(Photo: REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)
Tim Tebow, the New York Jets' newest quarterback, caused a media frenzy when he joined the team. Although some initially questioned whether Tebow could survive in New York City, many believe the quarterback will expand his Christian influence in his new home.
After Tebow, 24, signed with the Jets in March, ESPN's "First Take" analysts Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, both also Christians, sparked a debate questioning, "Can Tim Tebow survive the New York stage?"
"It's going to be difficult, you're going to have a lot of religious folks who are going to stand up and think about the vision beyond football. They consider him to be a paradigm of virtue," Smith said in March.
"[Tebow is] showing up for paid appearances in environments that aren't indicative of the character. Now you might not be the one drinking and smoking, and you might not be the one chasing fine honeys and all of this stuff. But you're in those confines subjecting yourself to a level of temptation that you [say] you're not all about," Smith added.
Bayless, who has been vocal about being a fan of Tebow's, said he was concerned about the quarterback on the New York stage.
"There are a whole lot of religious folks in New York City who don't believe what Tim Tebow believes. He's going to feel like he's walking through the valley of the shadow of death," Bayless said. "He's going to get some really hard questions, he's going to get tested like never before. That media will scrutinize him on and off the field waiting for one little slip up."
However, Anthony Federico, the Christian sports editor who made news after publishing a headline about Jeremy Lin that he said was misinterpreted as racist, said the scrutiny of Tebow would take place regardless of where he played.
"I truly respect the courage it takes to make public (and open for scrutiny) something that is so personal and, at times, unpopular. Tim Tebow will be under intense media scrutiny no matter what city he plays in," Federico told The Christian Post. "I believe that playing in New York only increases his reach for Christ."
Despite making headlines for public appearances, alleged love interests and his ability to fit into the team after signing with the Jets, Tebow said his faith would always come before his football career. In an interview with Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America" last month, Tebow spoke about his priorities.
"It's pretty easy for me to say that the most important thing in my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ, followed by my relationship with family," Tebow said. "And football's later on down the line."