(Photo: Reuters/Doug Benz)
Tim Tebow, the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback, is America’s favorite athlete.
In a recent ESPN poll conducted monthly, Tebow was voted as the nation’s favorite for the month of December. According to the ESPN network, only 11 different professional athletes have made it to the top of the list since it originated 18 years ago.
Rich Luker, the creator of the survey, explained the significance of Tebow being voted number one on the monthly listing.
"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," Luker said in an ESPN report.
"I think we may be at the front end of a new era in sports stars," he added.
The results of the poll were compiled from information taken from 1,502 interviews with Americans 12 years old and above. Americans chose Tebow as their favorite, giving him three percent of their votes; Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant came in at No. 2, with two percent; and Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers was voted as the third favorite with 1.9 percent of the votes.
In the past, top honors have been given to Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and LeBron James. However, a multitude of football fans and industry personnel have given Tebow credit for his skills on the field recently, which could be seen as a reflection of the poll results.
After Tebow threw a game-winning pass in an overtime win against Pittsburgh on Sunday, former Steelers’ coach Bill Cowher spoke about his respect for the Broncos’ quarterback.
“Tim does have a tremendous work ethic, and what I like about him it's that he's worked on his skills on a daily basis, and he's gotten better. You can see that,” Cowher said in a Denver Post report.
“He's still got work to do as a quarterback, but he [has] all of those other qualities. He's got unique leadership skills and his energy and enthusiasm are very contagious,” the coach explained.
Tebow fans took to Twitter recently to support the Christian quarterback for his presence both on and off the field.
“Water to wine? Tim Tebow did something more unlikely," one person tweeted. "He turned corny into cool."
Other NFL players have also made Tebow the topic of conversation.
Vince Wilfork, defensive tackle for the New England Patriot team that the Broncos will face on Saturday, said Tebow is one of his toughest opponents yet.
“I’ve seen some big guys over the years, but he’s probably one of the biggest and one of the toughest and probably one of the strongest that I’ve faced,” Wilfork said in a Boston Globe report.