Sunday afternoon I grabbed a pen, and notebook, and the remote. I was set on doing a little experiment during the Denver Broncos home game against the Detroit Lions.
For what I was about to do, I figured this would be the perfect matchup. On one hand we have a young up and coming team that has turned into media darlings, the Detroit Lions. On the other hand we have Tim Tebow. This wasn't like Tebow was matching up against Matt Moore, he was going up against Matthew Stafford, someone on the surface I imagined would share the storyline in equal fashion.
I was wrong.
The experiment I mentioned involved tallying every time the game broadcasters Dick Stockton and John Lynch mentioned Tim Tebow by name. For comparison and via advice from some on twitter I also noted how many named references were made for Matthew Stafford, and Calvin Johnson (Megatron included).
Unofficially (it's surprisingly hard during a 45-10 blowout), Tim Tebow was mentioned by name, 140 times during the broadcast by either Stockton or Lynch. Granted Stafford came out of the game with about eight minutes to play, but he was only mentioned by name 67 times, while Johnson was mentioned 34 times. Combined, Tebow was mentioned 39 more times than both Stafford and Johnson.
My experiment was strictly an observation, but as I keyed more on listening to the announcers than watching the actual game I noticed the tone of the Fox crew was more often than not an apologetic stance for Tebow. Nothing much was said about Stafford's 21-of-30 day for 267 yards and three touchdowns. More often the tone of the day was talking about how the Broncos are still trying to figure out if Tebow was the future of the organization, not taking much stock into his start, which included just 37 yards passing in the first half.
The theory is simple, if you are an athlete that is struggling, the announcers will generally turn their attention away from you. However, this is different. Seemingly Tebow is still mentioned much more nationally than Cam Newton, and unjustly so. Though Newton's Carolina Panthers are just 2-6, Newton has 2,103 yards passing and 266 yards rushing through a half season. Peyton Manning had 3,730 yards passing as a rookie, a mark that Newton is on pace to break. Manning currently holds the NFL record for a rookie.
Tebow and Newton each won a Heisman Trophy, they each won a National Championship. Yet Newton's superb rookie season thus far takes the backseat to Tebow who has a 48.1 pass completion percentage so far in 14 NFL games (five starts). Newton has nearly twice as many passing yards in arguably similar playing time.
It's no secret that much of the sports media has an agenda these days, and the statistics of Tebow versus Newton, along with Tebow having over twice as many name mentions on a national broadcast at Matthew Stafford continues to prove the point. Things will likely continue as is, but let's see Tebow do something at the NFL level before we continue to give him more discussion time than players who have already proved themselves at the professional level.