Tebowmania has hit New England -- sort of.
On Monday, the New England Patriots announced that they had signed former New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow to a two-year contract, although reportedly, none of the money is guaranteed.
The announcement that the Patriots had signed Tebow on Monday generated enormous media attention throughout the country. Googling "Tebow" and "Patriots" brought up 178 million hits.
When Tebow showed up to the Patriots' mini-camp on Tuesday, a swarm of reporters surrounded him. Although there are no guarantees Tebow will even make the team, both regional and national media members have been debating his future as a Patriot tirelessly for the past two days.
Locally, reaction is mixed, although a number of area fans believe the move could be beneficial.
"I'm not a fan," wrote Paul Smachetti on one Facebook feed, "but I think ‘the Hoodie' [coach Bill Belichick] can effectively utilize Tebow to the benefit of his offense, unlike ... [Jets coach] Rex Ryan."
"If nothing else, he has a conference rival's playbook in his head," wrote Ilan Bachrach, Executive Director of Mass Live Arts. "And he's literally costing zero dollars. What's the problem here?"
"Awesome addition," replied Mo Vandersteene via Facebook. "Hard worker, great attitude and role model. Certainly Belichickian."
"I think having a backup quarterback who can step up and make plays is not a bad thing," said Paul Hunt of Pittsfield via email. "Bill Belichick is a very smart football guy. He knows what works where. Plus, he likes multi-taskers, and you can throw [Tebow] into a few spots."
Another Facebook responder, DK DiSantis, advocated a wait-and-see attitude.
"People need to give the poor kid a chance to make his mark and be on the roster before they make any snap judgments," DiSantis wrote on Facebook.
Tebow, who played his college ball at Florida, led the Gators to a pair of national college football championships. He also won the Heisman Trophy as a junior.
Drafted by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2010 draft, Tebow was a lightning rod for controversy in that city and last year as a backup for the Jets, as pundits debated endlessly about his ability to play quarterback.
He was waived by New York at the end of this past season.
"He will thrive in NE," wrote avowed Jets fan Gordon Soule. "I'm a Jets fan and not a Tebow fan. The Jets never gave him a shot."
Gary Pernat, another Facebook responder, believes that price may not be right.
"They must have money to burn," he wrote.
And there are some New England sports fans who have more immediate concerns.
"I'm puzzled by the signing of Tebow," wrote Joyce Slater of Pittsfield in an email. "I don't see the talent and don't feel the Tebow fever."
But, said Slater, "if you want to talk Boston Bruins -- I'm in. Go get that [Stanley] Cup!"
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