Tebow, who was released by the Patriots in August, is finally beginning to realize his NFL career is over. Despite a glut of bad backup quarterbacks in the NFL, Tebow’s phone was not ringing this season, and he’s ready to tackle television, sources say. ESPN, CBS and Fox have all expressed interest in the magnetic Tebow, and one network – ESPN – already has a show set in place for him, a source says. It is anticipated that the Tebow jockeying will intensify in January, after his agent, Jimmy Sexton, is done riding the college football coaching carousel this month.
ESPN’s SEC Network, which debuts on August 21, 2014, is planning its own version of ‘College Gameday’ and has settled on three names: Rece Davis (an Alabama grad) would be the host, the voice of the South Paul Finebaum would play the role of Lee Corso, and Tebow would be the show’s Kirk Herbstreit. A source says ESPN is currently searching for another former SEC athlete to fill the final spot.
[UPDATE: The SEC Network just announced the show – it will be called SEC Nation – and said that Joe Tessitore will be the host.]
One potential bonus of Tebow? An industry source said the SEC Network is running into pickup problems from cable providers the same way Fox Sports 1 did before its launch in August. There’s a thought that having Tebow – one of the most popular athletes in the country – as the face of the network might alleviate some of those issues.
But ESPN will face heavy competition from CBS Sports, which airs the best SEC games each week. This season, ratings have been absurd. How much does CBS want Tebow? I’m told CBS Sports is willing to blow up its pregame show and make major changes if it lands Tebow.
Fox figures to be in the mix as well, with a potentially intriguing NFL/college football role for Tebow. Sure, he makes the most sense talking college football, but while I don’t have much interest in what former NFL players have to say – not Ray Lewis or Boomer Esiason and certainly not Rodney Harrison – sure, I’d listen to Tebow. If FS1 is looking for a spark – Tim Tebow certainly qualifies as one.