Tim Tebow already has surpassed one of the records Mark Sanchez set as a rookie quarterback with the New York Jets last season.
A first-round pick of the Denver Broncos, Tebow sold more jerseys during the National Football League’s draft weekend than any other rookie or current player.
While the league doesn’t disclose sales totals, the former University of Florida quarterback logged the most jersey orders since 2006, the first year NFLShop.com joined with GSI Commerce Inc. to expand its online store. Tebow’s sales totals eclipsed the previous draft-weekend record of Sanchez, who in 2009 was the first quarterback taken by the Jets with a top-five pick since Joe Namath.
“It’s a pretty substantial difference between him and the next guy,” NFL spokeswoman Joanna Hunter said of Tebow’s jersey sales.
A distant second to Tebow in sales from April 22-25 was defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions.
Quarterback Sam Bradford, who was the No. 1 overall pick of the St. Louis Rams, was third in rookie jersey sales, followed by Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Tebow was the second quarterback taken, going 25th to the Broncos after winning two national championships at Florida as well as the 2008 Heisman Trophy as college football’s best player. Teams passed on him until late in the first round because of needs at other positions or questions about his arm strength and unorthodox throwing motion.
Tebow on Doubters
Tebow said those who doubt he’ll be able to make the transition from college to the NFL add “fuel to the fire.”
“I love it when someone tells me that I can’t, because it just pushes me that much more to accomplish that goal,” Tebow told reporters. “I am excited about this challenge of playing in the NFL and trying to be an NFL quarterback.”
Sanchez led the Jets to the American Football Conference championship game as a rookie and finished 13th for the season in sales of his No. 6 jersey.
Tebow selected No. 15, the same number he wore at Florida. That number became available when receiver Brandon Marshall was traded by Denver two weeks ago. While NFL playing time has yet to be determined, Tebow already has his believers, having topped Sanchez as well as the initial jersey sales of popular 2006 rookies Reggie Bush and Vince Young.
“Tebow trumped all of them,” Hunter said in a telephone interview. “So he’s off to a strong start.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at email@example.com