Tim Tebow jersey sales prove his popularity is written in ink — and $$$$$$

He hasn’t even played ina game — preseason or regular season — with the Eagles, but Tim Tebow’s jersey was the 16th biggest seller in the NFL last month. (Matt Rourke / AP)
By Dave GeorgeThe Palm Beach Post (TNS)
Tebow-mania filling cash registers in NFL
 

Well, the numbers on NFL jersey sales for June are out. Some of you will be outraged to hear that Tim Tebow’s new Philadelphia Eagles jersey is the 16th-best seller league-wide.

Others will merely roll your eyes. Still more will start punching in credit card numbers to ensure that Tebow climbs into the Top Ten before training camp begins next month.

It’s a matter of taste, a measure of where people are willing to spend their money. Nothing deeper than that, and certainly not enough to guarantee Tebow a spot on Chip Kelly’s regular-season roster.

Still, this will bother some players, or at least their managers.

Take Ndamukong Suh. He’s a bonafide NFL star and the highest-paid defensive player in league history. On top of that, Suh is playing for a new team, the Miami Dolphins, which naturally gets a whole new fan base excited about snapping up his jersey.

Yet there is Tebow, one spot higher than Suh on NFLShop.com’s list of June jersey sales. Need we remind you that the former Heisman Trophy winner from Florida hasn’t played in the league since 2012, and even then not very much?

No, that’s sort of burned into the whole national narrative about the guy, the one that makes some people love Tebow and others mock him, and a fairly hefty slice wish he would just leave football alone.

If talking this through logically made any difference, we could agree that “Furious 7” wasn’t a cinematic masterpiece, regardless of what it grossed worldwide. And don’t even get me started on reality TV.

Some people, some things, just have more fans than others. Can’t blame it all on promotion, or controversy, or the decline of the modern age. Can’t blame it all on anything but human nature.

So are we OK with Tebow topping the jersey sales of Eagles starter Sam Bradford, not to mention Miami’s Ryan Tannehill and three-quarters of the other starting quarterbacks in the league?

No? Fine, let’s see if we can approach this thing from a different angle, dredging up the bar-stool debate material wherever it may be found.

How in the name of Bronko Nagurski, for instance, was Odell Beckham, Jr., the best-selling jersey on the NFLShop.com site last month?

Beckham has played one season of pro ball with the New York Giants. Sure, he made the most astonishing one-handed grab that we’ll ever see, and that’s even if photoshopping is allowed, but that doesn’t make him Jerry Rice.

Oh, and how about Jameis Winston, the Tampa Bay rookie, coming in at No. 8 in jersey sales, four spots ahead of Peyton Manning? The kid hasn’t even taken a snap in a preseason game.

Wait a minute. Now you’re telling me that Marcus Mariota’s jersey is the No. 3 seller, one spot ahead of Tom Brady, and that the former Oregon star sold more jerseys than anybody in the league back in May? Lord have mercy. He shouldn’t be ahead of Tommy, the three-time Super Bowl MVP. He shouldn’t be ahead of Jameis, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

“It’s surreal for me, it’s such an honor,” Mariota said in response to the cash-box proof of his instant magnetism.

I’ll tell you what’s surreal. Check NFL jersey sales from this same time last summer.

Johnny Manziel was No. 1. Michael Sam was No. 6. Blake Bortles was No. 18.

If there’s anything special about Tebow in all this, it’s that his popularity is written in permanent ink. All he needs is a team willing to grant him locker space for a time, and a jersey to wear.

The rest is retail history, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, who always thought they were better off without him, would have been wise to learn it long ago.

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2 Responses to “Tim Tebow jersey sales prove his popularity is written in ink — and $$$$$$”

  1. brandi says:

    Where you stand depends on where you sit.

    “a fairly hefty slice wish he would just leave football alone.” That’s the line. That’s the line more people believe than think. Yeah you heard me say that right. More people believe lots of people want Tim Tebow gone from Football than there are people who want Tim Tebow gone from Football. And by alot.

    Y’all have seen the FanDuel Poll. Less than 2% of those who Play Head-to-Head Fantasy Football for money…the target NFL audience…say Tim should just be done.

    Oh there are people who don’t want Tim in Football. People who never watch Football. I’ve done some pretty extensive polling on this myself, as well as digging into just about every poll, study, survey you name it. The people who want Tim Tebow out of Football the least are the people who watch Football the most. The people who never watch Football of any kind, let alone the NFL, tend to poll higher Anti-Tebow. I’ve told Y’all before, the groups that went after me first and hardest for writing nice things about Tim Tebow were activist political groups who just automatically assumed if I like Tim Tebow I must be a “TebowStan” bent on creating a country where prayer is required before every meal under the penalty of a year’s sentence at Liberty University. And the only news channel allowed would be FOXNews.

    The deeper you dig into who actually dislikes Tim and wants him gone from Football the more you find that among Football and NFL Fans, his popularity and the numbers of people who are convinced that he either is a really good Quarterback or, at a minimum, hasn’t been given a fair chance to show he is, are staggering. Puppies kind of staggering.

    The problem is the people closest to the microphones and major columns either are among those who think that way or are constantly hammered by those who do.

    I’ve been trying to say this for years and each year it shows more and more…the numbers of the “TebowWhackjobs” and die-hard “Tebow Haters” are both very small. They’re just small very annoying groups. Most people fall in between and heavily favored in their leaning toward wanting some more TebowTime.

  2. andrea says:

    Well said, Brandi.

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