This should have been a week of celebration and joy for the city of Boston.
Championship hockey would soon commence. The city's beloved Bruins were set to face-off Wednesday night against the President's Trophy winning Chicago Blackhawks. It would be the first "Original 6" matchup since 1979 for the right to play for Lord Stanley's Cup.
The excitement in the city was palpable. Anxious television crews were busy filming B-roll and media scrums. Producers were screening anxious call-in listeners all day on "The Sports Hub" & WEEI. Copy editors were paging through rhyming dictionaries looking for that one great match to pair with the first name of Bruins Goaltender Tuukka Rask (I always thought "Supah Tuukah" with the Boston accent worked best).
And all of a sudden, in an American city crazed for hockey, something even crazier happened... Tim Tebow headed off to New England to sign with the Patriots.
It was as if the whole city went down on one knee, and shielded their opposite arm over their eyes to the real story.
The new lead was not that of a hometown team chasing their second Stanley Cup in three years, but that Mark Sanchez's backup who couldn't sniff a snap at the starting quarterback position with the New York Jets of all teams, was set to sign with the Pats.
Granted, this isn't the first time head coach Bill Belichick has taken to a reclamation project. Wes Welker, Randy Moss & Corey Dillon ended up working out very well. Others such as Albert Haynesworth & Chad Johnson/OchoCinco didn't go according to plan.
But Belichick has a fondness for versatility, and Tebow has the physical attributes to be a contributor on the field. So what will his role be in New England?
For starters, we can take Quarterback off the board, right? The Patriots have three-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady who's set to begin an extension for 5 years and 57 million, 33 million fully guaranteed and he currently sits atop on the depth chart. The only so-called QB controversy is likely to come from the mouth of ESPN Debate-Embracer Skip Bayless and nobody in the Patriots organization.
If that story had any legs to stand on, we could all agree that trumps hometown Stanley Cup coverage.
But many reports have suggested that Tebow will play quarterback. NFL Network Insider Ian Rappoport (@RapSheet) tweeted earlier:
How will the #Patriots use Tim Tebow? He's going to play quarterback. Has never accepted playing another position.
While Rappoport is right, this could change with no other teams having any interest in Tebow playing the quarterback position throughout this offseason after being released by the Jets.
As CBS NFL Insider Mike Freeman (@realfreemanCBS) suggests:
Tim Tebow will sign with New England, source confirms to me. Plan, I'm told, is Tebow will study a great deal at tight end.
With the injury plagued seasons for both Patriots Tight Ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, it would appear a Tebow shift from QB to TE would be a more sensible option. He's a strong, punishing runner who's listed at 6'3", 236 pounds on NFL.com. He's also considered as a hard worker and a good athlete with good football instincts and an ability to make plays.
So let's say Tebow signs with New England as a tight end, fullback, or anything that's not registered as "Quarterback." It still is a relevant story worthy of some headlines in the Boston area, even with the start of the finals approaching.
But now, Freeman has tweeted:
NFC GM to me: "Belichick signed Tebow as a favor to Tebow because he likes the guy. Tebow won't be there by end of training camp."
Assuming Freeman's information holds true, the sports media universe nearly broke twitter to react to a player that's close to signing... but may not even make the team?
That's where I get sick.
If "Bob Schmendrick" and not "Tim Tebow" is the subject of this story, nobody says a word and we continue to live our daily lives distraction-free. But because it's Tebow and the craziness attached with him, we become willing participants to the circus that he brings upon himself.
The real story in this town should be about the next few weeks and not what may or may not happen in the next several months. Zdeno Chara & Claude Julien are playing and coaching respectively for a championship. Tim Tebow and Bill Belichick may not even start the season together.
The NFL is king, but it shouldn't be right now in Boston.
In every sport, the goal is to win a championship. With only four more wins, the Bruins and their fan base can achieve the goal they set out for this season.
And for those great fans, Tim Tebow's got to feel like a real buzzkill right now.
Follow Ben Heisler on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bennyheis