It is his gift, and some say it is also his burden he carries as he continues to aspire to legitimacy as a pro football player. NFL free agent quarterback Tim Tebow was named the most influential athlete in all of professional sports.
This is according to a survey conducted by Forbes magazine, who administered both the Nielsen and the E-Poll to calculate which athlete has the highest level of influence in the United States. Tebow beat out Michael Phelps for the top spot with Tebow garnering 29 percent to the Olympic swimmer’s 25. Flamboyant track & field megastar Usain Bolt was voted No. 3 with 23 percent, while New York Yankees living legend Derek Jeter was fourth with 22 percent clip. Peyton Manning, the sure-to-be first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback who replaced Tebow with the Denver Broncos, rounded out the Top 5 with a 21 percent vote.
Despite the Heisman trophy winner’s enormous popularity among NFL and sports fans alike, the two-time national collegiate football champion Tebow has been lampooned around the NFL for his horrid quarterback mechanics that include an unorthodox throwing motion, slow release and inaccuracy. That’s why, despite winning a playoff game in his first year as a starter in Denver, he was quickly sent out of town in favor for Manning. He never played the traditional quarterback position for the New York Jets at all in 2012, angering his fans intensely.
It is said often that teams have trepidation about picking up Tebow as a quarterback because of the intense media spotlight and circus that would commence immediately after he arrives on field. Nevetheless, he remains a popular, albeit polarizing cultural figure.
Here are Twitter reactions to Tim Tebow being named the most influential athlete.