While many still question Tim Tebow’s overall ability to play quarterback in the National Football League (I don’t), one thing is certain: He can handle a blitz. Whether from an outside linebacker or the media, Mr. Tebow takes the pressure in stride, providing a PR opportunity for the ages.
Why is the media so enamored with this former Gator? Whether you love his play or hate it, Tebow is the opposite of everything that is wrong with professional sports. He is a feel good story amid a bounty of scandal, player run-ins with the law, and contract negotiations adding zeros onto already obscene paychecks. His charitable efforts are as widely known as his on-the-field exploits where he defies odds and has become a master of the dramatic comeback. It is rare to find an athlete who is seemingly uncorrupted by the world of professional sports, and we are all waiting on pins and needles to see if/when he cracks.
With the help of his blockers, the 6’ 3”, 245 lb., 24-year-old significantly increases the reach and value of sports advertising and placed stories sandwiching his exploits. As a result, the media is doing everything they can to create a QB controversy in the Big Apple in an effort to keep Tebow in the news. Even the changing of his dog’s name from Bronco to Bronx made headlines. The more Tebow is on the tube, the more profitable he becomes. Point proven, in 2011, his jersey sales were only bested by league MVP, Aaron Rodgers. Not bad for a guy who just became a “backup”.
The week of his trade from the AFC West champion Denver Broncos to the New York Jets, ESPN saw huge ratings and viewership increases from the same dates of a year ago. According to ESPN Media Zone, the three days of NFL Live shows (4 p.m. ET) averaged 666,000 households and 721,000 viewers, based on a 0.7 rating, increases of 73 percent (vs. 384,000 in 2011), 63 percent (441,000) and 75 percent (0.4 rating). All editions of SportsCenter averaged 559,000 households and 600,000 viewers based on a 0.6 rating, increases of 21 percent (461,000 in 2011), 15 percent (522,000) and 20 percent (0.5 rating). ESPN2 saw sizeable gains as well with First Take up 68 percent (421,000 vs. 250,000) among households and up 58 percent among viewers (447,000 vs. 283,000).
With all of those extra viewers watching, SportsCenter mentioned the name Tim Tebow 130 times and devoted 20.5 minutes of airtime over the course of that week. The week he beat the Steelers in overtime, his name was said 154 times, more often than the words “did”, “been”, “then” and “your”. This made the young QB’s nomenclature the 38th most used word on the show (Deadspin’s Bristolmetrics).
With these numbers in mind, placing a story at “Tebow Time” is the same as the man himself: Clutch. Now that Timmy Big Time is in the Big Apple, I’m making a list of Tebow tied-in pitches (probably will have something to do with mustaches too) so I can hitch a ride on the bandwagon all the way to Superawesomeplacementville. Tebow is a winner. He won in spite of his team last year. Sanchez’s team has been to two AFC Championship games in spite of him. It is only a matter of time before the Jets succumb to the pressure and the Mile-High Messiah starts taking first team reps in the world’s #1 media market. I plan on being ready when he does.