Boom Goes the Twitter: Manning-to-Denver News Takes Over Monday Morning

Here’s the tweet that started it all: ESPN’s Adam Schefter hit the innerwebs at 8:52 a.m. PT today with a missive that simply said, “From @mortreport and me: Peyton Manning will become the next quarterback of the Denver Broncos, barring unexpected snag in contract talks.”

And then Twitter hell broke loose. Not only was there instant reaction to the apparently successful recruitment by NFL Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway in bringing Manning to the Mile High City, but you also had the attendant fallout question of “what now for Tim Tebow,” the one-man twitterstorm who set the league’s social media airwaves aflame last fall when he unexpectedly found success with his unorthodox playing methods.

From @mortreport and me: Peyton Manning will become the next quarterback of the Denver Broncos, barring unexpected snag in contract talks.

As an old comrade of Schefter’s (our paths crossed briefly when I was a sportswriter in Boulder and he was starting his career with the Rocky Mountain News) it’s great to see him toeing the line on “not breaking news on Twitter” — if you’ve noticed lately a lot of his posts start with the wording “Filed to ESPN” at the start. Not the Manning one, though. Better to get the scoop first and worry about the internal politics later, we’re guessing. But see the WWL-correctedness in the follow up tweet:

Either way… a scoop’s a scoop, and this is definitely the biggest one of the NFL offseason. Now we are betting that Jim Harbaugh is on the line to Alex Smith, offering to carry his golf bag at the AT&T pro-am next year. Just guessing.

Greater than Tebow Commentary Emerges as Sports Social Media Phenomenon, Rocks ESPN Website

Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow, sparks sports social media "Greater than Tebow" firestorm











Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow is the subject of a massive ESPN social media onslaught, as fans pound the comment string of an obscure blog post with “greater than Tebow” commentary about the quarterback.

Also known as  > Tebow, here is exactly what is going on:

Lefthanded, slow in his release, terrible in his footwork and sporting a 46.1 completion percentage as a starter, Tebow is also a devout man of God who says and does all the right things in the locker room and the community. Based on the ESPN blog post, he also polarizes sports fans like no one else. On October 31, ESPN member QuanB8 posted a greater than sign comment on an ESPN blog post by Bill Williamson titled “Time for Elway to think post-Tebow.”

QuanB8’s comment said:

My dead grandmothers > Tebow

Quan8’s comment ignited> Tebow with sports fans commenting at a rate of at least five per minute at 9 am EST on Nov. 4. ESPN stopped counting at 5000.

Recent Greater than Tebow comments on ESPN

Here are eight > Tebow that appeared within a two-minute time span on ESPN:

  1. Bruce Jenner’s masculinity > Tebow
  2. drug abuse > Tebow
  3. Having bieber fever > Tebow
  4. webinars > Tebow
  5. Godfather 3 > Tebow
  6. Chaz Bono’s beard > Tebow
  7. Reenacting “Weekend at Bernie’s” with Al Davis > Tebow
  8. Realizing I am not going to get any work done because of > Tebow > Tebow

Five Most Popular Greater than Tebow comments on ESPN

As of Nov.  4, here are the five most popular greater than Tebow comments:

  1. Knock knock?…. Who’s there?…… Doesn’t matter, it’s > Tebow (86 likes)
  2. making eye contact with a 40 year old man while he’s eating a banana > tebow (50 likes)
  3. Deadspin linking here > Tebow (43 likes)
  4. Getting Scurvy on Oregon trail > Tebow (41 likes)
  5. filming notre dame football practice from a hydraulic scissor lift > tebow (40 likes)

Sports Grid breaks news

On SportsGrid, sportswriter Dan Fogarty was one of the first sportswriters to identify the Greater than Tebow phenomenon.

Here are six of Fogarty’s favorite Greater than Tebow comments:

  1. Eating your kids > Tebow
  2. “Murder she wrote” > Tebow
  3. Legally marrying a McRib sandwich > Tebow
  4. what what in the butt > tebow
  5. Leonard Nimoy’s scrotum > Tebow
  6. Aging as quickly as Greg Oden > Tebow

The ESPN Tebow comment string underscores that sports fans are rabid about the controversial issues of sport, and when you strike a chord, they show up with a passion unrivaled in most other vertical markets. “Greater than Tebow” also illustrates that sports fans will stay captured within the domain of a website that generates the “triggering” sports content. After all, in its first four days, sports fans did not migrate to Twitter with their disparaging “greater than Tebow” comments about the QB. “Time for Elway to think post-Tebow.” takes you to the article and the most-up-to-date comments.

The commentary about the quarterback is expected to continue through the weekend, when the Broncos face their Oakland Raiders division rivals at Oakland on Nov. 6. Based in the Bay Area, blue-collar Raiders fans are as wired as any and caustic. Whether CBS Sports‘ Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, who will be covering the game, choose to bring up the  > Tebow phenomenon or bowdlerize it from broadcast remains to be seen.


The Greater than Tebow phenomenon on ESPN is the second major sports social media groundswell to occur around the controversial Broncos QB. There’s also a practice called “Tebowing,” where fans strike a famous pose of the quarterback in various locations. According to AMOG, a website designed by Denver native Jared Kleinstein that allows people to upload their “Tebowing” pictures gets about 400,000 hits daily. Kleinstein is monetizing the website by selling T-shirts. Courtesy of Jared Kleinstein’s website, here are examples of Tebowing:

The Tebowing Master Shot
















Tebowing at a wedding










Dog Tebowing: No. 1 Tebowing shot on