A week before the 2010 NFL Draft, a handful of marketing experts said drafting Tim Tebow would only marginally boost ticket sales for the Jaguars. They estimated the former Nease High and University of Florida quarterback would bump season tickets sales by about 3,000.
“If Tebow were a John Elway it’d be different, but he’s not regarded that way,” Bob Leffler, head of the Leffler agency, the largest sports entertainment advertising agency in America, told The Florida Times-Union at the time.
Tebow led the Broncos to a stirring comeback victory Sunday, but he’s not going to be John Elway. Clearly, it would have been a reach for the Jaguars to take him with the No. 10 overall pick (they chose DT Tyson Alualu).
But whether Tebow turns out to a good, great or a bust in the NFL, it’s clear that marketing people underestimated his intangibles and popularity. He’s made just four starts, yet Tebow is already achieving near-iconic status in Denver (people bought billboards pleading with the Broncos to play him), and he was the focal point of the NFL on Sunday.
If Tebow were playing for his hometown Jaguars, is it unreasonable to think he would have sold 10,000 or more season tickets, even if he was holding a clipboard as a backup QB? Probably not.
That’s not to say the Jaguars whiffed on Tebow. The general consensus is that Blaine Gabbert, who the Jaguars selected with their first-round pick this year, will be a better quarterback than Tebow. Gabbert’s mechanics are better, his arm is stronger. Still, given Tebow’s ascendance to the starting job, and the national following he has, it’s hard to resist asking, “What if?”
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