Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has generated buzz across the country as fans of his team and faith strike the now famous kneeling pose with hands clasped in a prayer position.
But Tebowing has now moved from an Internet sensation and fan favorite, to a marketing tool for companies.
“Tebowing” eye black, which features a black strip with an orange image of a figure Tebowing beside the no. 15, is available for purchase online.
But the latest move in the Tebowing craze is not sitting well with all fans.
John Keller, a pastor from western New York who made headlines recently when he posted a picture of his unborn child “Tebowing” in an ultrasound picture, said that the merchandising move goes too far.
“I'm much more uncomfortable with the idea of trying to market this and profit from it than with just the idea of the whole trend,” Keller told The Christian Post.
But, it it is something that seems to be a natural progression.
“We've had several people tell us that we need to ‘monetize’ the Tebowing ultrasound picture, which to me is absolutely crazy, but everyone is always scheming as to how they can make a dollar from any possible source,” Keller told CP.
“But anytime something hits the internet wave of popularity, people are going to line up and try to make a couple of bucks,” he added.
It is a trend that is likely to continue as long as Tebow continues to win games.
Scott Eckstein, a Broncos season ticket holder, worries that marketing Tebowing takes another step away from its original intentions.
“I sincerely doubt that Tim Tebow ever intended that pose to be anything but his personal relationship and conversation with God,” Eckstein told CP.
But the new product is likely to be the beginning of the latest Tebowing craze developments, he said.
“Not only will people try to profit from the current rage, but it will cause others to openly mock Jesus Christ,” Eckstein told CP. “Additionally, I believe that prayer is a very personal relationship between an individual and God. Tebowing in a sense seems to cheapen the seriousness of prayer.”
However, if people begin wearing the Tebowing images under their eyes on game day, it may help facilitate more conversations on faith.
“Raising the awareness of the importance of prayer is great,” Eckstein told CP. “Additionally, if this ‘Tebowing craze’ piques people’s curiosity and causes them to search the Scriptures for answers, then again, this is a great thing.
Keller cautions that Tebowing should not be synonymous with prayer.
“Praying is talking to God,” Keller told CP. “That can happen knelt down, standing up, laying down - shoot, it can happen driving with both hands on the wheel and your eyes wide open.”
“Tebowing is kneeling down on one knee and putting your hand on your forehead,” Keller continued. “It's a pose. It's not about faith or really even God. It's about a football player who has been become both incredibly popular and polarizing.”
But, Tebow, a devout Christian, is praying when he drops to one knee on the field, leaving the topic of faith and Christianity lingering as he continues to win, week after week.
“If Tebow wasn't winning, this wouldn't be happening. But right now everyone is trying to ride the wave while it's up,” Keller told CP.
Tebow has taken the Broncos from last place to first in a half season as starting quarterback. Critics have continued to discount the quarterback’s ability to win, but the Broncos continue to come out on top each week.
“Time and time again he's proven his critics wrong, which only leads me to ask, ‘could God be blessing him for his dedication and faithfulness?’ ” Eckstein told CP. “I believe the answer is yes.”