Sales for Tim Tebow's Denver Broncos jersey have descended from the heavenly No. 1 spot it has occupied since he was drafted back in April 2010. Poor play and a backup role have contributed to the second-year player's fall from grace. But while Tebow's No. 15 may no longer be in the Top 10 in jerseys sold, it has reached the summit a somewhat less prestigious designation: No. 1 in jerseys handed down to younger cousins.
The exponential rise of the now Kyle Orton backup — and also Brady Quinn backup and possibly Adam Weber backup — to the top in the jerseys handed down to younger cousins rankings, while incredibly rapid, is not unprecedented. After Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to victory in Super Bowl XXXVI, older cousins could hardly wait to unload their Drew Bledsoe jerseys on their younger, unknowing relatives.
"I was a fan of [Bledsoe's] for the longest time," said former younger cousin, Mark Tanner of Waterford, Conn. "All because of that one stupid jersey. I don't even like the Patriots."
Luckily, for Mark, he was smart enough to cut ties when the battered veteran's erratic play led to Tony Romo becoming an NFL starter.
"I don't want that on my conscience. I can't even imagine what those kids having Tebow forced on them are going to have to deal with when they're my age," he said. "I'd pray for them, but that's just what that Tebow wants."
According to Cathy Dowd, a Scottsdale, Ariz., mother who bought a Tebow jersey this July to give as present to her son, Connor, for his 13th birthday, it would be more likely that the two-time BCS National Champion complete a pass or convert to Islam than her son wear his jersey in public.
"He seemed open to the idea of wearing it when he thought it meant not having to go to church, but once he found that wasn't the case he lost all interest," she said.
Dowd says she plans to include the jersey with other clothes she compiled to donate to one of her nephews.
"I'll probably put it in the bag with all of the other hand-me-downs I'm dropping off for little Eric, my sister's 6 year-old," she said. "He's too young to know anything about football — and he especially doesn't know enough to realize that a running quarterback who played out of the shotgun in a spread offense in college will never succeed in the NFL. I think he'll look adorable in that shirt and Connor's old dungarees with the dinosaur on the fanny."