The Controversial Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad That Wasn't

Women's groups protested; sports analysts mulled over whether it would hurt Tim Tebow's potential NFL career.

But the two TV ads that Focus on the Family ran during the Super Bowl and CBS's pregame programming were much milder than expected. They focused mainly on Tebow's mother, Pam, who decided to carry Tim to term against the advice of a doctor, while living in the Philippines with her husband and Tebow's father, who worked as a missionary. The word "abortion" was never used, nor were any other pro-life buzzwords. There was no moralizing, and no directly spoken advice that women should not have abortions.

Tebow's mother did almost all of the talking--the Heisman winning QB only came in at the end, almost as a reverse MacGuffin: the drama is in his mother's decision and how she feels about it now.

Focus on the Family, the religious group that reached out to Tebow and his family with the idea to create these ads, hadn't released them in any form (no still frames or partial clips) until they aired on Sunday. Here's the version that ran in CBS's pregame slot:



And here's the version that ran during the game, complete with slapstick ending in which Tebow tackles his mother:

If you didn't know the back story, weren't listening closely, or if you watched them in a room full of people eating chips and opening beer bottles, it was hard to tell that these were issue ads touching on one of the nation's most divisive political and policy disputes. See the Tebows talking about the ad, and their story, with Focus on the Family President Jim Daly here.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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