In a report for Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander described the rise of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, noting how the NFL player's devout Christian faith has earned him the nickname of "God's Quarterback." Alexander went on to declare: "Many Americans were first introduced to Tebow during this controversial anti-abortion ad that aired during the 2010 Super Bowl."
While Alexander's report only featured a brief clip of the ad, if the full spot had been shown, viewers would have seen for themselves the complete lack of controversy in the commercial. In fact, the ad never even used the word abortion.
Alexander noted analysis of Tebow's success: "...the 6'3" son of a pastor has defied his critics and revealed the deep-seated anxieties in America about the intersection of religion and sports." Rodney Harrison of NBC Sports observed: "He's polarizing because people don't understand what he stands for. He believes in his Christian faith and he's not afraid in today's time to come out and tell people what he believes in."
Citing one Tebow critic, Alexander announced: "And while many Christians embraced Tebow's continued proclamations of faith, former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer recently said he wished Tebow would, quote, 'just shut up.'"
Here is a full transcript of the December 12 segment:
7:00AM ET TEASE:
MATT LAUER: God's quarterback. Tim Tebow, pulls off yet another come-from-behind victory, giving Bronco fans more reason to Tebow today.
7:17AM ET SEGMENT:
ANN CURRY: Now to one of the most talked about athletes in the country right now. On Sunday, the legend of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow grew even larger with a big win over the Chicago Bears. And NBC's Peter Alexander is joining us now with details. Hey, Peter, good morning.
PETER ALEXANDER: Ann, good morning to you. This has been called "Tebow Time." He has even been referred to as "The Chosen One." Tim Tebow, that's his name, is the Denver Broncos charismatic quarterback and he has really become the face of Christianity in sports. Some have even labeled his recent on-field success a modern day miracle.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Legend of Tebow Continues; "God's Quarterback" Has Another Amazing Comeback]
NFL ANNOUNCER: Tebow fires and the catch is made.
ALEXANDER: For Tim Tebow's Denver Broncos Sunday, facing imminent defeat, another improbable come-from-behind win.
NFL ANNOUNCER: Tebow takes off, throws to the end zone, touchdown!
ALEXANDER: Just as they've done four times in previous weeks. But during Sunday's winning kick, Tebow didn't watch. He prayed.
NFL ANNOUNCER: For the win, the kick is good!
TIM TEBOW: I just figure at a time like that, it's more important to just be talking to the man upstairs and just my relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing to me so there's not a better time to talk to him than then.
ALEXANDER: In only his second season as a pro, the 24-year-old quarterback has become one of the sport's most captivating figures. Known as much for his evangelical faith as for his football. This is how he began Sunday's post-game press conference.
TEBOW: First and foremost, I'd like to thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ.
ALEXANDER: This weekend, one newspaper headline even touted Tebow as "God's Quarterback," noting that the 6'3" son of a pastor has defied his critics and revealed the deep-seated anxieties in America about the intersection of religion and sports.
RODNEY HARRISON [NBC SPORTS]: He's polarizing because people don't understand what he stands for. He believes in his Christian faith and he's not afraid in today's time to come out and tell people what he believes in.
ALEXANDER: Many Americans were first introduced to Tebow during this controversial anti-abortion ad that aired during the 2010 Super Bowl.
TEBOW: Sorry about that, mom.
ALEXANDER: And while many Christians embraced Tebow's continued proclamations of faith, former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer recently said he wished Tebow would, quote, "just shut up."
Still, Tebow has inspired an international audience, they've even come up with a name for his signature pose, on a knee, his fist to his forehead in prayer – calling it Tebowing. A website is dedicated to those mimicking the public display, including American skier Lindsay Vonn, who Tebowed for the camera. Tebow's latest on-field heroics have observers wondering whether it's skill, luck, or perhaps divine intervention.
TEBOW: Alright, y'all have a blessed day.
ALEXANDER: Y'all have a blessed day. That's how he ended his news conference. Tebow is now 7 and 1 as a starting quarterback. For his part, he says that football is just a game. He says God doesn't care who wins or loses. But, Matt and Ann, you better believe he is picking up new believers every step of the way.
CURRY: No kidding, thanks a lot, Peter. At least people want to learn how to Tebow.
[CURRY MIMICS TEBOW PRAYING]
MATT LAUER: Right and you hear all the analysts saying that he's not a good passer. He can't do this well. He's 7 and 1 as a starting quarterback, that's not too bad.
[PICTURE OF MAN "TEBOWING"]
CURRY: Look at him. Anyway, we'll all be practicing that a little bit later today.