‘Linsanity’ or ‘Tebowmania’?

“All he does is Lin.”

“You just got Tebowed.”

“Jeremy Lin is Linning.”

“Look! He’s Tebowing!”

Both Jeremy Lin (leading ‘Linsanity’) and Tim Tebow (the man at the center of ‘Tebowtime’) are now revered, polarized and are idols to so many worldwide.

Lin, the undrafted free-agent out of Harvard, has been dropped, demoted and doubted throughout his entire career as a basketball player. Now starring on the Knicks, he has a led them to a 7-1 record since he started playing, and is averaging 24.6 points per game and 8.6 assists per game. He also led a

Jeremy Lin exploded against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, scoring 38 points in a 92-85 win.

struggling Knicks team to a 5-0 record without stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudamire. While there was worry about what would happen to Linsanity when Anthony and Stoudamire came back, there seems to be nothing to worry about (at least with Stoudamire). Since his return from the tragic death of his brother, the Knicks are 2-1, and Lin is averaging 21 points per game and 9.6 assists per game.What will happen when Anthony returns is a mystery to me. Let’s not forget the Lin puns either. Linsanity, Linning, Linvincible, Linderella, Linception and ‘To Linfinity and beyond’ are just a few, but regardless of which name you want to use, there’s no doubt that the man at the center of it all is thriving (and Linning).

Tim Tebow, the star quarterback out of Florida also had to wait for his turn. When the Broncos were 1-4, and declared Tim Tebow their starter, a mania, a time, and a legend were born. When the Broncos were down 15-0 to the Dolphins late in the fourth quarter, Tebow led them back to victory. When they were down 10-0 to the Bears late in the fourth quarter, Tebow led them back, again. ‘Tebowmania’ was now in full stride. In all, Tim Tebow led the Broncos to an 8-5 record, including a 29-23 overtime playoff victory against the Steelers in which Tebow connected with Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard touchdown to knock-off the almighty Steelers. This magical run included a six-game winning streak, in which Tebow displayed his heart, will and perseverance to a country that was captivated by the magic of ‘Tebowmania.’

“Tebow displayed his heart, will and perseverance to a country that was captivated by the magic of ‘Tebowmania.”

Linsanity and Tebowmania have their similarities and their vast differences. Let’s start with the similarities:

The winning

In the words of former Jets and Chiefs coach Herm Edwards, “You play to win the game, that’s the great thing about sports.” Both Lin and Tebow have fulfilled this grand goal of sports so far. Lin led an 8-15 Knicks team on a seven-game winning streak to put them back into the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. This method of winning with Lin has been deemed ‘Linning.’ (Winning+Lin= Linning)

To say the least, Tim Tebow has done his part in this, too. He led a last-place 1-4 Broncos team to the Divisional Round of the AFC Playoffs. It’s not just the wins that count with Tebow, it’s the way he won. Four of his eight wins came in overtime games and all eight wins came in games that were one-

Tim Tebow's breakout moment had to be this game-winning 20-yard touchdown to knock out the Jets.

possesion games with four minutes or less to go. Even with his harsh critics, Tebow kept winning, which is, after all, the great thing about sports.

Winning+Lin= Linning”

Clutch as can be

In two of the eight games that Lin has made a clutch play in the waning seconds to seal the deal. With four seconds left in Minnesota, Lin drew a foul and made a clutch free-throw to give the Knicks the lead, and the win. Three days later, in Toronto, Lin hit a clutch three with 0.5 seconds on the clock to give the Knicks a 90-87 lead. The poise he showed in the last few seconds of these games was reflective of one Kobe Bryant – or maybe even Tim Tebow.

With Tebow, the fourth-quarter dominance is uncontested by anyone. As I said before, all eight of his wins were a one-possesion game with four minutes or less to go. He threw more touchdowns in the fourth quarter than he did in the other three quarters combined. He also threw for more yards in the fourth quarter than the other three combined. While his apparent waiting to thrive caused criticism, he always seemed to do the same thing in the fourth quarter- lead the Broncos on some miraculous drive for a touchdown–and then do it again. Broncos win. This earned the nickname, ‘Tebowtime.”


Those are some of the similarities between Lin and Tebow. Now here are the differences:

The statistics

In addition to winning, Jeremy Lin has stuffed the stat sheets. Averaging 24.6 points per game and 8.6 assists per game is just the start. His 136 points through his first five starts surpassed Shaq for the most points ever through a player’s first five starts. According to Michael Chernick of Livescience.com, the odds of Jeremy Lin putting together the stats he’s shown every night – eight times in a row- is close to 1 in

In Taiwan, the talk is all about Jeremy Lin.

7,000,000,000,000. Yeah, Jeremy Lin knows how to ball.

“The odds of Jeremy Lin putting together the stats he’s shown every night – eight times in a row- is close to 1 in 7,000,000,000,000.”

Tim Tebow’s strong suit certainly isn’t putting up monster statistics. He finished the season with a putrid 46.5% completion percentage–the worst in the NFL. Tebow averaged a mere 124 yards per game–also the worst in the NFL. Don’t forget about the fumbles either, Tebow fumbled the ball a grand total of 13 times, which is a stat that eventually cost his team in the end. Even though he had a habit of turning it on in the fourth quarter, his stats were still well below-par.

