Without having seen the 30-second ad, pro-abortion forces inside and outside the media called for its cancellation because they said it would politicize the single most watched program of the year. Kierra Johnson, executive director of Choice USA, said “This un-American hate doesn’t have a place in this all-American pastime.”
Despite the pressure to cut it, CBS didn’t cave and it was aired. The alleged inflammatory commercial was not what people had been told to expect. There was no overt anti-abortion language or political message, but only the demonstration of a loving and humorous mother-son relationship and a story only God could write.
The critics withdrew into a strange silence and few have told the rest of the story about the continuing impact of Tebow’s Christian witness. As many as 102 million Americans watched last year’s Super Bowl and viewed the Tebow spot during the game. Millions more have watched it online.
Because of all the media hype over the ad Focus on the Family generated more Super Bowl advertising-related, social-media conversations than any other advertiser or brand. Its earned media total of more than $31 million was at least 2 ½ times the earned media total of last year's most buzzed-about commercial from Doritos.
Surveys revealed that most viewers found it non-threatening and upbeat. 78% said they felt it presented a positive message. 75% claimed that the commercial was appropriate to show during the Super Bowl. Interestingly a May 2009 Gallup poll found that, for the first time since the poll began in 1995, more Americans are anti-abortion than pro-abortion rights and those results continued in the May 2010 survey.
Last Fall Tebow began his rookie year in the NFL. But his Christian witness left a mark on college football to the point that the NCAA banned messages on eye paint. Frequently Tebow wrote bible verses on his eye black. In the 2009 BCS Championship Game, he wore John 3:16 and as a result, 92 million people searched "John 3:16" on Google during or shortly after the game. Similar hits occurred when he wore other verses. A pre-existing has prevented Tebow from continuing the practice in the NFL. Tebow finished his rookie season with the Broncos by starting the last three games and became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for a touchdown in each of his first three career starts.
Jerry Bridges writes, “What image comes to your mind when you hear the expression "A man's man"? Is it the picture of an outdoorsman, skilled in hunting and fishing? Might it be the idea of a man capable of building his own house? Is it more along the lines of a tough guy in the mold of John Wayne? There's certainly nothing wrong with being an outdoorsman, building one's own house, or even, within bounds, being the solid John Wayne type. But is that all there is to being a man? The truth is that the Bible gives us God's picture of a real man, and it doesn't fit any of our stereotypes.”
Tim Tebow hugs his mom in front of 102 million people. He tells the media he’s a virgin and intends to stay that way until marriage. And he’s one of the most physically punishing NFL and intends to remain so until marriage. He’s one of the most physically punishing quarterbacks who loves to run over defenders. Tim Tebow just doesn't fit the stereotype of the "meek and mild" Christian man. But he is a shining example of “real deal” manhood -- a genuine good guy, who boldly proclaims his faith in Christ and practices what he preaches.
Dave Brown is Director and Pastor, Washington Area Coalition of Men's Ministries (WACMM)