Allow me to preface this by saying that the NFL has become the juggernaut of North American sports for many reasons, but one of the leading catalysts is that as a television product, it’s by far the easiest to consume, track, follow, and debate throughout a short season. It caters to the public’s short attention span by presenting that product primarily on Sundays in a nice compact package, releasing fans from the burden of having to follow a sport on a nightly basis.
That can’t be said about the 82-game seasons of the NHL and NBA, and certainly not baseball’s 162-game season. The importance of each NFL game is magnified, an intensity that grows stronger as the season reaches its conclusion. And again, one of the most alluring aspects is that the end comes much sooner, with the quarter pole of the NFL season already reached by early October.
Alright, with that elongated disclaimer out of the way, here’s this: Tim Tebow is single-handedly conquering sports. CNBC’s Darren Rovell relayed the overnight ratings for yesterday’s Tebow-Brady, Broncos-Patriots bonanza on CBS, and the game pulled in a 19.5.
Now, you’ll look at that number, and you’ll look at the headline above and shrug your shoulders, thinking that Tebow commanding the nation’s attention certainly isn’t breaking news. It isn’t, but if you do that you’re still failing to grasp the enormity of that rating, and Tebow’s pull.
Earlier this fall Major League Baseball saw its World Series go to a Game 7, a series that featured superstar and soon-to-be ex-Cardinal Albert Pujols, and the Texas Rangers trying to win their first ever championship. That game had a 14.7 rating. Even the mighty Red Sox back in 2004 couldn’t beat a regular season Tebow game while they were ending their curse, with that World Series averaging 18.2.
The NBA had similar hype and fanfare for their most recent final between Dallas and Miami, and the Heat are a star-studded team with the same polarizing and magnetizing effect as Tebow. Despite that name value, the series-clinching game still fell short of Tebow with a 15.0, and it was the most watched Game 6 in an NBA Finals series in 11 years.
Last June Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final drew a 5.7, which was the second best overnight rating for a Stanley Cup Final game in 36 years, finishing behind only the 5.8 posted by Game 6 in the series between the Blackhawks and Flyers in 2010.
The lesson here is that if you ever grow tired of Tebowmania, and want to see a little less of Tebow, and a little more of anyone else, save your breath and your anguish. The Tebow cash cow is far too fat, and Tebowmania is much, much bigger than you.