Fans of Tim Tebow, fans of Jets weigh in on deal
For fans of Tim Tebow -- the Bible-praising NFL quarterback who has sparked debates over both prayer and pigskins -- his addition to the Jets roster Wednesday was cause to celebrate.
In Tebow they trust.
But many die-hard Jets fans said they're leery of the quarterback's untraditional style of play -- and the attention he attracts as he constantly espouses his Christian beliefs.
Love him or hate him, Tebow, who as quarterback of the Denver Broncos defeated the Jets during a matchup last November, is once again the talk of the town.
"It's going to be interesting to see if he can handle a place with a lot of temptations," said Jets fan David Goldstein, 21, of East Meadow.
Last season, after helping the Denver Broncos turn a losing season into a playoff run with several come-from-behind victories, "Tebow mania" swept the nation.
Fans and celebrities alike started dropping to one knee in an act dubbed "Tebowing" that mimicked Tebow's sideline prayer stance.
Sports pundits debated his quarterbacking skills as fans snatched up his merchandise in record numbers and a "Saturday Night Live" skit poked fun at the possibility that divine intervention factored into Tebow's success.
But whether Tebow mania will register with New York's demanding sports fans remains to be seen, said Robert Thompson, director of the Blier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University.
"Part of the Tim Tebow mystique is that he has this underdog quality," Thompson said. "But the fact remains, when you have 'mania' attached to your name, you're no longer the underdog. The expectations are going to be higher."
Tebow's built-in fan base of local University of Florida alumni living in the New York area say they're ready to root for Florida's favorite son by scooping up group seats for games and organizing Tebow tailgate parties.
"He's proven before that he can withstand a lot of pressure. New York won't be any different," said Nicole Weltman, president of the Gotham Gator Club, which represents some 8,000 UF alumni living in the tri-state area.
"To me, he's overrated," Belmont said of Tebow.