Tim Tebow making Jesus more popular?

Categories: Sports

Yesterday, we noted that Tim Tebow's rib injury during the Patriots game was similar to one sustained by Jesus during the crucifixion.

A bit of a stretch? Maybe -- but no more of one than a new claim that the Chosen One's popularity is rubbing off on a certain savior.

So say folks at Business Insider, who've just published a piece entitled "Jesus is Now More Popular Thanks to Tim Tebow."

As evidence, they offer the following chart tracking Google search volume since the NFL lockout ended in July:

Courtesy of Business Insider
Author Cork Gaines's interpretation: "As Tebow's popularity has increased, so has that of Jesus. And everytime we see a peak in Tebow's popularity, we also see a peak in the popularity of Jesus. In fact, since the onset of Tebowmania, the popularity of searches for Jesus on Google have increased by approximately 50 percent."

To test this theory, we did our own Google trends search over the past twelve months -- and the charts we wound up with aren't exactly mirror images of each other. Here's the one for Tebow....

tebow google trends chart.jpg
...and here's the Jesus chart.

jesus google trends chart.jpg
However, we at Westword have certainly done our bit to make the Business Insider hypothesis come true -- by featuring a record-setting number of Tebow-related Bible verses.

If that doesn't get us into heaven, nothing will.

Follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.

More from our Sports archive: "Ten Bible passages to heal you after loss by Tim Tebow and Broncos."

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not more popular, just more PROFITABLE.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Business Insider missed the most salient implication of its chart:  Tim Tebow is now almost twice as popular as Jesus! 

As for the question posed in the headline, I have no difficulty believing that fans' appreciation of religion is influenced by the performance of Denver's starting quarterback, and any number of religionists have used football as a tool of proselytization.

Cork Gaines
Cork Gaines

Certainly other factors can influence how often people search for Jesus on the internet. For example "B" in your 12-month chart coincides with Easter. Also, comparing Tebow and Jesus over 12 months is not really that relevant. Tebow did not become a topic of discussion on the national landscape until the last four months or so. There is no reason to think Tebow would have had an influence back February, for example. But there are plenty of reasons to think he could be influencing searches now.

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