A unique set of QB strengths and weaknesses and an affinity for wearing his Christian faith on his sleeve combine to make Tebow a compelling public figure, even as an NFL backup. Whether or not he’s able to remain deeply ingrained in the public consciousness without eventually getting more time on the field remains to be seen. But for now, Tebow, he of 2.2 million Twitter followers, is still the man people talk about.
“For a backup quarterback to be talked about so much is incredible,” says Stephen Master, senior vice president of Sports for Nielsen, which conducted the surveys over the past several months in partnership with E-Poll, a market research firm in Encino, Calif. “But it is the biggest market.”
Tebow, judged to be “influential” by 29% of respondents, certainly felt the wrath of the New York market, where fans and press harped on his acquisition as an ill-fated experiment that helped lead the Jets downhill. That Tebow would be blamed for the Jets slide to a 6-10 record last year is puzzling — he didn’t lose any of those games because, really, he didn’t even play. But Sanchez’ uneven performance naturally led to speculation of whether the backup should get a chance to start, a development that would naturally ignite the Tebow debate yet again.