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Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad: Touchdown or Fumble?

posted by Ellen Leventry

University of Florida star quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother Pam will star in a 30-second “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life” Super Bowl ad sponsored by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family and set to be broadcast during next month’s Super Bowl. People familiar with Focus on the Family and Tebow’s much-stated evangelical Christian family background believe that the spot, which is said to have cost between $2.5 and $2.8 million, will deliver an anti-abortion message, focusing on Pam’s decision to take her fifth pregnancy to term against doctors’ orders while seriously ill. The ultimate result being Tim.
A striking and moving story to be sure, but one that is, for better or worse, politically charged and surely violates CBS’ longstanding policy against airing what they call “advocacy advertising.” Personally, I find it distasteful that the network of Super Bowl XLIV, which famously denied airtime to a United Church of Christ ad about inclusiveness featuring a gay couple amongst many others, apparently feels just fine airing the controversial group’s spot.
But it’s not just the hypocrisy of the network, the total non-ironic incongruity of inserting the advert between the boob-bearing, beer-shilling gals of [insert beer company name here] and Viagra ads, or the inappropriateness of smuggling a politically charged message into one of America’s favorite mindless pastimes that I keep pondering, it’s how this ad will affect Tim Tebow’s career.


Like Chuck Norris, the 2007 Heisman trophy winner is the subject of lists of “facts,” or “Tebowisms,” developed by adoring fans looking to celebrate, and gently poke fun at, his already-celebrated greatness. That’s just how good Tebow is. But while Tebow is the pick to watch in the upcoming NFL draft, college success is no indicator of future NFL success. (Just ask Ryan Leaf.)
The Associated Press says that, “Tim Tebow is taking his star power to sport’s biggest stage” with this spot, but one has to ask whether this is the best move for a man who might not have NFL star power? Especially months before the draft?
Tebow has never been shy about his faith–sporting Bible verses in his eyeblack on the field (a great way to get people to google Scripture), talking openly about his praiseworthy mission work (Although, performing circumcisions, seriously?), and telling a press conference that, yes, he’s still a virgin (Totally endearing).
But with this ad he will become a de facto spokesperson for a group with a clear political agenda, potentially making him less attractive to those companies looking to hand out endorsements to uncontroversial gridiron achievers. Now I’m gonna hazard a guess and say that Tebow would say he values his faith over endorsements or universal acclaim, which is great, but will he alienate NFL fans whom he hasn’t even played for yet, much less earned?
“It’s major hubris to put oneself out there as a star before you accomplish anything,” one devoted Steelers fan told me. “NFL fandom is a brutal community. Fans will talk about [the ad] and argue about it, but mainly they’ll think, ‘Score a touchdown before you open your mouth about anything.’”
What do you think?



  • Anonymous

    While it may be true that Tebow risks decreasing his market value by doing this ad, perhaps he simply doesn’t care. In fact, obvious threat to his income potential makes the effort all the more selfless. It seems pretty simple. His genuine concern for mothers with unwanted pregnancies and the (in his view)unborn infants facing the prospect of termination outweighs his PR quotient. Not everyone agrees with Tebow’s views but few can doubt his integrity.

  • OneLevelIn

    I am more surprised at CBS and the NFL for airing such a charged ad. I mean, you can put a wide range of things out there if you’ve got the dough, but the NFL likes to avoid the controversial whenever it can. Right now, Tebow is a generic ‘star’. He doesn’t play for a team yet, so our loyalties can’t kick in to tell us to love him or hate him. When the ad airs, fans will have that to talk about, but only until he’s signed. Once he starts performing, his politics and beliefs will become a tangential story at best.

  • Anonymous 2

    I’m not familiar with your website, I just find the whole advertising-in-the-super-bowl subject fascinating. I must say though that for a website which looks to be all about tolerance of every religion, your article is not very tolerant. I find your hypocrisy, ignorance about the concept of the Focus on the Family ad, and your blind speculation about Tim Tebow’s star power pathetically amusing.

