USA Today has a piece chronicling Tebow's college career, and it's worth a read, but the excerpt below is on Tebow's Q number which measures an athletes popularity. Most professional athletes average out at 14. Tebow is at 21.
Tebow's presence has grown significantly since then. A Google search of his name delivers more than 600,000 entries. You can choose from nearly 2,500 Tebow-related links on YouTube. He has graced more Sports Illustrated covers — six in the last 16 months, sharing a seventh with two other players — than any other college athlete.
With advertisers showing increasing interest, the company that computes popularity-measuring Q scores took stock of Tebow last spring. He was recognized by 49% of sports fans ages 12-64, equaling their familiarity with the Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce, the Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria and Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson. Baseball's Chase Utley and Johan Santana, among others, scored a tick lower.
Tebow's Q score of 21, the percentage who identified him as one of their favorite athletes, ranked with that of NFL mastermind Bill Parcells and NBA stars Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul and Steve Nash. And it was well above the average score of 14 for sports personalities.
"It's a pretty good likability score for someone being measured for the first time," says Henry Schafer, executive vice president of New York-based The Q Scores Co., which has compiled the ratings since 1963.
Last Saturday, after Tebow took the field against FSU and continued his tradition of inscribing a Bible verse on the glare-reducing black patches beneath his eyes, his chosen "Hebrews 12:1-2" was Google's third-most popular search term. When he cited "John 3:16" during the national championship game against Oklahoma last January, it was the day's No. 1-searched-for term.
He resonates nationally in a sport in which public interest tends to be regional. And his appeal transcends football.