Maybe you weren’t as bored by the Tim Tebow press conference as I was, but I suspect we can agree that it was odd to watch a backup quarterback introduced to such media attention—“only slightly bigger than the moon landing.” This never would have happened if the backup wasn’t Tebow and his new employer was a New York football team.
Tebow was a sensation last year. Not just for his on-field performances but for the religious revolution he brought to the NFL. Of course, overt religious expression is common among professional athletes, football players included, but there was something different about Tebow. Just ask Pat Robertson.
This makes Tebow’s trade to the New York Jets all the more dramatic. The media is loving it, and Ross Douthat, the New York Times columnist, had a good piece yesterday about “Tebow in Babylon.”
There was a moment last week when it looked as if the trade shipping Tebow from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets might somehow fall through — that Tebow might end up a Jacksonville Jaguar instead, with a guaranteed starting job, a heavily evangelical fan base, and none of the insanity involved in eclipsing Jeremy Lin as the most famous Christian athlete in Babylon-upon-the-Hudson.
O ye of little faith. Did you think that the Lord God of Hosts, having raised Tebow up as a Gideon of the gridiron, would pass up the opportunity to put his faithful servant to the test? Did you think that the angelic screenwriters responsible for scripting last year’s succession of Tebow-related improbabilities had nodded off after the Broncos were dispatched in the A.F.C. playoffs? Did you think that the archons and demiurges who preside over America’s culture war would be content to let Tebow fade into obscurity — some red-state-friendly endorsement deals, a few 6-10 finishes, and then early retirement and a lifetime of under-the-radar charity work?
Above all, did you think that Tebow himself, with his distinctive mix of missionary zeal and “give me the ball” confidence, would duck the Gotham opportunity? That he would pull a LeBron James and take his talents down to Florida instead?
No, this was where the Tebow story was always destined to end up. Denver was his Galilee; New York will be the Roman Colosseum. Or to be pop cultural rather than scriptural: Denver was District 12 in Suzanne Collins’s Panem, and the Meadowlands will be the Hunger Games arena.
Read the rest here.
It will be interesting to see who affects whom more.