  • CHAN THARP

    I WAS WONDERING DOES ANYONE ACTUALLY READ GODS WORD PAUL MADE IT VERY PLAIN THAT GOD DESPISE’S THE GAY LIFESTLYE IT IS TIME FOR THE TRUE BELIEVERS IN THE ONLY TRUE GOD TO QUIT TRYING TO COMPRIMSE .THE AWSOME AND ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN JUST TO BE P.C. GODS FEELING ABOUT ABORTION WAS MADE VERY PLAIN WAY BACK TO TIMES OF OLD TESTAMENT LAW.
    JESUS CAME NOT TO DESTROY BUT TO FULFILL THE LAW. THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO HEAVEN THROUGH THE BLOOD OF HIS SON JESUS. WE ARE STILL REQUIRED TO OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS PLUS TWO THAT THE LORD LEFT US LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR SOUL HEART MIND.THE OTHER LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.

  • Jath

    Considering that the Super Bowl is known for having the most “truly” offensive adds during the year the nay sayers don’t have a leg to stand on. I don’t hear anyone complaining about the animal cruelty adds that run constantly.

  • interpreter

    May God bless CBS and Tebow

  • http://TheBrentMcCoy.Blogspot.com McCoy

    OK, what in the ad is false? I haven’t seen it, but does it tell Pam and Tim’s story accurately? If so, what’s the problem.
    No aborted babies grow up to be Heisman winners…

  • Your Name

    Political correctness is a disease that will destroy our country. It is either true or not that the USA was founded on the principle that ALL are CREATED equal and endowed by the creator with the inalienable right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Therefore, those for abortion are against the principle the country was founded on. Abortion advocates say it is NOT a baby in the womb, but science defines what is there at conception (because it has its own DNA, not that of the father or mother) as a unique individual of the species homo sapiens. To say that one individual of the species homo sapiens should have their life protected and another should not is racism at its deepest level. Therefore, those who support abortion can only do so by denying science and the USA’s founding principle, and/or being racist. No other option on the table.

  • david

    Sorry, but I find CBS’s decision to be hypocritical in the extreme. Focus On The Family is actually classified as a hate group by The Southern Poverty Law center for their anti-gay stance. I find it reprehensible that CBS would air a commercial sponsored by such a group.
    Seriously, I don’t really need to know why Ms. Tebow decided to carry on with her pregnancy. Not any of my business. But when she chooses to be a shill for a hate group using the biggest TV event of the year as her platform, I have major objections. Far Right Wing driven, fundamentalist Christianity is no more representative of Christianity than a wallpaper pretending to be a Van Gogh. Don’t want an abortion- don’t have one. Don’t like gay marriage- don’t marry one. Butdon’t attempt to legislate your system of morality in orderto jam it down everyone’s throat.

  • Anna

    We need to stop confusing political issues with natural law issues. The defense of human life is not a political issue! It should be the first thing humanity can take as a given.

  • Sylvia Cary

    Thank God for Tim Tebow and his great Mom!

  • Joe

    Tebow’s ad is a pro-choice ad. His mom CHOSE to ignore her doctors and she won the lottery. So far so good. The problem is that the ad supports an organization that would deny that same choice to other mothers. So the doctors were wrong. Doctors are often right. Sadly, the take away message for some mothers will be ignore your doctors and you child will win the Heisman.

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  • Val

    I enjoyed seeing Tim during the football season. I’m so glad that he is not shy about his faith.May God keep blessing you.

  • Nancy Lynch

    Congratulations to Tim and his mother for going for an even larger touchdown!!! I am thankful they are not shy about their calling and are willing to step forward for lives and for the Lord.
    I am thankful that they do not lean on their own understanding but turn their lives over to the Lord and put their trust in Him.

  • Brenda

    Thank God for real Christians like Tebow who loves God more than silver and gold and fandom….man will be for you one minute and against you the next so I commend him for taking a stand in honor of his faith!

  • Carrie

    I find it ironic that it is a problem for this ad to air next to “boobs and beer.” I don’t necessarily like those commercials, but I don’t blog about how offensive they are. Why be harder on Christians than the beer companies? What is offensive about someone sharing a story about how they’re lucky to be alive, because someone made a choice to allow them life. Really?

  • Leah

    Not even thinking about Tim Tebow, but just the fact that an anti-abortion ad will be on during the Super Bowl is awesome. Tim Tebow is an amazing and a young adult Christian it is reassuring to see someone like him out there. He isn’t shy about his faith. Kids are going to look up to athletes and he’s giving them someone to look up to. I’m really glad he’s doing this.

