Super Bowl: Are you ready for some religion?


Usually the discussion about Super Bowl TV ads is reserved for the day after the Super Bowl.

For the last few months, I’ve been wondering how the nation as a whole will react to Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, a tremendously talented player (and, from all accounts, a wonderful kid) who is one part quarterback and one part preacher. When his NFL career starts next season, the league is likely to get him to tone down the religion. He might be better off with a Bible Belt team.

We don’t need to wait long to find out if his “in his face” religious views will cause a controversy in the NFL. An advertisement from James Dobson’s Focus on the Family organization, aimed at the Super Bowl audience, will tell of Tebow’s mother’s decision not to have an abortion. The baby turned out to be Tim Tebow.

Generally speaking, Super Bowl ads are politics free. A few beer ads with calmations dalmations and clydesdales, some pop superstar drinking Pepsi, and babies spitting up while selling stocks are the usual fare.

But some of the big money is pulling out of the Superbowl commercial biz, and CBS is trying to attract advocacy ads to replace them.

It’s not going over well with some groups. “An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year, an event designed to bring Americans together,” Jehmu Greene, president of Women’s Media Center said. It and others women’s groups are protesting the ad.

The irony here, of course, is that in protesting the commercial, the groups are giving the Focus on the Family message far more than it could get for the $2.5 million it costs to buy a 30-second ad in the Super Bowl.

Update. 3:05 p.m. – The Guardian (UK) points out that this ad was rejected by CBS for the Super bowl in 2004. Here are some of the other ads rejected.