5. The Endorsements: First EA Sports, to be the cover of NCAA Football 11. Then Nike. Then Jockey. Then, this week, FSR sports drink, in an upset. Few athletes -- certainly no rookies -- had a marketing impact like Tebow. (Let's not dwell too long on the time I stayed up until 1 a.m. waiting for his limited-edition shoes to go on sale, only to fall asleep with 5 minutes to go.)
4. The Super Bowl ad. The most talked-about Super Bowl ad of the year -- even more before the game than after it. Tebow's power to command attention seemed to sneak up on mainstream sports media that hadn't followed Tebow's career more closely. (I remember when this story started as a tiny item in a Colorado Springs newspaper, totally going under the radar.)
3. The Sugar Bowl. A record-setting way for Tebow to close his Florida career. (Remember how FoxSports.com had a live camera shot on Tebow the whole time? A fascinating experiment.)
2. Drafted in the 1st round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Your draft status isn't what a "draft expert" says you are; it's wherever you end up getting picked. Tim Tebow IS a 1st-round NFL Draft talent, because he was taken in the 1st round of the NFL Draft.
1. The 4th quarter of the Broncos' win over the Texans in Week 16 of the NFL season. Amazing to think that anything could have eclipsed Tebow going in the 1st-round of the draft -- then again, some of us never doubted for a second that he would get drafted in the 1st round. But Sunday's thrilling come-from-behind performance was unexpected -- even to Tebow's biggest fans.
Partly because of the unexpectedness, but mostly because of the tangible, on-field performance itself, this closes 2010 as the top highlight of Tim Tebow's year.
(It is probably worth adding that getting to interview Tebow face-to-face back in April ranks among my own Top 5 favorite -- and certainly most memorable -- moments of the year.)
Happy new year to everyone. Thanks so much for your continued support. Big new things coming for me beginning very early in January. Rest assured: I'll be keeping you updated!