I grew up in Denver and am admittedly biased. I’m a Denver Broncos fanatic. In the Mile High City, the Broncos are more than just a football team; they’re an institution.
Everybody loves a comeback. Former Broncos quarterback John Elway — one of the greatest QBs in NFL history — had comebacks in his DNA. Since he retired in 1999 after back-to-back Super Bowl wins, Denver fans have been jonesing for that regular shot of adrenaline Elway provided week in, week out.
Enter Tim Tebow. In the category of, “Holy cow, can he actually do it?” no Broncos QB since Elway has delivered like Tebow has. He feels familiar. This is what Broncos fans expect. We don’t do steady. We prefer up and down, high and low until that improbable rocket launch to victory in the final seconds of the game.
Will Tebow end up an NFL great like John Elway? That remains to be seen. Opinions are all over the place. But what is certain is that Tim Tebow is more than just a sports phenomenon. He’s a cultural phenomenon.
For starters, Tebow’s very existence is somehow controversial. He’s a walking pro-life testimonial. He’s been pulling off comebacks since before he was born. Pam Tebow, Tim’s mother, courageously chose to carry baby Tim to term despite doctors’ recommendations that she abort him.
You may recall that before Tim went pro, the Christian group, Focus on the Family, commissioned an innocuous TV ad that ran during the 2010 Saints-Colts Super Bowl game. It briefly told the story of the Tebows’ pre-natal struggle. The word “abortion” was never even uttered, but a positive portrayal of childbearing was all it took.
And so began the left’s hate affair with Tim Tebow. Radical feminist groups, media-types and liberal pundits alike lost their collective noodle even before the ad ran.
Erin Mattson, vice president of The National Organization for Women (NOW), told ABC News that Tim’s story of survival was “really quite offensive. … This ad is hate masquerading as love!” she barked. Tim wasn’t dismembered alive and scraped in pieces from his mother’s womb, you see.
The New York-based Women’s Media Center launched a failed censorship petition drive to pull the ad, framing it as an “attack on choice.” Get it? Pam Tebow chose alright; she just happened to make the wrong “choice,” and dared to share about it publicly.
But as a Denver Bronco, Tim Tebow’s profile has grown exponentially. So too has the left’s hatred for him.
This is due in large part to his very open Christian faith. After each game, Tim begins by thanking God: “First and foremost, I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
And who hasn’t heard of “Tebowing,” wherein one drops to a knee in prayer?
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).