  • Rob the Rev

    Tell CBS: Reject Focus on the Family Ad, or Accept United Church of Christ Ad
    http://www.change.org/actions/view/tell_cbs_reject_focus_on_the_family_ad_or_accept_united_church_of_christ_ad#letter_form
    Five years ago, television network CBS rejected as too controversial an advertisement from the United Church of Christ (UCC) that suggested churches should be places free from discrimination, including discrimination based on age, gender, race, and sexual orientation. At the time, CBS told the UCC that the network had “a longstanding policy of not accepting advocacy advertising.”
    Fast forward five years, and now CBS is prepared to run an advertisement during the Super Bowl — the largest watched television program in the entire country — from vehemently anti-LGBT organization Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family has a long history of spouting anti-LGBT beliefs, from calling gay marriage perverted, to saying that homosexuals were a threat to civilization, to telling girls that sex education strips them of their modesty. On top of that, the advertisement that Focus on the Family plans to run during the Super Bowl will take an anti-choice viewpoint.
    A history of anti-LGBT actions, coupled with tackling an issue like abortion — and CBS doesn’t think that counts as controversial?
    Tell CBS that they should reconsider their decision to run the Focus on the Family advertisement, or offer the UCC another chance to air their advertisement. Anything less sends the message that LGBT-friendly churches are controversial, while religious organizations that demonize LGBT people and women’s rights are considered perfectly acceptable.

  • michelle

    Don’t you mind Tim Tebow has the right to speak his mind? http://bit.ly/azLbXv

  • Your Name

    I totally respect Tim Tebow and his mother. He is walking the talk and giving a great witness to life. A little over 16 years ago my wife and I had to make a similar decision when preliminary tests indicated that our newborn could have Downs’ Syndrome and other handicaps at birth. After a lot of prayer we awaited the birth and were blessed with a beautiful daughter who is a talented “normal” 16-year-old. We trusted God and He blessed us. “Touchdown” for Tim Tebow. Thank you for your witness for life!

  • Allen

    I totally respect Tim Tebow and his mother. He is walking the talk and giving a great witness to life. A little over 16 years ago my wife and I had to make a similar decision when preliminary tests indicated that our newborn could have Downs’ Syndrome and other handicaps at birth. After a lot of prayer we awaited the birth and were blessed with a beautiful daughter who is a talented “normal” 16-year-old. We trusted God and He blessed us. “Touchdown” for Tim Tebow. Thank you for your witness for life!

  • Shiloh

    Thanks Tim. It takes great character for one to publicly express their core beliefs. I’m glad ‘freedom of speech’ still exists, for Christians as with other groups who spout hate & evil. And his beliefs are HIS; not yours or mine, & I respect that. We ALL have the ‘right to choose’, & DO so daily. Remember — treat others as you WANT to be treated. If we practice this, we’ll all be better.

  • http://www.auburndaleyouthbasketball.com Joseph Key

    Tim Tebow is a super star whether is plays one down of NFL. It is absolutely the right thing for him to do!

  • Alicia

    I’m no judge of whether CBS should have permitted this “advocacy ad” but I support Tebow’s First Amendment rights, including the right to tell his story. He has to live with any consequences to his career.

  • Senata

    I am glad someone is standing up for their beliefs. We are living in perilous times and Christians need to speak up. I don’t see what all the stink is all about. Why because it’s Super Bowl time no one wants to hear anything positive and encouraging. My it’s funny how people can sit and watch half naked women and think nothing of it.
    Well, I say here is something to think about. God Bless you young man and your mother. Look what the world would had miss had your mother not been a child of God.

  • momof2

    I am deeply offended by this ad. What does it say to/about the mothers who through no fault of their own CAN’T carry their babies to term. Many women have had to terminate their pregnancies due to eclampsia & other various problems. She may have been pretty darn lucky but there are thousands of us who couldn’t carry to term because we would have died (and so would the baby anyway). Our other children would have no mother as well. Incredibly insensitive.

  • Reggie’s Mom

    It takes courage in today’s world to stand by one’s convictions at such a young age. I applaud Tim Tebow for his decision to do the ad. I feel sure the ramifications were discussed before it was done. It seems that every religion is accepted except Christianity, and when the name of Jesus is mention, then that person becomes a fanatic.

