He was one of the most popular college football players of all time. Now, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has scaled the popularity mountain for pro athletes.
Or maybe it’s a mole hill.
In an ESPN survey of 1,502 Americans age 12 or older, three percent identified Tebow as their favorite professional athlete. Tebow finished in front of Kobe Bryant (2 percent), Aaron Rodgers (1.9 percent), Peyton Manning (1.8 percent), and Tom Brady (1.5 percent).
So let’s put this in perspective. ESPN polled 1,502 people. Of those, three percent — i.e., 45 people — said Tim Tebow is their favorite pro athlete. And because 45 people in America picked Tim Tebow, Tim Tebow is suddenly now the most popular pro athlete in America?
Then there’s the fact that ESPN apparently did no narrowing of the options, allowing the folks polled to mention anyone that came to mind. In theory, there’s a chance that the folks responding to the poll answered the question with “none”.
There’s also a chance that 45 or more people answered the question that way.
And so, absent some sort of a runoff vote based on the top five or the top 10 or the top 20 finishers, the truth is that 97 percent of the persons polled, and thus “97 percent of America” have not embraced Tebow as their favorite pro athlete.
Of course, that would provide ESPN with a far less compelling headline. One that definitely wouldn’t have landed on the front page of the Drudge Report.