The point is, Timmy, that just because people say they admire your missionary work and your Bible-verse quotes and your constant invocation of Jesus' name doesn't mean they actually do. Your appeal outside the South is already woefully limited. Add in the fact that you're happily wading into the public debate on the more acceptably debatable portions of Christian doctrine, and you're just giving everyone a good excuse to write you off. I admire your guileless good will, Tim Tebow. But nobody likes a goody-goody. This, after all, is America.
I would go back to my usual "exceptionalism" argument: We simply haven't seen an athlete like this before, so I understand why it's hard to see an analogue in sports marketing history.
Do fans want their heroes to be epically flawed (or not so "goody-goody?") It's possible, although isn't that more from circumstance of their available options than by choice?
I continue to think that Tebow will rack up endorsement deals: Sports drinks, shoes, video games -- and, yes, products geared for evangelical consumers.
Ultimately, there will have to be some sort of validation on the field. I remain convinced that can happen (not necessarily as a full-time QB to start), although I recognize I'm in the minority.
But even though there are plenty of haters, you have to look no further than the stands in Mobile -- and the reporters' notebooks, too -- to recognize his popularity and marketability.
HamNo is right about one thing: Tebow has graduated from the provincial world of college football media to the pros, including Gawker. The Super Bowl ad has only multiplied that.