  • Your Name

    I also applaud Tim Tebow for his deep faith and convictions. I also predict that with God’s help, he will have an excellent NFL career. Remember 1st Corinthians 9:25 God Bless Tim and his career.

  • Your Name

    I also applaud Tim Tebow for his deep faith and convictions. I also predict that with God’s help, he will have an excellent NFL career. Remember 1st Corinthians 9:25. May God Bless Tim and his NFL career.

  • Dorothy

    I support Tim and his mother completely. They are not against someone who looses a baby through no fault of their own. They are just supporting women who have a difficult decision to make and Tim’s mother made the decision for life of the baby, regardless of the consequences. God bless Tim and his mother.

  • http://Awesome kenna La Mere

    This is one of the best things happening in along time!!!!!!!!!!

  • Your Name

    I respect Tim and his mother to make their statements about what they believe was right and just for them and their beliefs.
    Tim’s Mother did a brave and UN-SELFISH act of choosing to go with the pregnancy. Her life and Tim’s was on the line, Yes she knew that!
    We have so many people stating their opinions for the other side to abort and the woman’s right and Her body, now people are Standing Up for the rights for the unborn!
    From what I understand about the up coming televised Super Bowl advertisement,
    there is NO mention of Politics or Religion with the Ad being supported financially by private individuals.
    I WILL be watching for the ad.

  • Angela

    He should be able to say what is on his mind and people want to hear. College kids need alot of guidence and his message is a great one!
    Go Tebow!!!!

  • Fred

    Tim need not go to be a NFL player. The entire nation knows him and Christians respect him as the his rivals. He is a hero. Why are you putting him down. Do you not have faith and a belief in the Lord? If he never fills an NFL uniform he is still the greatest leader that has ever been in college football. God gives him power and if God is in control of Tim’s life, your comments will not stop his success as a worker for God.

  • Your Name

    People have died for the name of Jesus Christ down through many centuries. I applaud Tim, his mother, and their entire family. The writers comment does not take into the fact that when Jesus returns, He won’t be counting how many touchdowns Tebow has thrown, or what NFL fans really think of him. Alientating fans and NFL potential endorsments will not get Tim any brownie points in his quest to please God. In the end, only what one does for Christ will last. I’m glad at least one “star” really gets that point!!

  • Pastor Andrew A. Monteiro

    MY applause to the Tebow family.

  • Ron

    Tim Tebow and Pam, his Mother, you have My praise for your courage and conviction in our Faith you hold so dear in your hearts! This up coming advertisement during Super Bowl Sunday may be shown with being “Politically Correct”. But We the People, understand in what “the Family” means to us Christians and people’s of the world who do respect the family unity. We do know what they are trying to get across to the world. Life is so, very special to us all. Tim and Pam are Walking the talk, while meaning what they say! God Bless the Tebow family Amen

  • Bill

    I appluad Tim Tebow and cannot understand your referance to any “CBS policy” about gay rights when stations I’ve watched for years don’t hesitate to air subjects that I view as controversial pertaining to values disquised in humor or outright decadence. While most people accept the rights of others to speak their minds you seem to find it a sore subject. I watch football every chance I get and am not offended when I see members of both teams gather together after a game to pray, as a matter of fact I wish I saw more of that. As our children watch and listen to the filth they’re exposed to every day on TV or in real life I find Tim Tebow a great role model and very refreshing indeed!

  • Your Name

    Hey, I applaud the Tebow family for standing up before the largest TV audience and speaking their mind. The problem with us Christians is we have been silent for way to long. We were silent and prayer was taken out of school. We were silent and we have Roe v Wade. All this “political correctness” is a bunch of hooey. We need to stand up and be counted. As for the UCC ad that CBS denied to air, ANYBODY that supports gay rights is in direct conflict with the Bible and God’s teaching.
    I am sure that if an NFL career materializes for Tim, he will give God the glory. If one does not materialize, he will still give God the glory.
    Way to go Tim!!

  • James Fairchild

    When God has been taken out our system, it is good to see a star like Tim that is not ashamed to let people see a Cristian. You all Know what Jesus said if you are ashamed of me ,then I will be ashamed of you to the Father

  • effie jean

    May God bless and keep you and your family in his care.I am very proud that we have Cristian people still willing to stand up for what they believe in.This country was founded on freedom of religion. I wonder if some of our leaders remember that. Thank you and your family.

