Tebow has merged sports, religion and politics at various times. For the moment, it hasn't seem to hurt his popularity no matter how polarizing he is. There were 7,848 "Tim Tebow" items for sale on eBay as of midnight Thursday. Nor has it affected his performance on the field. The Denver Broncos quarterback is 7-1 this season heading into Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. Tebow has defied conventional wisdom - being able to bridge all three of the most emotional and potentially divisive issues among us.
If Tebowmania doesn't sink against the Pats on Sunday, it may have come close to "jumping the shark" during Thursday's debate in Iowa. It took Perry about 30 seconds into his first answer (at the 53-second mark of the clip below) to play the "Tebow" card. Perry said he can overcome his earlier debate struggles, low standings in the polls and be the "Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses" by pulling off a come-from-behind-victory :
At least Perry got his facts right when citing Florida's two national championships under Tebow. But he didn't let up. In his closing statement, Perry quoted a famous NFL player "whose name doesn't come to mind," who apparently said: "If you don't get your tail kicked every now and then, you're not playing at a high enough level." Is that anything like Bill Belichick saying: "On a football team, it's not the strength of the individual players, but it is the strength of the unit and how they all function together."
Politicians on all sides of the aisle fumble the ball trying connect with voters by dropping sports references to sound like they're in touch. Having the Super Bowl, World Series or Olympic champs on the White House lawn is a slam dunk since everybody loves a winner. But too many times pols look foolish when they go jockular.
Perry's comparison to Tebow and his closing quote reminded us of some other notable cringe-inducing sports analogies we've heard over the years from candidates and elected officials from both parties. Here's a "fair and balanced" look:
Our favorite. This "inonic" moment of Boston's Mayor Menino recalling Super Bowl champion Adam Varitek:
There was the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's classic introduction of home run kings "Mike McGwire" and "Sammy Sooser":
We had Sen. John Kerry's outspoken admiration of Red Sox slugger "Manny Ortez" (who hit 84 home runs in 2004 and eventually tested positive several times for PEDs). Kerry also renamed "Lambert Field" in Wisconsin and lauded the home-state "Buckeyes" in Michigan while running for president. It didn't hurt as he carried both states in the 2004 election.
While at a GOP debate in 2007, Romney spoke of the "87 long years" Red Sox fans endured between World Series titles from 1918 to 2004. During the 2010 campaign for the U.S. senate, Martha Coakley accused Curt Schilling of being a Yankees fan. And several of the Democrats hoping to unseat Scott Brown just last week struggled to answer the simple question of "In what years did the Red Sox win the World Series in this century?"
Watching this one is about as painful as waiting for Perry to drop that third cabinet department. We do get our correct answer in about 41 seconds, not 41 minutes, thanks to Jim King:
The baseball allegiances of presidential hopefuls were routinely called into question in the 2008 election. Both presidential nominees dropped the ball making football analogies during that campaign while making stops in Pennsylvania. In July, John McCain subbed in the Steelers for the Packers during a campaign stop in Pittsburgh while recalling an oft-told story about his days as a POW. McCain apparently altered his story to suit a pro-Steelers crowd. A couple of months later, then-Senator Barack Obama called Penn State the "Nittaly Lions":
If only that was the worst thing that could be said about Penn State these days.
If we missed any sports-related political gems, let us know. Meanwhile, we have another 11 months before the next election. Sports fans everywhere brace yourselves.
Don't forget to join our weekly Patriots in-game fan chat Sunday against the Broncos. We'll get it started at 4. This one should be wicked pissah. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don't forget to follow us on twitter @realOBF. Thanks for reading. Pass the clicker.
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