Commentary | Tebowmania rages on, especially with Tim Tebow in Patriots gear

adell@bradenton.comJune 16, 2013 

Tebowmania is thriving in the most unlikeliest place on planet Earth.

You might even say Foxboro, Mass., is where the real Man of Steel resides, given Tim Tebow's ability to survive the reign of terror Rex Ryan and friends fired on Florida's favorite son.

When football players arrive in Foxboro to play for Bill Belichick, it's like entering the witness protection program.

You lose your identity, and your ego is put into a peanut cruncher to be spread wherever Belichick decides.

Chad Ochocinco disappeared when he donned a New England Patriots uniform, and Randy Moss became a near non-descript item on the Pats roster. Self-proclaimed soldier Kellen Winslow Jr. lasted all of nine days last year with the Patriots.

But Tebow, listed as the Pats' third string quarterback on a good day, is thriving.

The New England Patriots Pro Shop looks like Tim Tebow's campaign headquarters.

What's next? Could Sarah Palin be calling on how to better sell her image, asking for a miracle even Tebow couldn't pull off.

They are selling T-shirts that say Tebow should be

Boston's next mayor. But why put limitations on this young man?

As unpopular as Florida's governor is these days, Tebow could probably become the Sunshine State's chief executive, and it wouldn't matter what party he chose.

Tebowmania refuses to die. Just when it looks as if the fire is about to burn out, all that is needed is a little spark to get the flames burning again.

Fewer than 48 hours after Tebow signed with the Pats, Panini America Inc., licensed manufacturer of pro sports cards, announced a new Tebow card decked out in the Patriots colors would be on the market before the NFL season kicks off.

Card collectors see this as purchasing the key to Fort Knox, and the waiting list of buyers has started to bulge.

Though Belichick hasn't decided if Tebow will get a uniform, the Pats marketing department is already selling Tebow shirts along with Tebow decals.

So now we know what Pats owner Bob Kraft meant when he said you can't pass up a chance to get a good person like Tebow.

To his passionate followers, Tebow means good person.

To Kraft, it means good for the wallet.

To Belichick, he probably means a good old-fashioned headache, but the cranky coach will just have to adjust.

The only thing missing is a Tebow sandwich, but that could be coming.

We could call it the wobbler!

It's not often that a regular trading card of a fourth-year player creates so much hysteria, but Tebow is an American institution.

Football fans would rather have a card of Tebow than more than half of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL.

"Whenever you have a player with the level of popularity Tim has and that player moves to a new team it reinvigorates the collectability of that player," said Jason Howarth, Panina America's vice president of marketing. "Fans of that player -- and football fans in general -- want to acquire the first trading cards of that player in his new uniform. Panini is excited to continue to deliver to Tim Tebow fans the very best football trading cards out there."

You can even find a Tebow Lego going for $29.95 on EBay and a shirt that reads Tebow for Mayor (of Boston).

Tebow gear is not cheap. An authentic autographed helmet signed by the lefty quarterback is selling for $900 on Sports, while a Tebow throwback Denver Broncos helmet goes for $937.49.

There might be some hesitation about putting New England Patriots Tebow memorabilia on the market not knowing if Belichick will cut Tebow. But that is a good example of a marketing genius. Everyone wants a trading card of Tebow's last team regardless of whether he ever throws a pass for that franchise.

Those naysayers out of the New York Jets camp who announced Tebowmania's premature death might want to buy one of his jerseys to wipe the egg of their faces.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2112. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.

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