  • marnor1022@aol.com

    Way to go Tim Tebow!! Does Tim really need to score a NFL touchdown to be credible? Is his “star” power seriously being questioned? Are NFL fans that arrogant that they believe their chatter is to be taken more seriously than God’s word? Didn’t Pam Tebow exercise HER right to choose? Is the problem that she chose LIFE instead of a more politically correct solution to a potentially difficult circumstance? Christians, stand up loudly for your beliefs. The Tebows are excellent role models for the silent majority to open your mouths fearlessly!!

  • Franklin D. Capps

    Way to go Tim – We as Christians need to do more speaking out about our faith, forget what non-christians say. If we don’t stand for something we’ll fall for anything. That’s what has happened in America we have fallen too far away from our christian values and are paying for it everyday. Every other religion in the world can express their beliefs,(and shove it in our face on all the news networks) but just mention something about being a christian or praying in school or anywhere else in public and listen to people whine!! Speak up America it’s getting late…

  • http://www.redletterbelievers Rupzip

    Tebow takes a stand for what he believes in. And this is wrong?
    I hate Bud Light, but I’m sure there will be commercials for that.
    And half-naked women are offensive. Think there will be some of those there too?
    Great post on this over at:
    http://redletterbelievers.blogspot.com/2010/01/super-bowl-ad-tim-tebow-christian.html

  • A DIFFERENT VIEW

    My concern with this ad, or any others with intent to sway public opinion is when we, as consumers fail to demand disclosure of the sources providing funds for them. To continue to blindly accept whatever is put in mainstream media without asking yourself or anyone else whether there is an underlying message places dangerous trust in some unknown power possibly shielding itself from disclosing policies that may have us question the intention behind the ad. I don’t wish to diminish this powerful story, but I would EXPECT to see it in a publication such as “Guideposts”. If this ad causes even ONE family pain that faced a similar situation ending tragically I pose the question: “Was it worth it?”

  • Joyce Beyer

    I think it is fantastic that Tim Tebow is willing to say publicly that he is thankful for his mother’s brave action that she took to give him life. It is a true story & as such, cannot be faulted.
    Have we become a nation that cannot cheer for the TRUTH, because we are concerned about “Political Correctness”? I don’t think that others have the right to judge what she has done, and don’t need to compare what they might have done. The TRUTH can’t be hidden; It must be praised!! I thank them for sharing this marvelous & praise-worthy story.

  • Your Name

    Tim Tebow I am so proud of you and your mother for doing all you can to help people to think about abortion and how wrong it really is just think about what that baby is going through people..please its a living human being. My God where are our hearts for our fellow man in this cruel world and the unborn children.It shows we have compassion for a country we don’t even know which is fine. But please think about the people here also in this country before its to late for us. We show no compassion for people who need our help here in the USA also..God says LOVE EVERYONE!!!so please give that some thought..and Tebow I really admire your courage and love for God..

  • Joe B

    God will bless Tim and other individuals who have spoken out publically in support of his “Right to life” position. I am also personally proud of him and CBS for being willing to air the ad at the super bowl.

  • http://Noteworthy Kent Stamm

    You raise the question about his future endorsements. Well, just take a look at Tiger. I would rather have someone endorsing my product that I know means what he says than the one who paints a wonderful picture and then does just the very opposite.

  • Martha Blazo

    I dont know what everyone was so afraid of about this ad to begin with. It’s about life not death. Its a great message. It’s the best message.

  • Bruce

    I routine route AGAINST Florida (OSU Buckeye fan born and bred!), but even I have to admit that Tim Tebow has accomplished something! It is amazing that the prochoice crowd are making so many ludicrous comments, and as far as I can tell so far the “mainstream media” is letting them get away with it! The comment that Tim Tebow hasn’t accomplished anything is totally assinine! And yes perhaps he did risk something by coming out and taking a moral stand, but your prediction about his response is probably spot on! Do we really believe that someone will change their sports allegiance because a team drafts Tebow? Find a prochoice quarterback that can throw a tight spiral and as an prolifer I still want him on my team!

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