Tebow-Mania Persists Despite Loss to Pats

KCNC sports anchor Vic Lombardi mixes it up with Tim Tebow

Call us guilty of contributing to the media’s fascination with Tim Tebow.

Our story in the new issue looks at the Denver stations, and what it’s like covering Tim Tebow–and Tebow-Mania from the front row. (subscription required)

Tebow is, of course, the unconventional QB of the Denver Broncos–unconventional in his approach to football, unconventional in his unabashed displays of deep religious conviction on the field. Had he not led the Broncos on a recent string of thrilling late-game comeback wins, neither of the two aforementioned characteristics would’ve made for a media sensation.

Amidst all the Tebow coverage, this passage from Mike Tanier of the NY Times, previewing Broncos-Pats over the weekend, said it best:

Tebow is imbued with the competitiveness, work ethic and inspirational qualities to overcome getting shut out for three and a half quarters, which is somehow different and more desirable than possessing the competitiveness, work ethic and inspirational qualities to avoid getting shut out for three and a half quarters.

In Denver, Tebow is a story that easily transcends the sports reports. (And that’s despite being “one of the worst quotes in the NFL,” according to one Denver reporter who follows him closely.)

Yet I was struck, in speaking with the news chiefs at the Denver stations, that the reporters pretty much leave Tebow alone after he leaves practice and games. If he was in New York, surely there’d be the proverbial phalanx of media–certainly not limited to legit beat reporters–following him, finding out where he lives, where he eats, what he throws in his trash can, and of course who he dates.

That’s not the case in Denver…yet. One news director mentioned a very “western” mentality in the Mile High City: live and let live.  

“We don’t know anything about him,” says Lionel Bienvenu, sports director at KMGH. “No one follows him home. He’s given his privacy…which is strange.”

I had the challenge of making this story, which was completed late last week, still timely given that the Broncos were likely to lose to the Patriots yesterday. The sources I spoke with said Tebow-Mania runs deep enough to sustain a few losses.

“We’d have to see him lose two, three, four games in a row for people to say, maybe he’s not [a superstar],” says Tim Wieland, news director at KCNC. “He’s got very strong support in this town that, nationally, people don’t give him credit for.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.