ESPN has hired Tim Tebow as an analyst on the fledgling SEC Network, the broadcast giant announced on Monday.
The network and SEC Nation, a traveling program that will broadcast from SEC campuses each week during the season, will launch in August 2014. Tebow will join host Joe Tessitore and fellow analyst Paul Finebaum on SEC Nation as his primary duty.
Tebow will also enjoy a variety of different roles within ESPN, the network said in a statement.
Through a multi-year agreement, Tebow’s primary role will be as an analyst for SEC Nation, the network’s traveling pregame show that will originate from a different SEC campus each week beginning August 28, 2014. In the months leading up to launch and after, he will contribute to a variety of ESPN platforms including SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, and the network’s Heisman Trophy coverage, offering in-depth perspective as a legendary Southeastern Conference player.
Tebow will make his first appearance as an ESPN analyst during the network's pregame coverage for the BCS championship game on Jan. 6.
In a statement, Tebow said he is thankful for the opportunity provided by ESPN.
“I am so excited that ESPN has given me this incredible opportunity,” said Tebow. “When I was six years old I fell in love with the game of football, and while I continue to pursue my dream of playing quarterback in the NFL, this is an amazing opportunity to be part of the unparalleled passion of college football and the SEC.”
The ESPN release says Tebow's duties with the network "will not preclude him from continuing to pursue playing opportunities in the NFL."
The first player to win the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, Tebow was a three-time first-team All-SEC selection as a quarterback at Florida. He was a member of two BCS title-winning Florida teams, in 2007 and '09, and he was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year in '08. After college, Tebow went to the NFL, where he played for the Broncos, Jets and Patriots. New England realeased him in August. Tebow has been a natural in front of the camera during his playing career, but fielding questions as a player is a different skill than entertaining and informing as a television analyst. The question is whether Tebow's humble demeanor can translate to live television, where analysts are often expected to be critical of players and coaches. If he isn't willing to go out on a limb and speak honestly about decisions when warranted, he isn't likely to gain the respect of those who seek serious analysis from pregame shows.