Tebow Says Belichick Convinced Him To Turn Down $1M Endorsement, Then Cut Him From The Team
If true, this may be the most scandalous thing a coach has ever done.
Back in 2013 when Tim Tebow was attempting an NFL comeback, he signed a two-year deal with the New England Patriots in an effort to save his struggling pro career. Tebow was under the impression that he would be taking over for QB Tom Brady when he eventually retired, but the coach had other ideas.
Tebow completed just 36.7 percent of his passes and was underwhelming in the preseason, so he was promptly cut from the team. Before that, Tebow had an $1 million endorsement offer for a single-day commercial shoot, but respected Belichick enough to ask him about it first.
Belichick convinced him not to do it, then cut him anyway. In his book, Shaken, Tebow detailed what it was like to get cut by the Patriots:
I remembered when I had signed with the team in June. Then I’d had an offer on the table to make a one-day appearance endorsing a product for a million-dollar paycheck. I’m sure you’d agree that a million bucks is a lot to make in just twenty-four hours. But I wasn’t quick to say yes.
So when the offer for the one-day commercial turned up, I was sure to discuss the opportunity with him. “I want to know what you think, Coach,” I said. “I respect you and I want to fit in. I want to be one of the guys. Should I do it?”
He thought for a moment and then shook his head. “Timmy, I would really appreciate it if you didn’t.”
Highly respecting the man, I turned down the deal. I didn’t even think twice about it. I wanted the chance to impress Coach Belichick more than I wanted the money. I’ll say that if I were on any other team, I would have probably said yes to the offer. But the thoughts he offered in our initial conversation mattered to me — even more than a million dollars.
Back to the conference room.
“It’s not the right fit,” Coach Belichick said.
My stomach reeled in that moment. I felt disappointed. I felt I had let myself down. I didn’t believe I performed as well in practice or the preseason as I could have, but I was getting better. I had been stoked about the opportunity to learn and train under Tom Brady, one of the best quarterbacks of all time, and planned on using that experience to become one of the best quarterbacks of all time too. At the beginning of training camp, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be like Tom and train like Tom and do like Tom, but then I realized it wasn’t about being Tom Brady; it was about being me and doing my best. Yet, despite improving my performance during the preseason, my effort wasn’t enough.
Frankly, it hurt. I had hoped Coaches Belichick and McDaniels would give me the benefit of the doubt. They were some of my biggest supporters. If they didn’t believe in me, who would?
During an interview with Fox & Friends, Tebow detailed why he asked Belichick about the endorsement in the first place:
“I didn’t want to be a distraction on the team. I wanted to be just another guy in the locker room, someone that could work, someone that could be a backup to Tom, and I didn’t want to be a distraction, having stuff all over the headlines, so that’s why I called coach Belichick to say, ‘Hey, what do you think about this? This is a great opportunity that I would say yes to, but I want to do what’s right for the team first.’
“He appreciated me calling, but said, ‘Hey, I would prefer if you didn’t do it,’ so of course I didn’t, because it would put the team first. And that’s not something that I look back and regret at all. It was me trying to honor the team, and if I could do it again, I would’ve done the same thing.”