Poll: Tim Tebow is U.S.' favorite

Updated: January 11, 2012, 3:50 PM ET
ESPN.com

How big is Tebow-mania? According to the ESPN Sports Poll, Tim Tebow is now America's favorite active pro athlete.

The poll, calculated monthly, had the Denver Broncos quarterback ranked atop the list for the month of December. In the 18 years of the ESPN Sports Poll only 11 different athletes -- a list that includes Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and LeBron James -- have been No. 1 in the monthly polling.

In December's poll, Tebow was picked by 3 percent of those surveyed as their favorite active pro athlete. That put him ahead of Kobe Bryant (2 percent), Aaron Rodgers (1.9 percent), Peyton Manning (1.8 percent) and Tom Brady (1.5 percent) in the top-five of the results.

The poll results were gathered from 1,502 interviews from a nationally representative sample of Americans ages 12 and older.

Tebow

"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," Rich Luker, founder and director of the ESPN Sports Poll, said. "I think we may be at the front end of a new era in sports stars."

Tebow is just the sixth different athlete to finish No. 1 in the monthly rankings since 2007. The others are Brett Favre, Manning, Woods, Bryant and James.

"This is an exciting finding and one that reflects the sentiment of all sports fans, not just the online or social media world," Artie Bulgrin, senior vice president for Research and Analytics, ESPN Sales and Marketing, said.