Monday, January 9, 2012

The Phenomenon

He's more than a quarterback, although some argue he's not really a quarterback.

Tim Tebow is actually a living, breathing, funky-throwing Rorschach test. What you see in him probably tells us more about you than it does about him.

The latest improbability, Denver's overtime defeat of the Steelers, doesn't merely add a layer to the Tebow legend. It means at least another week of national attention. It lets all those who revel in Tebow's exploits exult, and lets the bile rise further in those who just can't stand Tebow and/or all the attention he's gotten.

Let's not kid ourselves for a single moment: if it wasn't for the Christianity he wears on his sleeve, Tim Tebow would garner far less attention. He'd still be an interesting thing to watch: an exuberant kid with an unusual skill set whose play is alternately frustrating and exhilarating.

But you can't escape the religion thing. For some, it makes Tebow their guy, even if they never knew Denver had a football team. For others, there's a profound discomfort in listening to Tebow praise his Lord and talk about how lucky he is to play with so many great guys.

This "Tebow's great!" vs. "I can't stand that guy!" debate is not very much about football, but very much about our conflicted feelings regarding faith and the public display of it. What you see in Tim Tebow reflects your own beliefs.

I've had people tell me that the media created the Tebow phenomenon. Baloney. Tim Tebow is a spectacle you can't ignore (and we would have ignored it if the Broncos had gone 5-11), but what makes the thing so big is the debate.

Look at that photo again. What do you see?

1 comment:

Stan Bunger said...

Late update: the Denver/Pittsburgh game drew a 25.9 rating in the top TV markets--the highest wild-card game rating in 24 years. This, for a team pitting teams from the #17 (Denver) and #23 (Pittsburgh) markets.