Tebowmania will die under Belichick's thumb

George Diaz talks about how Tim Tebow will affect the New England Patriots.

Tebowmania is dead.

Let's recheck that. It is on life support, taking its last few breaths, while also sucking the air out of those incessant ESPN updates.

Tim Tebow is now a member of the New England Patriots, an organization in which control freak coach Bill Belichick rules like no other coach in professional sports.

There is one voice, and it is his. There are no echoes of discontent, nobody going off-script, nobody who dares try to rise beyond the team concept. You'll notice that players won't be wearing numbers on their jerseys during minicamp this week.

Belichick's news conference Tuesday addressing the signing of Tebow was classic. He used a bunch of words but said nothing. No insight involving Tebow's role on the team, whether it's to play backup QB or another position. Nothing.

At one point, when he grew tired of the media peasants asking him questions about Tebow, he replied: "I've already talked enough about him. I think I've covered that. Anything else?"

Bazinga. Belichick is too crafty and controlling to allow the Tebowmania circus to pitch its tent in New England, just as it did in Denver and New York.

The clowns who believe that Tebow — because he is a Winner! — can beat out Tom Brady for the starting job will be silenced. So will people like me, the meddling media, with their annoying questions and speculation.

Tebow fit right in, making a quick statement after practice but refusing to take questions from about 50 media types.

But the questions will linger. Nobody knows what will happen with Tebow in New England. He signed a two-year contract without any guaranteed money. He will have to give up his beloved No. 15 jersey because Ryan Mallett already has that number. Instead, he will wear No. 5, his high-school number. He will be listed as the third-string quarterback on a team that didn't carry a third QB last season.

Tebow could be cut in the preseason for all I know, or he will flourish in some sort of gimmicky package concocted by Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Tebow's comfort level should be solid, since the Pats run the same offense as the Broncos did when McDaniels and Tebow were in Denver.

But let's not fool ourselves: Brady isn't going to rush to the sidelines when the Pats get inside the 10-yard line or in any short yardage situations. Brady has converted on 49 straight 3rd-and-1 or 4th-and-1 rushes. The last time he was stopped was in Week 4 of 2005.

My guess is that Tebow makes some noise in New England. McDaniels believes in him. He was the guy who felt so strongly about Tebow that he drafted him in the first round in 2010, marking the start of the Tebow's NFL frenzy.

That's over now. Look at Belichick's record with polarizing players. Corey Dillon, Randy Moss and Chad Ochocinco were all reined in by Belichick's under-my-thumb rules of engagement.

Tebow is high-maintenance for entirely different reasons. He brings an unprecedented element — all those devoted fans — to New England, but they will be silenced, too. Ask Belichick if he gives a hoot. If Belichick cared about public perception, he would have upgraded his clothes from Goodwill's Homeless Collection.

But there remains great hope for the Tebow disciples. Belichick would love to stick it to everybody else in the NFL who dismissed Tebow as damaged goods. It would add another notch to his legacy of "Evil Genius" if Tebow makes an impact in New England.

Look for Tebow to be part of several packages, an H-Back deal, maybe some work at tight end, and a special-teams slot.

I also suspect his signing has something to do with the health issues involving tight ends for the Pats. Two-time NFL All-Pro Rob Gronkowski may be out indefinitely following his recent forearm surgeries. He is expected to have back surgery as well.

Aaron Hernandez is still recovering from shoulder surgery.

Tebow has been nicked up quite a bit as well. It's all about his reputation and ability to survive in the NFL now. New England will bring the rise of Tebow 2.0.

And the death of Tebowmania.

Read George Diaz's blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/enfuego or e-mail him at gdiaz@tribune.com

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