Faith, football and the phenomenon of ‘Tebowmania’

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Maddison Shook | Staff Writer
Over the course of this year’s NFL football season, Denver Broncos quarterback, Tim Tebow, has been garnering major media attention from sources as varied as ESPN, CNN and People magazine. Every pass, every fourth-quarter comeback, every “Tebowing” kneel and every action makes the headlines. This media blitz may make football fans wonder: Is Tebow worth the hype?

On Sunday, Jan. 8, the attention of Tebow peaked at the AFC Wildcard Playoff Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tebow, who is famous for having the 3:16, referencing the Bible, on his eye back when he played at Florida State University, threw 316 yards in the game. Also, his average completion passes were 31.6 yards, and the television rating of the fourth quarter of the game peaked at 31.6 million viewers.

This event sparked a massive interest in both Tebow and the verse John 3:16. On that day, there were more Web searches on Yahoo! about “John 3:16” and “Tim Tebow” than there were for any other subject.

There are a lot of factors that attribute to the craze that is often regarded as “Tebowmania.”

Rudy Carlton, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at APU, believes that the media covers Tebow to the degree it does because of his successful fourth quarter passes and comeback victories, along with the controversial subject matter of Tebow’s faith.

While the media has given massive coverage of superstar quarterbacks before, according to Carlton, there has not been this much coverage of a quarterback with his level of play before.

“He is a pretty good quarterback, and he has some crazy games, but mostly I’d have to say a lot of the attention is because of how open he is with his faith and how hardworking he is,” freshman applied exercise science major Jackson Hale said.

Tebow has received a lot of criticism for his faith, from both Christians and non-Christians alike.

“I get really frustrated when Christians say that he is too over- the-top about his faith,” Carlton said. “I pray that God continues to use him in a powerful way.”

Despite the criticism, Tebow’s witness has been inspiring to students at APU.

“I have never seen an athlete like Tim Tebow before,” freshman business administration major and Denver native Ryan Bell said. “His faith has inspired, and I greatly respect him because of how he has dealt with all the criticism that has come with the media hype.”

The combination of physical skill and spiritual awareness distinguish Tebow from the other football celebrities.

“He is a profound figure in the media right now,” Bell said. “Because not only has he made some miraculous plays this season, [but also because] he is such an inspiring role model and a great guy.”

Faith aside, the question of whether Tebow is worthy of this media frenzy is still a legitimate question.

While Tebow has set an example of the Christian faith, some feel that the way he has played has not warranted this phenomenon.

“I love everything that Tim Tebow stands for, and if the gospel is being shared on such a big stage, I would say as a Christian that he is more than worth the hype,” Carlton said. “However, as a football fan and a Bronco fan at that, [I think] he is overrated and not the answer to their issue as quarterback. I don’t think that he will be a long term starting quarterback in the NFL.”

Carlton also noted that the media has focused only on Tebow, not giving credit to other team members of the Broncos.

“I do feel that he received a lot of credit for situations in the game that were out of his control,” Carlton said. “And the way he played, outside of the Pittsburg game, did not warrant the type of coverage that he received.”

While the Broncos season is over this year after a loss to the New England Patriots, all eyes will be on Tebow next season as he has been confirmed to remain the Bronco’s starting quarterback.

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