(Photo: Reuters/Eric Miller)
The Denver Broncos managed another close win Sunday, shipwrecking the Vikings’ lead by pulling ahead 35-32. The team’s 7-5 standing tied them with the Oakland Raiders in a lead for the AFC West. And again, the victory can be mostly attributed to the hottest quarterback in the NFL: Tim Tebow.
The Broncos had pulled off another miracle win a few weeks ago, when Tebow directed a 95-yard drive in the last five minutes to edge the Denver over the Jets and sparking many to wonder, just why does the QB grab so much attention? Is it his faith and integrity or his impressive skills?
Sports news pioneer Dan Shanoff, founder of Quickish, hosted a live chat Monday, where he took questions from the public regarding Tebow’s inevitable popularity.
One user went right to the issue, saying he thought that the telecast “made rather a point” of focusing on Tebow’s prayerful moments and that he thought the faith issue was “distracting and borderline obnoxious.”
Shanoff replied, “I think that given Tebow's connection to religion – and even the Tebowing meme from two weeks ago – it is entirely relevant to zoom in on him kneeling after the game-winning touchdown. (The prayer circle is entirely normal, at all levels of football, if not usually covered by the media.) Tebow and religion are so intertwined that those crossover moments are always going to be pinpointed by the TV directors.”
The former ESPN sportswriter first decided to explore the subject last month, posing a discussion topic on his blog (TimTeblog.com):
Unconventional Denver quarterback Tim Tebow led the Broncos to their fourth victory in five games on Thursday night, directing a 95-yard game-winning drive in the closing minutes. The comeback win intensified the attention the Tebow has been drawing – in part for his run-first style and in part for his overt displays of his religious beliefs.
Shanoff noted on Monday that Tebow would still display his faith, whether the media was watching or not.
“There isn’t anything contrived about Tebow's displays; he'd do it if there wasn't a camera on him. (BTW: Please notice that the first thing Tebow did when he scored the game-winning TD was not to get down on his knee or even to point to the sky, but to flex and shout at the hometown crowd in the end zone.),” he wrote in the chat.
Another user found Tebow as an “intelligent, grounded, mature man,” even before the recent attention to his faith. The user said the QB played much better than most players, and Tebow was handling the fuss admirably.
Shanoff replied, “What you have to understand about Tebow is that he possesses genius-level communication skills (partly natural, partly from a tremendous amount of practice), right up there with the most successful politicians or religious leaders or teachers or whoever else uses communication for a living.”
“I'm not saying the way he presents himself is a false front or insincere,” he continued. “I'm saying he is better at it than any athlete in the history of modern sports. That has helped his cause.”
One reader said while Tebow was openly proud of his faith, he didn’t force it upon anyone or act prideful.
“The eye-black stuff in college was overblown, at least in terms of Tebow trying to dictate to everyone what to believe,” Shanoff noted. “He knows precisely NOT to try to impose too much (of his faith) on people who don't want that message.
"Does he want to spread his faith in God? Sure. Is he entirely comfortable if the lesson my kid takes from him is that the most important thing is to work hard and try your best? Absolutely. 100 percent.”
The discussion continued further, with users bringing up various aspects of the Tebow phenomenon, but overall, Shanoff concluded that the main reason Tebow was gaining attention was because he played well and turned a losing team around.