Tim Tebow just won the most exciting game of football I’ve seen in a while. And he did it by passing (yes, you read that right — passing!) for 316 yards. Brendan O’Hare, a columnist at Bleacher Report, wrote:
Tebow threw for 316 yards (“Some coincidence, huh?” — every Internet person ever) and showed that despite his inexplicable refusal to complete screen passes, he is surprisingly skilled at throwing wobbly deep bombs.
So yes, as a huge Broncos fan from Colorado, my Twitter feed was blowing up with Tebow tweets and the hashtag #Tebow316 was fairly active.
Drudge had the headlines “Amazing Grace” and “Throws For 3:16 Yards,” for crying out loud. You might remember those pictures of Tim Tebow with the John 3:16 eyeblack back in college, right? During the 2009 BCS Championship Game when he wore that, 92 million people Googled the phrase “John 3:16.” The NCAA then banned eyeblack messaging. That makes for some interesting backstory.
And then, as if the religion and football mashup wasn’t already going to happen, Tebow tweeted out a Bible verse:
Hebrews 12:1-2 GB²
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
All this to say, I think we’re going to have another round of interesting media coverage of Tim Tebow and my Denver Broncos. More than anything, could you help us keep an eye out for any particularly good or bad coverage?
Since we’re back on the general Tebow topic, I rather liked this recent Tebow-inspired column about the Rainbow Man, that dude with the rainbow afro who used to hold up John 3:16 signs at myriad sporting events in the 1970s and 1980s. Did you know he’s in prison? And the Erie Times managed to write a story about Tebow, published the day of the game, that managed to explain the way some Christian sports fans feel about Tebow. You could see how these quotes could have been clipped to make them seem to advocate a different perspective.
But last night’s dramatic victory has already gotten a bit of coverage. Sports news site the Big Lead has an item up, headlined “Yes, Tim Tebow Threw For 316 Yards Against Pittsburgh and He Had John 3:16 on His Eye Black Once in College.”
CNN didn’t avoid the topic either. Most of this story focused on the specifics of just how Tebow led the team to victory, the stats, the final overtime play, the complicated overtime rules, etc. But then it got into the religious angle:
Tebow has been criticized since his college days at the University of Florida for his awkward throwing motion and his overt Christian faith – including his practice of bowing in prayer after touchdowns. But Denver fans, and eventually the Broncos front office, embraced him this season as he led a series of late-game comebacks.
On Sunday he threw for 316 yards (which some people noted might be punctuated 3:16, for the cornerstone verse from the Gospel of John); 204 of those yards were throws to Thomas.
And yet no mention of Thomas sharing a birthday with Jesus? I kid, but I think that CNN handled that just fine and with an economy of words. This Washington Post “On Faith” blog item is packed with links and background and also handled the religious angles well.
Oh, and the television rating for the final quarter of the game? ESPN says it drew a stunningly high rating — a 316 rating.
Again, please let us know if you see any particularly good or bad treatment of Tebow and religion. I’m hoping it’s not going to be what O’Hare predicted, “Another week of ‘polarizing’ opinions from the media, laced with stupid religious undertones and a sense of undeserved audacity in whatever they say.”