NFL: Tim Tebow Is Now the Most Polarizing Figure in All of Sports

Ross BentleySenior Analyst IJanuary 8, 2012

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after running the ball in the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

When Tim Tebow threw his game-winning 80-yard touchdown pass to Demariyus Thomas tonight to give the Denver Broncos a wildcard victory over the Steelers, it was utter pandemonium.

In what was one of the most compelling playoff games in recent memory. Tebow's pass to win it in overtime absolutely blew up (and continues to blow up) the Internet and social media.

Facebook, Twitter, and comment sections on sites like Bleacher Report, ESPN, etc. absolutely exploded with reaction to the Tebow game-winning pass.

Why? Because like it or not, Tebow has been able to capture the attention of the country in a way that no other athlete has been able to do in a long, long time.

Sure, Tiger Woods, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and even Brett Favre have had their moments where they have struck controversy along with being phenomenal athletes, but in my opinion, Tebow now trumps them all. 

The reason Tebow is so electric is unexplainable. Tebow was a national-championship-winning quarterback in college and was famous for not only his off the field play but his tremendous leadership skills and his well-publicized Christianity, but no one could have anticipated what his NFL run would be like. 

Ever since he was drafted in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Tebow had been marred with criticisms that he lacked the passing skills to be a successful NFL quarterback.

This season, when he became the starter, Tebow's lightning rod struck again, as he had equal amounts of critics and supporters among the mainstream national sports media.

Then Tebow managed win seven of his first eight starts, many in late dramatic fashion, which even furthered increased the publicity surrounding the Broncos quarterback.

This led to his infamous "Tebowing" trend that hit the Internet as well as even more attention including a famous Saturday Night Live sketch that mocked Tebow's faith and his supposed lackluster NFL skills. 

That leads us all to today. Tebow's shining moment as a professional football player.

After Denver backed into the playoffs at 8-8, few gave them a realistic chance against the defending AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC Wild Card playoff game. 

But Tebow responded with his best game as a professional, throwing for 316 yards, two touchdowns and running for a third. 

Does this mean Tebow is an elite quarterback? Absolutely not. 

But this was no ordinary NFL playoff game, this was the most polarizing figure in sports, achieving his first true success as a professional and furthering the Tim Tebow legend.

Tebow could very well lay an egg next week with the Patriots. Or, he could win the Superbowl—who knows. 

But winning the game today and performing like he did elevates Tebow now officially to a celebrity, not just an athlete. You know ESPN will spend 70-80 percent of their coverage this week on Tebow—and it's for good reason. 

Because people can't stop talking about him.

Some will say he got lucky and still is a mediocre QB—at best. Others will say they are believers and that Tebow can lead his team to even more playoff success.

One thing is for sure, Tebow is not going anywhere anytime soon. For whatever the reason is, Tim Tebow is the new face of American sports. 

Don't believe me? Check your twitter account.