A mathematical formula is only useful if it confirms what the observer knows to be empirically true, like two plus two is four. Applying that logic to something more complex, if I told you that I had a system that could quantify and rank the biggest movie stars of all time, you would be immediately skeptical if my calculations insisted the top 3 were Emilio Estevez, Burt Reynolds, and George Raft. All three actors were stars, of course, but clearly, my movie-star algorithm has a few kinks.
So when Forbes magazine announced that Tim Tebow is the Most Influential Athlete in America, I immediately questioned the whole premise. After all, even though Tebow achieved folk-hero status as quarterback of the Florida Gators and the Denver Broncos, he was recently cut by the the New York Jets after a humiliating season sitting on the bench of a losing team. No other NFL team has picked him up since. Is it really conceivable that an athlete who can’t even persuade an NFL team to give him a chance is sport’s most influential figure?
Yet there he is, ranked in front of the future Hall of Famer (and Saturday Night Live all-star) who displaced him in Denver, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, and LeBron James. What gives? Where are the athletes who I actually see on TV commercials, like Phil Mickelson, the Williams sisters, or Danica Patrick? Did the cool kids decide that “Influential” really meant “Overhyped” without telling me?
Click below for the Forbes Top 10 list, full of NFL QBs and Olympic stars basking in the glow of London. READ FULL STORY »