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The Tim Tebow Media Mania
Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 10:01am
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Tim Tebow has gone from football star to full-fledged sensation in the two months since he was named starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos. The second-year pro has led his team to six straight wins heading into Sunday afternoon’s much-hyped matchup against the New England Patriots. Tebow’s come-from-behind victories – and his polarizing public displays of religion – have catapulted him into the media spotlight.

The 24-year-old has become a constant topic of debate – and a ratings draw – on ESPN. He’s landed the cover of the inaugural issue of the NFL’s official magazine. And “Tebowing” – “to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different” – has become a pop-culture trend, spurred along by a Tumblr blog dedicated to people striking the pose.

The Tebow phenomenon has even extended into the political realm. In Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate in Iowa, Texas Gov. Rick Perry compared himself to the Broncos’ sudden superstar. "There are people that stood up and said, 'Well, he doesn’t have the right throwing mechanisms, or he doesn’t -- you know, he's not playing the game right,'” Perry said. “You know, he won two national championships, and that looked pretty good. We’re the national champions in job creation back in Texas. But am I ready for the next level? Let me tell you – I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses."

Here, a by the numbers look at the Tebow tumult:

25th
Overall draft pick with which the Broncos picked Tebow in the 2010 NFL Draft

$11.25 million
Estimated value of the five-year contract Tebow signed last year after being drafted by the Broncos, according to the Denver Post

$33 million
Maximum value of Tebow’s five-year contract, including incentive payments based on factors such as playing time, playoff appearances and league honors, according to the Denver Post

$1,618,750
Tebow’s reported base salary for 2011

1-4
Denver Broncos record before Tim Tebow was named the starting quarterback

7-1
Denver Broncos record since then

3,220
Results for a Factiva search for news articles about Tim Tebow over the last two months

237
Results for a Factiva search for news articles about Tim Tebow over the prior two months.

487
Results for a Factiva search for news articles about Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback of the undefeated Green Bay Packers, over the last two months

13 percent
Increase in Broncos local television ratings from earlier this season, according to the Los Angeles Times

14
Ranking of Tebow’s autobiography Through My Eyes, published by Harper Collins, on Amazon.com’s best-seller list

67
Days the book has been in Amazon’s top 100

2
Major television networks that fought over the right to air Sunday’s matchup between Tebow’s Broncos and Tom Brady’s New England Patriots. As part of its flexible scheduling arrangement with the NFL, NBC had hoped to carry the game on Sunday night. The league let CBS keep the game on Sunday afternoon as originally planned

$1 million
Total amount in prizes that underwear company Jockey is offering in a sweepstakes promotion if Tebow’s team wins the Super Bowl. The grand prize is $15,000, with other winners getting a $25 gift card – if the Broncos win it all. Jockey had signed Tebow to an endorsement deal even before the quarterback signed his NFL contract. (Tebow, when asked the inevitable question, said he prefers briefs over boxers)

161 percent
Increase in sales of Tebow merchandise at online sports retailer Fanatics between November 1 and December 15, according to CNBC’s Darren Rovell

$2,500
Sale price of a pair of Tebow’s game-used uniform pants sold on eBay

Executive Editor Yuval Rosenberg oversees coverage of business, the economy, technology and Wall Street. A former web editor at WNYC, Fortune and Newsweek, he also writes on a wide range of subjects.