


My colleague Kyle Koster’s update that Tim Tebow is batting .144 in AAA this season reminded me of a take that has been percolating for awhile but I haven’t put on paper: The XFL could really really really really really really use him.

The XFL is coming out of the gate with better odds to succeed than the AAF because they have bona fide TV deals in which over half their games will be distributed onto broadcast networks in ABC and FOX that are in nearly 120 million homes, and because their money situation is sound. Whether or not relaunching the spring football league is a good idea, Vince McMahon is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money into it, so it’s not as though the league will have games on a Sunday and be gone by Tuesday.

Nevertheless, as Mike Florio wrote about Johnny Manziel, the league is going to rise or fall on the basis of putting football players out there that people want to see. If Tebow is quarterbacking on a cold Sunday afternoon in February, you’re going to watch him instead of a random college basketball game or binging Netflix.

It’s besides the point if you think he is good at football. I happen to be one of the last remaining truthers who is certain that Tebow running the option is a much more palatable choice for NFL head coaches that, once their starter has gotten hurt, have opted for quarterbacks like Nathan Peterman or Ryan Lindley who can’t throw or run. (Regardless of how one feels about his kneeling during the national anthem, this is also true about Colin Kaepernick in my opinion; I’d say he should be in the XFL too but based on Vince McMahon’s introductory press conference I just don’t see it ever happening.)

There are a couple of pitfalls here. Maybe Tebow heats up in baseball and that dream remains alive. Whether or not that happens, he’d command a lot more money than the XFL is in all likelihood is planning on paying its players. But this brings us back to a point from the second paragraph: Vince McMahon owns the whole league and he should be able to figure out a creative solution in order for this to happen. The fact of the matter is he knows as well as anyone that he’ll need TV ratings for the XFL to endure, and Tebow is one of the few individuals the league could get who could really drive them.