Tebow time makes way for Manning mania even outside U.S.
Over here in Europe, interest in NFL has grown markedly this year if Twitter trends are taken into account. Maybe the annual game in Wembley has boosted UK interest along with better live coverage on satellite TV but the players themselves deserve credit.
Undoubtedly the story of Denver Bronco’s quarterback Tebow has captured the imagination of fans around the globe. It’s not just his religious beliefs, it was his style of running and the fact he seemed to throw the ball all wrongly but still produced results.
The England Patriots, surely now the hot favourites for the title , ended his remarkable run in the divisional playoffs this weekend but Eli Manning’s nerveless performance for the Giants as Aaron Rodgers and the weak Packers defence fell apart means NFL’s new viewers may still be tuning in come next weekend’s Conference championships.
Manning looks a little unusual like Tebow. His helmet and shoulder pads seem way too big for his surprisingly small frame but his unerring passing accuracy and calmness under pressure at Lambeau Field, where teams are not meant to win, was remarkable.
The fact it’s the San Francisco 49ers aganst the Giants next week may also mean the worldwide NFL fanbase stays hooked. Along with the Cowboys and the Packers , the 49ers and the Giants are arguably the most well-known NFL teams outside the U.S. and the west/east coast fight adds to the allure.
The only shame? The game is being played in California. For European audiences that means a very late start. That will test the diehards.
Instead we’ll be watching the Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco’s astonishing moustache at the Patriots.
PHOTO: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning celebrates throwing a touchdown pass against the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter during their NFL NFC Divisional playoff football game in Green Bay, Wisconsin, January 15, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes