I'm usually the quiet guy at the computer frying his retinas when coworkers discuss the previous night's SportsCenter reruns. But I'm a news junkie, so I knew a bunch of Gen Xers kneeling at their cubicles last week didn't mean they were starting a prayer meetup.
They were instead mimicking God-fearing Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, whose signature Rodin's-Thinker-meets-LA-Fitness-hornball prayer stance has inspired "Tebowing," a social media phenomenon that shares planking's prankster ethos.
Tebow's become an a polarizing sports icon, with seemingly "blessed" fourth-quarter heroics backed by larger-than-life iconography like college-era snapshots of biblical passages written on his eyeblack. Those shots are arguably as haunting as the nun with enlarged sclerae gracing The Devil Inside's movie poster. The similarities are telling; the images are laden with religious themes, and both Tebow and the film have enjoyed unfathomable success.
So, in light of Tebow's upcoming playoff game against the New England Patriots and The Devil Inside's unlikely fast start, we compare likenesses between the two in an attempt to figure out whether it's time to invest in Tebow-signed Bibles and create an eBay store.
Betting Against Odds
It's doubtful God has Denver Broncos reminders set up on his iCal, since he's probably busy telling Pat Robertson who is winning the Republican nomination, but it seems he's tuning in just in time to check out Tebow's fourth quarter play every Sunday.
You can't help but notice parallels between Bible studies and the NFL quarterback's lore. Tebow has risen like a bat out of hell since replacing first-stringer Kyle Orton at the helm despite his left-handedness, which makes him as rare as a Marian apparition among QBs. And, as I'm sure Tebow knows, lefties are bemoaned in the Gospel of Matthew's depiction of the second coming.
While the Tebow conversation has dominated ESPN, bars, and talk radio for months, The Devil Inside is a new and perhaps more perplexing topic. Despite a pathetic 6% score from online movie bible Rotten Tomatoes, the film grossed $33.7 million its first week, beating out Mission: Impossible 4 en route to securing one of the most successful January openings in Hollywood history.
In other words, selecting Tim Tebow as the 25th overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft was arguably as much of a gamble as Paramount Insurge's purchase of the 'found footage' scream fest.
As far as critics are concerned, Tebow and The Devil Inside are car wrecks you can't look away from. You can even argue the latter takes the Rebecca Black trophy.
At first, Hall of Fame Broncos QB and current Exec John Elway answered "no" with Thor-like cadence when asked if Tebow was closer to landing a starting QB gig. Months earlier, he told Sports Illustrated's Peter King that "Tim Tebow [is not] a good NFL quarterback at this time."
Advertising mogul David Ogilvy famously said "advertising [cannot] foist an inferior product on the consumer." So if Tebow upended the Broncos' advertising strategy by unleashing a wave of Tebowmania among Denver consumers, and the consumer rules, wouldn't John Elway have to come around?
Apparently so. Elway told USA Today earlier this week that Tim has "done a tremendous job." But you can't convert them all -- not since the Inquisition, anyway. Perennial hater Charles Barkley recently went on the record, calling Tebow a "national nightmare."
The Devil Inside may not be so fortunate, considering it's plot is as poorly constructed as Tebow's passing game. David Haglund of Slate considers whether its ending is among the worst in movie history, and market research firm CinemaScore reveals audiences weren't bending much either.
And this is all with good reason, too. SPOILER ALERT: Demons spread like pink eye throughout the story, resulting in an actual off-screen car wreck. Prior to the credits, audiences are prompted to visit therossifiles.com/ to learn more.
Misguiding audiences hasn't been cool since Fargo, and this brand of tightwad marketing makes The Devil Inside feels like morning sickness after a bad batch of deviled eggs. You can't help but wonder when mites will invade Paramount's bag of fairy dust.
So whose haters are more justified? Only this weekend's game will tell.
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