Jets Once Again Walking the PR Tightrope

Kristian already has the count at 15 satellite trucks outside the building.  Oh also Spike Lee is apparently in Florham Park today as well, as I’m sure hundreds of other people .. all to see a backup QB answering questions about getting traded for draft picks that won’t even matter until the recently created third day of the NFL Draft.

The Jets have to be acutely aware of just how thin a line their treatment of Tim Tebow will be, and with that in mind, the Jets are trying to balance the need of doing a press conference for a backup quarterback with the demand for the event.

Tebow: Unplugged.

Sensitive to the fact that Tebow is a backup quarterback and not a starter, the Jets don’t want to go overboard Monday with pomp and circumstance. They want to keep it as simple as possible. Barring a last-minute change of plans, he won’t even take the traditional holding-up-his-new-jersey photo.

Tebow won’t pose for photos with Rex Ryan because Ryan won’t be there. The coach is attending the NFL meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., along with owner Woody Johnson and GM Mike Tannenbaum. So, too, is the Jets’ senior director of media relations, Bruce Speight.

It will be just Tebow, a podium and a few hundred media types in the team’s cavernous field house.

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They’ve never used the field house for a news conference. It will take place near one end zone, with Tebow standing on the 20-yard line.

This was one of the first things my wife asked me about when she heard the news.  Will he get his own press conferences?  How are they going to treat his presence with the team on a daily basis?  My thought was that he was a backup, and so they’ll have to treat him like every other backup would have been treated.  But then I started thinking … what if that itself becomes a distraction?  Even so, what will the other players think of the situation?

I was trying to think of another organization that had a similar situation and how they handled it, and was basically stumped.  Just as a reference, here’s what the Patriots did with Albert Haynesworth last year – a simple after practice media availability period.

From the start, I’ve said that from an Xs and Os perspective I really like what the Jets did.  From an environment / “everything else” perspective, it seems like it’s impossible to imagine that this can end well.  The Jets are going to have to come up with a very thorough plan for how they treat and allow access to Tebow over the coming years.  It’s a very unique and delicate situation in a city not exactly known for treating celebrities and controversial situations with kid gloves.