Tim Tebow will never cease to be fascinating, and since he’s fascinating he’s always a story. Since he’s always a story he’ll always be annoying, and since he’s always annoying there will always be haters. He is Football Bieber, after all.
With Tebow it’s always been cyclical, and until the day the haters are vindicated and he drops out of the league, it always will be. It was easy to justify a love for Tebow during his gator-chomping days in Florida. Winning two national championships and the Heisman will have that effect. But giving logical reason for unwavering love or hate is a little more difficult now for anyone living outside of Denver or Florida.
Reasonable minds know that forming an opinion on Tebow still requires reaching at this point since he’s started just four NFL games, and especially after the latest start featured a tale of two Tebows, with one asked to attempt just eight passes prior to the fourth quarter, and the other emerging in the final five minutes to lead two touchdown drives. But the polarization–or at least the perception of a polarization–remains, and we’re slowly reaching a point where that rigid and often baseless division in opinion is more intriguing than Tebow himself.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell investigated the divide, and found that perhaps the venom and vitriol directed towards Tebow isn’t as strong as it seems.
Rovell turned to a recent poll by the Davie Brown Index, which measures a celebrity’s ability to influence a consumer. The results put Tebow’s likability in the company of two elite golfers, and two other popular quarterbacks.
He’s in the top 400 (No. 399) of the more than 2,900 celebrities the Davie Brown Index’s database and is on par with Dwight Howard, Phil Mickelson and Jack Nicklaus. Its data also shows that he has a higher appeal, trendsetting qualities and trust than Tony Romo and Tom Brady.
Then Rovell took a Twitter poll with 200 people responding, and those results minimized the venom too:
Of those that voted, 24.4 percent said they loved Tebow, 25.4 percent said they liked him, 34.3 percent said they don’t think about him and 15.9 percent expressed that they hated him.
People will always hate greatness. That’s why the Duke and North Carolina men’s basketball teams are despised and loved equally each March, and why Sidney Crosby, arguably the best player in the NHL, attracts his own legion of irrational hatred. The vocal minority is the same group that still watches and follows Tebow to satisfy their innermost cynic.
What’s maddening about Tebow’s Sunday performance is that it did nothing to knock either group from its cyber high-horse. We can easily find absurdly over-dramatic praise for Tebow’s rise from the ashes of Denver’s quarterback depth chart…
Maybe the Broncos don’t need Luck. They have Tebow.
“He’s got those intangibles that we see every time he plays,” Elway said.
But, c’mon. There seemed to be absolutely nothing that could extricate Denver from this mess.
The ancient poets called it deus ex machina.
The Broncos call it the miracle of Tebow.
And other far less celebratory assessments…
In short, Tebow looked like a college, spread-offense quarterback that was out of his element. Despite the great comeback, it won’t be lost on his critics that he had two weeks to prepare for a winless opponent that was operating on a short work week.
Eventually some sense of clarity will emerge from the divide Tebow has created. Until then the polarization–or, again, the perception of a polarization–will continue to be both high comedy, and good for business.
Reeves widedeman of the New Yorker–yes, the New Yorker–says that Tebow is the new Brett Favre in the sense that he’s “a recognizable and polarizing figure that some can love and others can hate for, in Tebow’s case, being so loved.”
And so the cycle continues. In the end, it all comes back to business for a league that has no problem drawing eyeballs to television sets. If you’re hating, you’re still watching.