Jeremy Lin Is Not as Big a Meme as Tim Tebow

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Given that both are young, religious athletes who've both risen quickly and unexpectedly to prominence in their respective sports, Tim Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin are inevitably being compared to one another by the media. So now that Linsanity is everywhere it's time to ask: Who was the bigger meme? 

As with TV viewership, ticket sales, and nearly everything else, football trumps basketball yet again, but just barely.

Below is a chart from Google Trends showing how many searches for "Tim Tebow" and "Jeremy Lin" were made over the past year. Tebowmania hit its high the week of January 8, the week after his and his denver Broncos' upset playoff win against the Pittsburgh Steelers; similarly, we saw a Linsurgency in Google activity last week after Lin's four wins. (We promise we're finished with the Lin puns.) Tebow's peak is higher than Lin's, but only slightly -- by 4.7 percent in fact.  

Though search totals for Lin could be higher by the end of the week, so far it doesn't look likely. Given that Tebow's and Lin's trending peaks are almost equal, we're think we ought to call these sports memes a draw. Perhaps the factors playing in Lin's favor (his Asian-Americanness, Harvard degree, and spot in the New York limelight) nearly balance out Tebow's (his plucky/annoying religiosity, "Tebowing," and let's not forget the fact that he plays America's most popular sport while Lin does not). It's worth noting that Lin wasn't a nationally-known Heisman Trophy-winner like Tebow was during his undergrad days, but rather an unknown before his rise to national prominence. That makes his current memedom all the more impressive.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.