Opinion
              Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) celebrates after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-23 in overtime of an NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, in Denver.  (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)

Nation braces itself for next phase of Tebow-mania

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Eric McErlain
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      Eric McErlain

      Eric McErlain blogs at Off Wing Opinion, a Forbes “Best of the Web” winner. In 2006 he wrote a "bloggers bill of rights" to help integrate bloggers into the Washington Capitals' press box. Eric has also written for Deadspin, NBC Sports and the Sporting News, and covers sports television for The TV News.

Can it get any better for Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow? In the wake of his team’s upset win last weekend over the defending AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s become abundantly clear that the nation has embraced Tebow like no other athlete in recent memory.

Consider:

    • Organizers of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am are reportedly toying with the idea of inviting Tebow to play in the event — and then pairing him with Tiger Woods.

While Tebow considers all of his options, it could be easy to forget that there’s still an actual football game to play on Saturday night in Foxboro, Massachusetts against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. It’s safe to say that CBS Sports, which has kept its top football broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms on Tebow’s trail for the better part of a month, is getting ready to enjoy a ratings windfall.

According to Nielsen, the wild-card game between Pittsburgh and Denver was the highest rated in 24 years. An estimated 42.4 million people watched the game, making it the most-watched football game since Super Bowl XLV.

Given that the Patriots beat up on Tebow and the Broncos 41-23 just a few weeks ago, most folks are expecting the Tebow express to be at least temporarily derailed this weekend in Foxboro. Las Vegas looks like it agrees, with most sports books pegging the Broncos as 13.5- to 14-point underdogs. Then again, Tebow has been beating the odds for a while now. Bet against him at your peril.

Eric McErlain blogs at Off Wing Opinion, a Forbes “Best of the Web” winner. In 2006 he wrote a “bloggers bill of rights” to help  integrate bloggers into the Washington Capitals’ press box. Eric has also written for Deadspin, NBC Sports and the Sporting News, and covers sports television for The TV News. Follow Eric on Twitter.