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Tebowmania vs Linsantiy

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In the world of sports, we, as fans, are always looking for the next big story, the next phenomenon, the next hero. This is true now, in the age of the internet, more than ever. It could be a cinderella team making an unexpected run, such as Virginia Commonwealth's unlikely run to the Final Four in 2011. It could be a particular player, who comes from nowhere to grab center stage, like Victor Cruz from the New York Giants. These, and other examples come along every year, in every sport. However, from time to time, a story comes along that rises above just being a great story, and becomes a media juggernaut, dominating headlines, sports talk, and social media.

During the 2011 NFL season, Tim Tebow took over as the starter of the Denver Broncos and the NFL was turned on its head. The world watched every move he made, wanting to see what he would do next. His team kept winning games, and the fervor grew. Twitter exploded with record setting mentions after his 80-yard game-winning touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs, and the legend of Tebowmania was sealed. Fast forward a few months, and in the NBA, a new sensation has taken over the airwaves. New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin has bedazzled and delighted fans everywhere by coming from seemingly nowhere to lead the Knicks offense to a string of victories. He hardly played all season, then from out of the blue, has averaged 26.5 points in his last 5 games, all wins. Like Tebow, he has become a media darling, and the hot topic on Twitter. Now, I'm pitting these two mega-stories against each other. Which is bigger? Tebowmania or Linsanity?

Longevity: This is an easy one, since Tim Tebow has been a media darling since he came onto the scene at the University of Florida, where he won two national championships and a Heisman trophy. His brilliant gameplay coupled with his sparkling personality to make him a star. He was a first round draft pick, even though his ability to be an NFL quarterback was questioned. He became the starter in 2011, and went 7-4 and made the playoffs. Jeremy Lin wasn't even offered a scholarship at a major school and attended Harvard. He wasn't even drafted after college, and signed a free agent contract with the Golden State Warriors, then was signed and released by the Houston Rockets, then finally signed with the Knicks. Advantage Tebow

Nickname: The hysteria surrounding Tebow was mostly referred to as Tebowmania, with the last few minutes of a close game called Tebow-time. The Lin hype has several monickers, with Linsanity being the most common. Linsanity is bit of a rip-off of Vince Carter's Vinsanity, but it was cool then, and equally cool now. Advantage Lin

Expectations: Tebow had a ton of detractors in the media, as well as from "experts" in the field, but he was a first round pick, and had a massive following. His success was a huge story, but in comparison to his draft stock, is what it should be. Also, even the most casual football fan knew who Tebow was before he even played in his first NFL game. Unless you were a huge NBA fan, or an Ivy League fan, you might not have even known who Jeremy Lin was until last week. The fact that he's playing at such a high level, in such a major market is as pleasant a surprise as you're likely to see. Advantage Lin

The Twitter Effect: Both players have been a Twitter sensation, winding up as a trending topic more than once. The social media network is abuzz with news and up to the second information about whichever one is playing. Lin has certainly been huge news online since his incredible run began, but Tebow was huge news for several weeks and set Twitter records. Advantage Tebow

So, what have we learned? We've learned that people love a good story. People want something and somebody to root for, and both Tebow and Lin have fit that bill in the past year. Both players are stars, not just because of their athletic ability, but because they are good people doing things the right way. In the final analysis, maybe because the NFL is so huge, I'd give the slight edge and victory to Tebowmania. I'm not a Tebow fan, but there's no denying the impact he's had on this season and the league. It should be noted, though, that we might have to revisit this topic if Lin leads the Knicks to a championship, which might change my mind. Regardless, fans can sit back and enjoy watching both of these guys, and continue to blow up Twitter talking about either one...that is, until the next big story comes along.

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  1. Pruitt's Avatar
    What we've learned is that people love a good story even when it is rammed down their throats by the media that created it.

    I saw Lin take over the game against the Raptors - he may flare out as an NBA player, but it was a great performance.

    However, if he's playing in Milwaukee, New Orleans, Toronto, Sacremento etc., this story stays small. I am now officially old enough to have seen just about everything in sports at least a couple of times. What seems to have changed is the level of hype for everything... even a rookie guard who's had 6 good games in his career.
  2. darvon's Avatar
    There is a BIG difference between Tebowmania and Linsanity, the haters. Other than Cornbread and that boxer, everyone is rooting for Lin.

    It was about 50/50 with Tebow, with MOST of the Media on the negative for the last 2 years (not that they DIDN'T hype it, they just like to talk often and negative).

    Tebow's wins please the Tebowlovers as they watch the Media back pedal.

    Tebow's wins ALSO let the Tebowhaters say "see, he can't play QB look at those passes in the dirt".

    Linsanity doesn't have warring camps.

    Linsanity IS interesting in that it is now highlighting a small fact. Athletes are a lot more religious than the Media covering them. Two different social strata.
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