Tim Tebow: I wouldn't rule out a run for political office
He can run the football, but could he run for office?
Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow said he won't rule out taking a shot at political office after he retires, saying he wants to be wherever he can "make a difference," according to an interview published online by ESPN Tuesday.
"I haven't ruled it out," Tebow said. "Whatever avenue I feel like I can make a difference in, I'd love to do. I haven't ruled out anything like that."
He added: "It won't be anytime soon in my future, but it'll be something I'll at least look at and consider one day."
Tebow, 25, has shied away from endorsing any candidates, and he hasn't been particularly vocal on any issues besides an anti-abortion stance in a Super Bowl commercial in 2010. Still, his endorsement is highly sought-after from conservatives, and according to a poll from Public Policy Polling in December, 68% of Republicans had a favorable view of him.
Rabid and devoted as Tebow's fan-base may be, experts said that running for office is a whole other beast from sports, and that he shouldn't consider it until he can prove he's more than a one-trick pony.
"You can't predict if someone can win or lose a race based on how well they throw a football, otherwise Eli Manning would be mayor," said political consultant Evan Stavisky.
"His challenge will be to be taken seriously, and not just as a novelty candidate who had so far one good year," Stavisky said, adding that if Tebow were serious about a political career, he would probably have to leave New York.
Though uncommon, former pro athletes running for office isn't unheard of.
Bill Bradley, who played for the Knicks in the late 1960s, was a three-term Senator in New Jersey ran for the 2000 Democratic presidential nomination. Kevin Johnson, the current mayor of Sacramento, Calif., played in the NBA for 13 years, and Detroit's mayor, David Bing, spent 11 years in the NBA.
Wayne McDonnell, professor of sports management at NYU, said Tebow shares some of the traits that made those athletes successful, but his politics would have a long way to go.
"If Tim Tebow quit the NFL today, he has the intangibles," McDonnell said. "We know he wants to give back to the community, and he's a role model. ... But aside from his religion, we really don't know where he stands on any of the issues."
Still, McDonnell said this may have just been the musings of a realistic athlete.
"This is not uncommon for athletes to talk about or pursue," McDonnell said.