Tim Tebow wins.
Resistance is futile. We've reached critical mass with Tebowmania. It's a 24-7 Bizarro World universe in which an unemployed quarterback can rise up and become the most influential athlete in America. Tebow is No. 1 on the Forbes magazine list, leading the pack of elite athletes who include Michael Phelps and LeBron James.
The Tebow Phenomenon looms large. The spectrum runs from the Christian Right to the Lingerie Football League, which offered him a job as the league's quarterbacks coach.
Sure, it was a cheesy publicity ploy, but a smart one. Tebow is a 24-7 "news" cycle all by himself. It doesn't matter if the news is irrelevant or absurd, all you have to do is mention "Tim Tebow' and wait for the Internet to blow up.
There are "Tebow for President" bumper stickers, a radio commercial pitch by prominent attorney John Morgan urging Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan to sign Tebow, and a petition on a White House website asking President Obama to force the Jaguars to sign Tebow.
The White House removed the petition because it violated the site's terms of service policy. But Tebowmania persists.
What to make of Tebow's popularity?
The obsessive Gator Nation plays into this, obviously, But don't underestimate the power of the Christian Right, particularly among the core group of white evangelicals. They are loud and proud, and Tebow is their guy.
A Barna poll published in February -- focusing on athletes and their public discussion of faith -- established Tebow is the most well-known Christian professional athlete in this country, with 83 percent awareness from the public. Kurt Warner, now retired from the NFL, was second at 59 percent. Redskins QB Robert Griffin III -- who won a Heisman Trophy and played at Baylor, a Baptist university -- only scored 34 percent.
Colin Kaepernick, another Christian quarterback who led the San Francisco 49ers to the 2013 Super Bowl, wasn't included in the poll, although he has been very open about his faith. A tattoo on his throwing shoulder quotes Psalms 18:39: "You arm me with strength for battle."
Griffin is black, Kaepernick is half-black, and both trump Tebow's success and potential in the NFL, yet Tebow wins. Again.
I'm not trying to start a Holy War here, but the popularity of Tebow is more of a religious referendum than an athletic one. To his supporters, Tebow is a Christian soldier who is getting squeezed out of the NFL for unjustifiable reasons.
Not really. Did you know that of the last 15 Heisman winning quarterbacks since 1989, only four have established themselves as legit starters in the NFL? What separates Tebow from Gino Torretta, Chris Weinke, Troy Smith and all the others?
His outspoken faith.
The power of Tebow resonates far beyond the football field, the one place where Tebow cannot simply rely on his faith to rise above the circumstances. It would be cool to see him play somewhere this season, but the NFL requires more than marketing value on a player's resume.
The NFL employs all sorts of saints and sinners, which is why many of Tebow's supporters can't wrap themselves around the fact that dog-killer Michael Vick is still in uniform, while Tebow is not.
But the NFL isn't judging Tebow on his faith and character. His accuracy is weak. His 47.9 career completion percentage is abysmal. And once again, to be clear, his success with the Denver Broncos was established with a great defense and kicker, and yes, Tebow's moxie. But it is not a sustainable business model. And Tebow seems resistant to a position change, further diminishing his potential value.
There are 32 general managers in the league who don't consider him to be a viable starter at quarterback, and the thought of bringing him in as a backup carries too much baggage.
You not only sign Tebow, you sign everybody else with strong Christian values screaming that Tebow deserves to play.
Those folks embrace the Bible as their moral compass. But the NFL puts its faith in each team's playbook.
Unfortunately for Tebow, there is no scripture in all those X's and O's, nor room for a righteous guy with flawed fundamentals.