Originally written on Rumors and Rants  |  Last updated 4/25/12

Move over, Tebowmania. Pound sand, Linsanity. The thing that’s really taking America by storm is Johnson Madness. At least according to Forbes Magazine.

On Tuesday Forbes released its list of the Top 10 Most Influential American Athletes, which was topped by NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson. No, seriously. This is fairly impressive considering that this is the first time I can ever recall even talking about Jimmie Johnson, who I assume most people would confuse with the former Cowboys coach/Extenze pitchman of the same name.

Forbes compiled the list from a Nielsen survey of 1,100 adults, the majority of which apparently live below the Mason-Dixon Line.

The rest of the Top 10:

2. Tim Tebow (A person who the majority of Americans can actually name)

3. Peyton Manning (His influence was pretty apparent on the Colts alone last season)

4. Manny Pacquaio (Uhh… Didn’t you guys say “American” athlete? Otherwise I can’t argue with the inclusion of an actual Congressman on the list)

5. Tom Brady (See Item No. 2)

6. Aaron Rodgers (A discount double check apparently moves you up the list quickly)

7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (I wish I could suck at my job as much as he does and maintain that kind of popularity. At least I have the first part down. But seriously, weren’t they driving Model T’s the last time he won a race?)

8. Drew Brees (If he’s so influential, why doesn’t he have a contract? Oh yeah, because the Saints are idiots)

9. Eli Manning (No. 9 in America… No. 2 in his own family)

10. Jeremy Lin (Even people who hate the Knicks love Lin, but only time will tell if he’s the next Mark “The Bird” Fidrych)

Six of the 10 are quarterbacks. As noted by Nielsen sports survey whiz Stephen Master in the Forbes article, “The NFL is just killing it, the league is now part of the American landscape.”

Wow. That quote would have been really insightful in ***********.

An even better way to become one of Forbes’ most influential athletes?

Don’t be black. Or a baseball player. (Given the demographic of Forbes’ readership, I also find it a bit surprising that a golfer like Phil Mickleson is not on the list).

Despite the fact that the majority of NBA and NFL players are black, and that baseball has traditionally produced many of the most recognizable athletes in this country, apparently you won’t show up on Forbes/Nielsen’s radar if either description applies to you.

Frankly, I find both to be a bit shocking, which brings me back to my half-joking thesis that the majority of those surveyed live below the Mason-Dixon Line. While I hate the Yankees as much as anyone, it blows my mind that Derek Jeter is not on this list. The guy plays in New York, he appears in a ton of commercials, and to quote the movie The Other Guys, “He’s a biracial angel!”

Apparently he just isn’t an influential one.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Three teams achieve separation in Aldridge chase

WATCH: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mavs solidify future, sign Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Yankees get A-Rod's 3,000th hit ball for $150,000 donation

The top American sports moments since the last Fourth of July

Nine former college football rivalries that need to come back

The most patriotic uniforms in American sports

Jeanie Buss: Brother Jim will step down if Lakers don't make deep run within two seasons

DeAndre Jordan to Dallas: The Los Angeles Clippers are literally mad men

Remember when the Cincinnati Bearcats were the scariest team in America?

Are the Angels now the worst organization in baseball?

Five reasons the Browns should play Johnny Manziel

Blue Jays need rookies to keep producing for success in 2015

WATCH: Sean Doolittle gets cup check from teammate

University of Florida developing high-tech smart mouth guard

Pat McAfee is the best punter in NFL history

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.