The media reaction

It is almost bizarre that it seems like everyone loves Jeremy Lin. No one on ESPN or any other network has criticized him. No one has said that the magic won’t last or that he doesn’t deserve to be here. It seems as if pretty much all the media is 100% bought in to Linsanity.

Many NFL analysts at networks all over the country were calling out Tebow as “Not an NFL quarterback,” and “not worthy of being on the field.” While there were some Tebow-lovers at ESPN and NFL Network, the voices of the haters outweighed those of the lovers.


Those are the major similarities and differences between Linsanity and Tebowtime, but here’s some of the little stuff.

The team reaction

Both Lin’s Knick teammates and Tebow’s Bronco teammates are very enthusiastic about the madness. They are completely bought in and are having more fun than ever.

Here, as Von Miller embraces Tebow, it is easy to see that Tebow's teammates had his back the entire time.

That one thing

Lin’s one issue is turnovers, as his 46 turnovers in eight games are among the worst in the NBA. Tebow’s weak spot is his completion percentage- 46.5%, which was the worst in the NFL this season.

“(Their teammates) seem completely bought in and are having more fun than ever.”

While Tebowmania has taken a break for the offseason, Linsanity is still in full effect, ripping apart opponent defenses with ease, creating nightmares for opposing coaches. Both of these phenomenons have completely engulfed a nation, and it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

By Sam Brief

Linsanity? Tebowmania? Leave a comment, I would love to know which phenomenon is your favorite!

Follow me on Twitter (@SamsSportsBrief)

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24 thoughts on “‘Linsanity’ or ‘Tebowmania’?

    • I would say that Lin is more likely to still be playing in five years due to the fact that even though Tebow is winning, his stats might not be able to sustain him for more than another year or two. Lin is winning (and ‘Linning), while putting up great numbers. Lin just seems more comfortable out there.

  1. I totally agree with your assessment of Lin, he’s done the job that’s required of an NBA point guard. As for as Tebow, I’m still not sold. I think Tebow is a great kid and many other players could learn much from his attitude and work ethic. At the same time however, had the defense not been playing prevent Tebows numbers would most likely be even lower. His heroics made for exciting games, he was fun to watch, but he needs lots of work to lift his game to maintain an NFL job at QB. From what I understand he’s working out at UCLA to sharpen his game and I wish him well with it. Until he does I’m reserving judgement on his talent, not his faith as others have done, that’s never been a factor to me, and should never be questioned.

    • Good points made, Ken. I, too question Tebow’s ability to sustain these heroics consistently like Lin has. A good analogy would be Duke, who is putting together miracle comebacks, but can it last? Can it last with Tebow? These are the questions at the tip of my tounge…

  2. Excellent article. I personally believe that Lin has had more of a hand in the wins than Tebow did. More consistency as well. But, we do also have a small sample size on both so far. Only time will tell what happens with both.

    • Yes, Mike, I agree. Also, It’s difficult to compare football with basketball, because, when Lin is on the court, he plays a huge role on both offense and defense, and Tebow is only on offense. One could make a convincing argument for both, but the sample size is just too small.

  3. I believe that Lin definitely has a better chance of longevity than Tebow does. Comparing football and basketball is tough to do, they’re entirely too different. Based off what I’ve seen from both and how Tebow was winning games, Lin takes the upper hand here.

  4. Both are indicative the type of modern media/society we live in today. They were/are good stories that have been blown out of proportion. I would never discount what they have accomplished, but I’m far more interested in both players longevity in each league.

  5. Great read Sam! Jeremy Lin is definitely another Tebow story, except better. Tebow was already known by many in the Gator world. Tebow won a national championship and was regarded as a good player coming out of Florida. Lin on the other hand was under the radar and was avoided by many teams both in college and the NBA. Lin’s story is better in so many ways because he came out of no where and is playing like the next CP3. Amazing.

    You’re definitely right when you mentioned turnovers. Lin has to cut this down, but this all will take care of itself with experience. The game against the Mavericks is a sign that this kid is no joke!

    • For sure, CDR! Lin was virtually unknown, and Tebow was a first round draft pick!

      Another underrated statistic is that in his two games on national television, Lin has averaged 33 ppg. Those are his two best games so we know that like Tebow, he’s at his best under pressure.

      • Exactly. Lin’s taking advantage of the opportunity. After the Nets game, I’ll just attribute the loss to the lack of chemistry with all the new Knicks (B. Davis, C. Anthony) coming back. I know one thing, if the Knicks can get it together, they have one of the best potent and deeper benches in the league. Surely will help during the playoffs.

      • Hey Sam,

        Lin took a big hit against the Heat. He looked shellshocked playing against Miami. This actually might be good for him, Lin needed a bad game. It was the only way he can continue his great play.

  6. I’m a much bigger Lin fan (probably because I’m Asian), but also because he’s a better performer. Sure Lin has had a few rough starts to games, but overall he’s playing better than Tebow did throughout the whole game. I’m sure he’ll learn from his turnovers, because cmon he’s a Harvard man. Those smart people always figure it out eventually!

  7. Sam, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if someone turned the topic of Linsanity and Tebowmania into a book. As big as Tebow was, and is, this Linsanity has become even bigger in a shorter period of time. Man, if Tebow were to come to Madison Square Garden to watch Lin play…

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