Even though I’m a huge Broncos fan, I’m not exactly counting on us continuing in the post-season after tomorrow’s Patriots match-up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping for the improbable, just not counting on it. Which means that if we want to talk media coverage of Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow, our time is probably running out (this season).
One of the things I’ve noticed about the coverage of Tim Tebow is that it lacks some theological depth. Which, to be fair, is not something most articles could or should have. But sometimes we’re seeing some serious missed opportunities. Take coverage of a recent poll, such as this story from Denver’s CBS 4, headlined “Poll Finds 43 Percent Of People Believe God Helps Tebow Win“:
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is not the only one who thinks God helps him on the football field.
According to a national telephone survey conducted by Poll Position, 43 percent of people believe that “divine intervention” is responsible for his success compared to 42 percent of people surveyed who think that God has nothing to do with Tebow winning.
OK, then! That sounds interesting. And a great hook to discuss certain theological concepts. In fact, there are a bunch of different ways this could go. Just today my church body published an article about whether it’s true that we can definitively say God doesn’t care about football. Instead, the article just breaks down the demographic data on the question. Apparently Hispanic and Black Americans are more likely to answer the polling question in the affirmative. But there is precisely no insight added to the piece about what people meant when they answered the question. On that point, the question was a bit more precise than the CBS station wrote it up, for what it’s worth: Do believe that any of Tim Tebow’s success can be attributed to Divine Intervention?
Even the way the media outlet mischaracterized the question shows the difficulty we see in covering religious topics. I mean there is a distinction between believing that divine intervention is causing Tim Tebow to win certain games and believing that “any of Tim Tebow’s success” can be attributed to God.
I’m just as interested in the fact that people were basically divided down the middle on this question. I’d love to know more about why some people believe God is in no way repsonsible for any of Tim Tebow’s success. It’s not like Pittsburgh Steelers fans are that numerous, eh? Just kidding.
But there are some interesting theological approaches in the way people talk about Tebow and I haven’t really seen a good analysis of those outside of religious parts of the internet. (For example, The Internet Monk asks if God likes Tebow more than Tom Brady.) But these discussions are definitely happening. The Lutheran blogs are definitely all aflutter with Theology of Glory vs. Theology of the Cross debates on Tebow and I’m sure — what with his popularity — that theological debates are happening all across the spectrum. Even this video embedded above (found on a religion reporter’s Twitter feed) — of Jimmy Fallon merging Tim Tebow and David Bowie into Tebowie — makes all sorts of theological arguments, as have countless other pop culture treatments.
There are tremendous theological discussions going on — whether people realize they’re having them or not — all over our culture. But we’ve not really seen much coverage of these more interesting discussions and arguments, have we? Are they out there and I’ve missed them?