Tim Tebow heads for the showers after the Broncos last game of the season. (Stephan Savoia/AP Photo)

Understanding Tim Tebow’s Popularity


There’s no bigger name out there right now than Tim Tebow. When he threw that touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a new world record was set for sports related Tweets with ‘Tebow’ getting 9,420 Tweets per second.

Why is No. 15 so popular? Gerald Schoenwolf of Yahoo Sports looks at the Tebow phenomenon with Freud colored glasses.

From a psychoanalytic perspective, I would call what is happening with Tebow—and also the tremendous appeal of Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods—as the Messiah Syndrome. People are always looking for that person who they can believe in, who they can attach their hopes and dreams on. Tebow, Ali and Woods are all renegades who bucked the establishment—as Jesus did—and seem to be marching to a different drummer.

The Messiah Syndrome perhaps explains the phenomenon that is Tim Tebow, the aura he projects, and our obsession-like devotion many fans have to him. He is one of those larger-than-life figures that resonate with our deepest unconscious dreams and wishes. In a sense, he is the one we have all been waiting for, the one we can pin our frustrated hopes on. But, in order for us to do that, he has to keep proving the authorities wrong. He speaks for the people, but he can only do so if he has a pulpit. – Gerald Schoenewolf (Yahoo Sports) 

Not only is Tebow popular, but he’s polarizing as well.

The media is set to collect eyeballs and ears, so what they do with stories is they break them down into boxes. They break everything down into good/bad, right/wrong, black/white because it’s easier to package and get it out to the masses as quickly as possible.

The thing with Tebow is his story doesn’t quite fit into a box. We’re so used to professional athletes being self-centered, money-hungry beings that Tebow doesn’t fit into the typical football player mold. He also doesn’t fit into the typical quarterback mold. It wasn’t unusual for him to rush for 50+ yards per game or pick up a first down with his legs before his arm. He can take the hard shots unlike most other NFL QBs.

You either like or dislike him, but should we really be trying to fit Tebow into a box?

People can rattle off his completion percentage and quarterback rating, they can critique his throwing motion, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the score at the end of the game. You can’t slam those six comebacks wins, you can’t slam the fact that the Broncos made it into the second round of the playoffs after going 4-12 in 2010.

Think outside the box, and keep Tebow outside the box. It’s easier to comprehend that way.

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Tags: Demaryius Thomas Denver Broncos Tim Tebow