The Jaguars. They pretty much threw away their future.
I'm not sure Jacksonville's loss will be Denver's gain, but Los Angeles will surely benefit. The Jaguars blew their last great chance to keep the Mayflower vans away.
Their hometown savior is about to ascend to the Mile High City. Approximately 5,280 feet lower, the Jaguars threw an outdoor draft party next to the Atlantic Ocean.
A few thousand people showed up. When the No. 10 pick was announced, all you could hear was the surf.
"Who?" one fan yelled.
Tyson Alualu, that's who.
Nothing against Alualu, who may well turn out to be the finest Hawaiian-born defensive tackle in Jacksonville history. The lack of sacks isn't Jacksonville's biggest worry. It's the lack of fans.
The Jaguars are all but giving away season tickets, and almost nobody's buying. Tebow would have been the silver bullet, instantly killing rumors that Wayne Weaver wants to sell. And he wouldn't have even had to throw a pass.
The great debate over Tebow's throwing motion will now consume Denver for the next few months. It'll sure be more fun than arguing whether Brandon Marshall should be traded, arrested or deported for acute lack of character.
I think Denver will be thrilled to get Tebow, but what do I know? What does anybody know?
Put 100 NFL gurus in a room and you'll get 100 different opinions, ranging from Tebow's the next Steve Young to he's the next Steve Martin. We'll know in a couple of years. In the meantime Tebow will:
Spend 18 hours a day studying tape, working out or getting Josh McDaniels coffee. Spend his free time baking cookies for orphans. Be nominated to run for governor of Colorado.
Once they meet him, even the members of the Denver chapter of N.O.W. will be cheering for Mr. Abstinence. The difference is the Broncos didn't need the Tebow Experience to keep fans interested.
Jacksonville did. Actually, Jacksonville needs about two million more residents, 30 more Fortune 500 companies and Bill Belichick if it wants to sell enough tickets to keep the L.A. vultures away.
Since it won't get any of those, Weaver should have ordered his coaching staff to take Tebow. Drafting him wouldn't have been a football decision. As Jerry Jones slurred, "Heee'd ne-vur git on the field."
Jack Del Rio was apparently drinking the same stuff. He needs to win now, and Tebow needs time. So the Jaguars used the 10th pick on a player from Cal whom many projected would be available 20 spots lower. The big moment was shown on a huge TV screen set up at the Sea Walk Pavilion.
"Alualu is tough, quick and has heavy hands," the NFL Network announcer said.
Jacksonville fans were the ones with the heavy hearts. Tebow was huge in Jacksonville before he became a national cult hero. Every fan didn't want Timmy to ride back into town on his white horse, but all of them would have been caught up in the story.
The buzz would have had people lining up to buy season tickets Friday morning. So what if Tebow would only have held a clipboard for the foreseeable future?
He's not only the most popular player in Florida history. He might be the most popular person in Florida history. Just having him on the sideline, giving speeches and curing cancer would have been enough.
The Jaguars were lucky to get 40,000 to their games last year. Tebow would have gotten that many to show up to watch him perform another circumcision. Has Alualu ever even held a scalpel?
"Wayne Weaver wants to move the team," one fan moaned.
I asked his name and all he said was "Mickey Mouse." At last his buddy was still sober enough to give me his real name.
It was Micah Dyal. He was wearing a specially-made No. 15 Jaguars jersey. And I swear on Tebow's Bible, the name Dyal put on the back was "MOVE."
"As in the Jaguars are going to have to move since they didn't take Tebow?" I asked.
"That's right," Dyal said.
It won't happen anytime soon. But it will happen before Tebow takes the oath of office as Colorado's governor.
"Let's get out of here," Mickey Mouse said.
As he and a couple thousand cohorts shuffled into the night, the emcee took the stage.
"All right," he said, "let's hear it for Alualu!"
Through the surf, you could hear a couple of people clapping. They probably work for Mayflower.