Friday, January 6, 2012
Contributed by Auggie
What do Tim Tebow and Kim Kardashian have in common? Not much really. They’re not exactly neighbors on the moral spectrum but they are members of the same club; the one where people are famous just for being famous. How else to explain the amount of publicity they each receive?
We all know about the power of the media; it can considerably influence public perception from politics, to news, to sports and entertainment, and it can create a story out of thin air and beat us over the head with it until we are begging for mercy. TT and KK simply represent two recent examples of said power. I defy anyone to correlate the magnitude of publicity these individuals receive with commensurate accomplishments. You can’t.
Not that any harm is being inflicted. These examples are relatively innocuous save for the extreme annoyance they cause curmudgeons like me. At least with Kardashian I can ignore the hyperbole - and believe me I do. Unless for example I’m casually flipping through a copy of US Weekly in the checkout line and inadvertently happen upon her Aruba beach pictures. Which has never happened by the way. No, really. Forget it, let’s move on. With Tebow on the other hand it’s difficult for me to ignore the hype. You see, as a sports fan I occasionally (some would say often) tune into sports programs with the sole intent of seeing what’s happening in the wide world of sports. Regrettably, to get a few nuggets of real sports news once must first endure an extended ceremony of grown men and women drooling on themselves as they wax poetic about the great Tim Tebow. It was cute for the first 600 hours but now it’s embarrassing. I wish I had a hot line to the producers responsible for this nauseating display of blabber so I could offer some customer feedback. I’ll have to settle for this blog.
Before anyone takes me up on the challenge of explaining Tebow’s popularity, let me first debunk a few notions you may be considering: A) Is it his religious views? Can’t be. Half the NFL players share his views and after every game there is a prayer circle at the center of the field with players from each team participating. B) Is it his unorthodox, run-first style of playing QB? Please. Many QB’s have relied on their legs more than their arms dating way back to Bobby Douglass and more recently Kordell Stewart. They couldn’t complete a forward pass either. C) Is it his charity work? Again, a majority of NFL players give back to communities and organizations around the world, and many don’t even seek publicity for it. D) It must be his spectacular comebacks right? Not so. The hype started long before his first comeback in Miami and has continued despite three straight losses.
As a final exercise, let’s compare Tebow to Cam Newton. For you casual fans who haven’t heard of Newton he is a rookie QB for the Carolina Panthers, and the reason you haven’t heard of him is that he receives a fraction of the attention Tebow gets. But like Tebow, Cam Newton lead his college team to a national championship, won the Heisman trophy, is an electrifying runner, and is a charismatic leader who connects with people. Where Newton differs is that he has already accomplished much more in his rookie season than Tebow has in 2 years; Cam set an all-time rushing record for QBs breaking Steve Grogan’s 30+ year old record (bummer), he has set a rookie record for passing yards and become the first rookie ever to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season. These are accomplishments the pundits thought impossible due to the lock-out which eliminated all rookie camps and opportunities to work with team coaches. Amazing. If Tebow had accomplished this he would already be running for president of the United States and would be the Pope to boot.
There is no plausible explanation other than the media has adopted him as the chosen one. The publicity tends to expand like a chain reaction: attention begets more attention which leads to more attention which leads to exclusives and profiles and documentaries and on and on. Eventually, any responsible media outlet has to talk about him because in their own words “he’s the biggest story”, even though no one knows why. Except that he’s the chosen one