There's this open question about "Tebow fatigue" that I've touched on before. But no matter what you think about the ESPYs as some sort of contrived schtick, I like them for one very significant reason: They let the fans vote on the awards.
It's not some Academy. It's not some weird BCS-style hybrid of coaches, experts and media types. It's the fans.
And the fans -- nationwide, mind you -- like and respect Tebow an awful lot. Do they love him? Maybe, maybe not.
But fans respect him -- maybe it's begrudging respect, but respect all the same. And they like that he is a likeable personality who plays great on the field and appears to walk the talk off the field.
And, in his acceptance speech, Tebow threw that "like and respect" right back at them:
“It truly is an honor to even be invited to an event like the ESPYs and be able to be in the same room with many athletes that I have the utmost respect for. And then to be named the Best Male College Athlete, which was decided by the fans makes this night even more memorable. I want to thank my teammates and coaches, but a special thank you goes out to the entire Gator Nation, the best fans in the country.”Make no mistake: The ESPYs are a popularity contest -- by that metric, Tebow is and remains very popular.