We still have three days until the Broncos and Patriots square off so we need to fill the time with something, right? Let's start with this - The ESPN Sports Poll ranks America's favorite current pro athlete. Apparently they have been doing it for 18 years. The athlete at the top of the poll for December? You guessed it.
According to the poll, Tebow was recognized by 3% of those polled as their favorite pro athlete. He beat out Kobe Bryant (2 percent), Aaron Rodgers (1.9 percent), Peyton Manning (1.8 percent) and Tom Brady (1.5 percent) in the Top 5.
The significance of all this? The speed. According to ESPN, Tebow's ascension to the top of the Sports Poll is the quickest in the 18 years the poll has been run.
"To put this in perspective, Tim Tebow rose to the top before the end of his second pro season. It took Tiger Woods three years, LeBron James eight years and Kobe Bryant 11 years," said Rich Luker, founder and director of the ESPN Sports Poll. "I think we may be at the front end of a new era in sports stars."
They also speak about First Take - you know, the daily show that feature's Tebow's biggest fan Skip Bayless?
Further illustration of the "Tebow Effect" comes from ESPN’s First Take, where Monday’s episode achieved the highest rating in the program’s history (since 2006). In fact, the .59 rating joins four other First Take shows from this NFL season as the program’s top-rated in history — all coming after Tebow’s first 2011 start as Denver Broncos quarterback on Oct. 23.
While we all know Tebow is popular, I'd imagine the poll's real importance to ESPN is to tell them who YOU want to read, see and hear about on their networks. In other words, Tim Tebow moves the dial and we'll get more and more of him in the days, weeks and months ahead.
"This is an exciting finding and one that reflects the sentiment of all sports fans, not just the online or social media world," said Artie Burglin, Senior VP for Research and Analytics, ESPN Sales and Marketing.
Never seen First Take? Here is an example: