Tebow-Mania Not Quite Over Yet: He Could Return This Sunday

Broncos May Have Gotten Trounced, but He's Still Winning the Media

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow's awful 9-for-26 performance in a 45-10 loss to the New England Patriots on Saturday pretty much shut the door on Tebow-Mania for the season. Sort of . Maybe. For the moment.

Coming off the previous week's miracle finish against the Pittsburgh Steelers that perpetuated the legend of Tebow, Mr. Tebow was just about everywhere. His main endorsement deal, Jockey International Inc., increased the visibility of its $1 million Super Challenge, a sweepstakes that guaranteed $1 million in underwear spread among 40 winners if Mr. Tebow's Broncos won the Super Bowl. With that over, Jockey's home page at Jockey.com is now offering a $10 off coupon on purchases of $50 or more.

Focus on the Family, the group for whom Mr. Tebow made a Super Bowl commercial in 2010, took advantage of Tebow-Mania to turn around another spot that aired during Saturday 's game. The religious Mr. Tebow, who bows in prayer and inspired the craze "Tebowing," has worn 'John 3:16' on his eye-black during games, a reference to the Bible passage from John, Chapter 3, Verse 16. The new Focus on the Family spot showed children reciting the verse. Mr. Tebow did not appear in the 30-second spot, but Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger told The Denver Post, "We will hear about shoving religion down people's throats. But if it's OK to shove Doritos down people's throats, and cars and everything else, we have the right to advertise, too."

According to Joyce Julius & Associates, an Ann Arbor-Mich.-based firm that specializes in measuring the scope of sponsorships across all forms of media, Mr. Tebow was mentioned more than twice as often as New England quarterback Tom Brady in the six days preceding their playoff game on Saturday . Mr. Tebow was mentioned by name during 9,854 television programs, 1,079 print articles and 14,150 news stories appearing online. Mr. Brady was referenced on 2,711 television programs, 517 print articles and 5,248 internet articles.

But Mr. Brady had a phenomenal game, throwing for six touchdown passes, and throughout CBS's telecast on Saturday his name was mentioned 87 times by the announcers, while Mr. Tebow was referenced 68 times.

Even with New England racing to a 35-7 halftime lead that all but decided the game, viewers still stayed to see if Mr. Tebow could pull out yet another miraculous victory. It wasn't quite the ratings bonanza CBS had hoped for -- the Broncos' overtime win over the Steelers the week before produced 42 million viewers and was the highest-rated wild-card playoff game in 24 years -- but the 29 million viewers for Broncos-Patriots according to Nielsen Co. overnights made it the highest-rated AFC divisional playoff game in 18 years.

So now it's over, right? Right? Not quite.

CBS hopes to capitalize on the polarizing Mr. Tebow by having him on the network's studio show for Sunday's AFC Championship Game between New England and Baltimore, meaning his season would be resurrected for one more week (uh, sorry).

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CORRECTION: The headline for this post originally said Tebow was returning on Sunday. In fact, CBS has asked him, but has not received an answer.