NEW YORK (WFAN) — Tebow Time has hit the WFAN airwaves. After much anticipation, Tim Tebow faced two of his harshest critics on Thursday: morning show co-hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton.
Esiason hasn’t been shy in his criticism of the Jets’ left-handed backup quarterback, which dates back to last year when Tebow was with Denver. After a particularly rough game against Detroit, Esiason suggested that the Broncos end the Tebow experiment.
Which they eventually did, if only to make room for Peyton Manning. Tebow, who built a huge fan base both for his late-game heroics and strong Christian beliefs, was traded to the Jets in March to serve as Mark Sanchez’s backup and the team’s scramblin’ specialist.
Earlier this month, Esiason insisted the Jets made a “major mistake” and said he’d cut Tebow. The affable jock later responded by wishing the former Jets quarterback “nothing but the best in his announcing and God bless him.”
“I really try not to think about it,” Tebow told Boomer and Carton about the scrutiny and sometimes over-the-top media coverage. “I just try to live my life day to day, meeting to meeting, practice to practice and, you know, stay focused on the little things and not worry about everything else — what’s in the tabloids, what’s in the papers, what people are saying about me.”
LISTEN: Tebow with Boomer & Carton
“You are so much better than I am,” Esiason said to Tebow. “Really, you are. He is.”
Carton agreed: “Boomer would’ve gone nuts.”
Tebow has shown flashes of electric play in two preseason games. But his 40.9 completion percentage (9 of 22) hasn’t done much to convince his detractors — Boomer and Carton among them — who point to his passing game as a major weakness.
“I think there are some things that come easier to me than others,” Tebow said. “I feel like I’m better at all my weaknesses. And those really (are) the things that I’m really working hard on every single day to get better at — and that excites me.”
Of course, it’s not easy when you’re constantly under pressure. Tebow was sacked four times in Saturday’s 26-3 loss to the Giants, and many fans have pointed to embattled right tackle Wayne Hunter as the main culprit on New York’s leaky line.
That’s exactly why Tebow’s ability to make something out of nothing could prove to be invaluable.
He was brought in to lead the Jets’ ultra-secretive wildcat-style offense, which was recently put on display for reporters. But with restrictions on what can be divulged from a closed practice, what new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano has up his sleeve remains a mystery.
“I think more than anything you would want people to say, ‘There’s someone that helps the team win football games,'” Tebow said. “That’s ultimately why you play the game … to win. And however I can help the team win football games, that’s what I want to do.”
Tebow has also seen action as the Jets’ punt protector.
“I consider myself a quarterback that, they ask me to do other things to help this team,” he told Boomer and Carton. “So if I have the ability and attributes to do something else and help this team, I’m gonna put my heart and soul into doing that.”
The NFL’s most talked about backup has his work cut out for him. Not just to convert the naysayers, but to help improve a Jets offense that hasn’t managed to muster a single touchdown in their first two preseason games.
“For the Jet fans, I just want them to know that when we go out there and play this year, when I step on that field, I’m giving my heart and soul,” Tebow said. “Every single play, every single drive, every single game and I’ll leave everything I have out there.
Tebow and the Jets are hoping it’ll come together Sunday night against Carolina. And for a guy who’s all about winning, his first victory in green and white — even if it’s just the preseason — may be enough to quiet his critics.
“I will give the most energy, effort I can possibly give and love doing it at the same time,” he said. “And that’s all you can give, everything you have, and that’s what I’ll give every single play.”
Tebow’s charm may have put a dent in Esiason, who admitted the quarterback “oozes genuine.” But he insisted he’ll call it like he sees it, even if that means calling out arguably the nicest guy in football.
As for Tebow? He’ll keep doing his thing, too.
“Thanks for having me on,” he told Boomer and Carton. “God bless y’all.”
What did you think of the interview? Let us know in the comments below!