CBS, already likely to score an epic Super Bowl rating given the NFL’s season-long surge in viewership, has picked up new momentum: It will have the most controversial TV ad — perhaps the only really controversial ad — to ever air during America’s biggest TV show.
The 30-second spot comes from the Christian advocacy group Focus on the Family. It features Tim Tebow, who quarterbacked Florida to two college football titles and won the Heisman Trophy and now becomes the rare athlete who goes anywhere near associating with a controversial issue outside sports.
Even before the ad became one of Google’s 10 most-searched topics Tuesday, Tebow was publicly defending it: “Some people won’t agree with it,” he said Monday. “But I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe.”
We’ll see. Tuesday, a coalition of dozens of advocacy groups called for CBS not to air the ad. Said Jehmu Greene, president of the Women’s Media Center and a coalition spokeswoman: “An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event.”
What exactly is in the ad? It’s easy to speculate that it will involve Pam Tebow recounting how, while pregnant with Tim and getting sick in the Philippines, she ignored doctors’ advice to consider an abortion. Given that already public backstory, the protest coalition’s statement suggests the ad will use “one story to subtly dictate morality to the American public” and “encourages women to disregard medical advice, potentially putting their lives at risk.”