Even on the unemployment line, Tim Tebow remains a popular presence.

The former Jets quarterback, cut by New York last week after one disappointing season and now a free agent, was selected as America's most influential athlete, according to a survey released Monday by Forbes.com.

Tebow had the most influence on fans, according to 29 per cent of respondents, finishing ahead of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps (25 per cent), Jamaican track star Usain Bolt (23 per cent) and Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (22 per cent).

Forbes.com used surveys from Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research to determine the winner, and took into account Nielsen's measurement for a player's endorsement potential.

The next-closest NFL player was Denver's Peyton Manning, who replaced Tebow with the Broncos last off-season and finished fifth in the survey.