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NFL Magazine, Show Feature Tim Tebow

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Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos runs the ball against the San Diego Chargers during the Broncos 16-13 overtime win in their NFL Game on Nov. 27, 2011, at Qualcomm Stadium. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos runs the ball against the San Diego Chargers during the Broncos 16-13 overtime win in their NFL Game on Nov. 27, 2011, at Qualcomm Stadium. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

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DENVER (AP) – The NFL has caught Tim Tebow fever, too.

The cover of the inaugural edition of the league’s official monthly publication, NFL Magazine, which hits newsstands Dec. 13, will feature Tebow instead of Carolina rookie quarterback Cam Newton as originally planned.

Mike Dunphy, the magazine’s publisher and editor-in-chief, said, “Tim Tebow is current. He’s a talking piece. You love him or you hate him. What better relevant topic than Tim Tebow?”

The edition will still feature Newton, just not on the cover.

The NFL magazine announced last month that Newton would adorn the cover of its first edition. But that plan quickly changed when Tebow became the talk of the league after supplanting Kyle Orton and winning five of six starts to help the Denver Broncos (6-5) get back in the AFC West race.

“Initially we had talked about not being controversial and just trying to keep everybody happy and we talked about who would be a good role model to be on the cover, and listen, Cam Newton definitely fits the bill,” Dunphy said. “We’re still going to feature Cam in the magazine, but we wanted to show the fans that we’re not going to shy away from the news.”

The magazine will cost $4.99 at newsstands and $19.90 for a one-year subscription that includes the digital version.

Also, the NFL Network is airing a 30-minute show this weekend focused entirely on the Broncos’ unconventional scrambling quarterback.

“Playbook Special Edition: Tim Tebow” hosted by Joe Theismann airs at 10:30 p.m. ET Saturday. This is the first time a “Playbook” show focused on one player will air in a nontraditional time slot on the league’s network.

Theismann acknowledges he didn’t believe Tebow could win like he’s been doing because of his flawed footwork and messy mechanics but has come around to appreciating his unique skill set.

“Enjoy the Tim Tebow experience, just like we enjoyed the run-and-shoot and the flex and the 46 defense and all those other things that came into this game that sort of has its time,” Theismann said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Enjoy it. I think what we have to do is be willing to think outside the box and be willing to appreciate things that are different.

“Tim is not conventional, he’s not traditional, but by golly, he’s a lot of fun.”

By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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