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Another Tim Tebow story?
Yes. Well, sort of. I mean, it will be.
When the World Wide Leader in Sports tweets this:
(@SportsCenter) January 12, 2012
…..it kind of requires a story to be written. SBNation did a story on what the Twitterverse so I’m going to go in a slightly different direction tonight. You can read their story by clicking on the tweet’s link below:
SB Nation (@sbnation) January 12, 2012
ESPN talked about Tebow for an entire hour. An hour. They even created a Twitter hashtag just for it: #SCTEBOW. Why? Why devote so much time to one athlete?
David Scott (@ESPNprDScott) January 12, 2012
Another ratings record for First Take! Thank you all for being a part of it. Join today's debate as I take on STEPHEN A, 10am E, ESPN2.—
Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 11, 2012
RATINGS! Ratings=advertising=$$$. Does Tebow drive ratings? You decide after reading this tweet:
It was most-watched game of season, most-watched Wild Card game ever w/42.4 million viewers, & most-watched TV program since Super Bowl XLV.—
Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) January 10, 2012
But that begs the question: Which came first? Sounds like a chicken or egg analogy but it’s true. This tweet from Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch confirms my thought:
Crowdsourcing time: You know I think ESPN has dictated the Tebow news cycle. You know @espn_chris disagrees. Curious what you say, Tweeps?—
Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) January 12, 2012
Which is it? Is the audience demanding Tim Tebow coverage? Or, is the media telling the audience what they want to see?
Faith and sports is a controversial topic. Many say that there is no place for faith (or ‘religion’ as some like to call it) in sports. Media and fans alike can often be heard saying “God doesn’t care who wins.”. Others are simply put off by an athlete or coach talking about God or Jesus Christ openly. Tim Tebow is very open about his faith and relationship to Jesus Christ. There is no middle ground with him.
If there is no middle ground with him, does the audience have a middle ground? You decide:
Joel Ford (@wayslower) January 12, 2012
His faith made him a winner before he ever touched a football #sctebow—
adam pierson (@ap3417) January 12, 2012
#SCtebow since cheering for Tebow is a vote for god,& cheering for Brady is cheering for Satan,I declare myself atheist for the weekend—
Jean-Claude Hubbard (@Jean_Claude21) January 12, 2012
But is faith in sports what would drive an audience to watch anything “Tebow”?
He wasn’t supposed to be a first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Many “experts” thought he was a 3rd rounder at best; too much work needed on his skills (throwing motion, footwork, NFL-level reads). The Denver Broncos made him the 25th overall draft pick…..that’s in the 1st round, folks.
Because of his skill-set and lack of off-season training due to the NFL lockout, he did not get the work in that many felt he needed to even be considered a starting quarterback this year. The Broncos had Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn. Tebow needed years of work some said. But after a 1-4 start, guess what? He was named the starting quarterback. Why?
The Bleacher Report has an interesting take on it.
If Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow were black, it’s unlikely that he would ever get a chance to play quarterback in the NFL. With an awkward and inaccurate throwing motion but a strong running ability and excellent leadership skills, Tebow would most likely be converted to another position such as running back or tight end. History shows that unconventional quarterbacks who happened to be black were either moved to different positions, given a very short time to prove themselves as quarterbacks or weren’t even given chances to become backups.
Perhaps that is part of the audience/media equation? He’s white….and he’s a Christian. Is that why?
It’s not as if “Tebow-mania” is anything new. If you are a college football fan, you saw plenty of Tim Tebow on fall weekends. Playing in the SEC at the University of Florida, chances are you saw Tim Tebow play during his time there. SEC is king in college football. Florida is a powerhouse. Put those two things together and if you’re a star quarterback, you will get major television exposure.
The only difference now with the Broncos is that the coverage is on a national level. Some would say SEC football is a religion. The fanbases are passionate, ‘loyal’ and dare I say fanatical about their teams. Media coverage for SEC football is unlike any other. Tebow-mania began there….in SEC country. If your team was Florida, you loved him; he was your guy. Any other SEC team? You hated Tebow.
Now that he is in the NFL, the love-hate relationship of fans has escalated to obnoxious degrees, in my opinion. Why would anyone, in their right mind, love or hate someone they’ve never met or hardly know? Should you love or hate someone simply because of their faith or religion? In our society, why love or hate someone because of the school they went to? If we are so civilized a nation, is it right to hate someone because they are ‘overexposed’ in the media? Do we need to love the exposure that person is getting because we “like” or “love” that person?
#SCTebow reaction brings out the best and worst of Twitter. No one can argue there is unwavering interest & ESPN is serving fans' appetites.—
David Scott (@ESPNprDScott) January 12, 2012
Tim Tebow is an athlete. Nothing more. He is not a god; just an athlete. He plays the game of football. Last time I checked, he never yanks the microphone out of the reporters’ hands and tell the world of his faith in Jesus Christ. He isn’t calling up the media and asking them to come and interview him. He isn’t doing anything to draw attention to himself so he can get a bigger contract. He is asked a question, a microphone is put in front of his mouth and he speaks. He speaks what is in his heart and mind to say.
In news, even sports news, audiences will grow weary of bad or negative news stories. By all accounts, Tim Tebow isn’t a bad or negative news story. That is what I think the media has seized upon in overwhelming numbers. There “seems” to be so few positive sports stories out there that sports media gets wind of one and BOOM, overkill.
It’s not just ESPN, although I believe they are the biggest culprit. Check any sports website, CBS, FOX, Sports Illustrated, I’m sure there is some sort of Tebow-related story this week. Why? It drives people to their websites. Talk Tebow on shows and ratings go up. From a business perspective, who wouldn’t make the decision to keep discussing Tim Tebow? It’s a no-brainer.
Are there other positive sports stories out there? Yes. But will people tune in? Not in, dare I say, Tebow-like numbers.
So that brings me back to the question, which came first: media coverage of Tebow or audience desire for Tebow coverage? The context of this tweet may help you answer that question:
Many of you are VERY angry about ESPN's Tebow coverage. Please tell the guy who's twisting your arm to watch to do the same for Hot Clicks.—
Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) January 13, 2012
If the audience doesn’t want to hear about Tim Tebow on ESPN or from any other sports entity, clicking to something else helps. Don’t watch, listen, read, tweet or post a Facebook status about anything Tebow-related. It’s that simple. If there’s no demand, it will stop. Eventually. If it doesn’t stop, then the audience needs to email, tweet, or write letters to the media conglomerates who are saturating the airwaves with the coverage. #OccupySomethingElse if you will. The audience is in control.
But until that happens……..
……spare me the love or hatred of Tim Tebow.
He’s just an athlete.
And even he would tell you, he’s an imperfect human being too; a sinner.