Is Tim Tebow God's gift to marketing?
Tim Tebow is a cultural tsunami.
By Ron Chenoy, US PRESSWIRETim Tebow kneels in prayer before
the Denver Broncos played the Pittsburgh
Steelers on Sunday.
Were you talking about anyone else Monday morning? Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich facing off in New Hampshire today? Your boss? Weekend movies?
The Denver Broncos quarterback — a fervid evangelical blessed with more piety than passing skills — took 11 seconds to rip off the longest overtime touchdown pass in the shortest overtime in playoff history Sunday night, lofting his team into the second round of the NFL playoffs.
Now, Tebow-talk has swept the nation:
•His against-all-odds heroics (admit it, you thought the Steelers would crush him) brought CBS a mind-blowing 25.9 overnight rating, the best for a wild card football game in almost 25 years.
•Sports websites staggered under an onslaught of hits. NFL.com reported that views of videos in the hour after the game were up 385% from Wild Card Sunday last year.
•Tebow hit more than 1 million mentions on Twitter alone. On Sunday night, the rate of tweets announcing the victory hit 9,420 per second...
•Both Tebow and his favorite Bible verse, John 3:16, placed in the top three Google Trends for most of Monday. Many noted he threw for exactly 316 yards, an unintentional allusion to the Bible verse he etched into his eye black while winning national championships at the University of Florida.
•NFL sales of Tebow's No. 15 Broncos jersey are second only to those for Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who won the Super Bowl last year.
But the Tebow wave was rolling well before Sunday. He may be the national figure best known for his evangelical Christian faith after evangelist Billy Graham, says Mark Coppenger, a professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville and director of the seminar's Nashville campus.
"He's no milk-toast Christian. He's not just wearing a WWJD bracelet. He's not a flash-in-the-pan famous fellow who might embarrass believers. He embodies a joyful consistent, compelling Christian life," Coppenger says.