Move over, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. A quarterback who has yet to play an NFL game has stolen the Super Bowl spotlight.
Tim Tebow, who just finished his college football career at Florida, will appear with his mother in an ad paid for by Focus on the Family. According to reports, Tebow's mother will describe how she was advised to have an abortion but chose to give birth to him. Pro-choice groups are upset, and CBS defends its plans to air the ad.
CBS has been selling 30-second spots in the Feb. 7 Super Bowl for about $2.7 million each – slightly less than NBC was able to command for last year's game – and still has some advertising time left to sell.
A CBS spokesman said the Tebow commercial was subjected to the "full standards process that all ads go through" and accepted only after the script was reviewed.
The network nonetheless finds itself in a difficult position because, several years ago, CBS rejected ads – some intended for the Super Bowl – from left-leaning organizations, including MoveOn.org, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the United Church of Christ, which advocates gay rights.
Last year, CBS rejected an ad that portrayed President Obama as an unborn child.
Sports Illustrated columnist Andy Staples weighs whether the ad could affect Tebow's NFL future.
There may be plenty of Christian Tebow-haters in college bases throughout the country who change their mind about him because they're so thrilled that a young athlete will stand up for his faith and his beliefs in an era when such athletes are met with scorn by the secular crowd.
Tebow's opinion on one of the nation's most contentious issues likely formed in the womb. Had Pam Tebow followed doctor's orders in 1987 and aborted her pregnancy, there wouldn't be a Tim Tebow for TMZ to publish shirtless photographs of. The younger Tebow won't apologize for his stance, even though he knows a lot of people will hate him for it. Tebow refuses to be one of those corporate jocks who only worships tiny pictures of Benjamin Franklin. That's probably for the best; we don't tend to learn what those jocks believe in until a 9-iron hits a window.
"I don't feel like I'm very preachy about it, but I do stand up for what I believe," Tebow said. "Unfortunately, in today's society, not many athletes tend to do that. So I'm just standing for something."
Mark Moring has more CT's movies and TV blog.
In other Super Bowl news, Erwin McManus, pastor at Mosaic in California, produced a commercial for Doritos, which is offering up to $5 million in prizes to winners. McManus's ad is among six finalists.
The ad portrays a man who stages a funeral so he can eat Doritos in a casket. "It's a miracle and a divine comedy that we've made it this far," McManus told USA Today. "I think it's God's sense of humor."
Finally, be sure to check out Christianity Today's February cover story on football. If you don't have it in your mailbox yet, it'll be online soon.