Go ahead, hate Tim Tebow.
Hate the hype machine that's anointed him as the second coming. Hate the around-the-clock coverage of his every move. Hate the fact that his shirtless picture rocketed to the top of Google Trends.
Go ahead, hate what he stands for.
Hate the overt Christianity. Hate any holier-than-thou perception he gives you. Hate the fact that he talks about things you don't want to hear football players talk about.
But don't spend a second of your time wringing your hands, hating the fact that he'll appear for thirty seconds during the oh-so-sacred Super Bowl.
Because when the former Florida Gators quarterback and aspiring NFL prospect appears during a commercial break of Super Bowl XLIV, it's only the next logical step in a progression that's been slower-developing than his throwing release.
The handwriting has been on the wall for some time, as bold clear as the Bible verses printed on his eye black.
Tebow wants to use his position of power to improve the world.
So he'll be there, likely sandwiched between the buxom babes of Go Daddy and the 134th beer commercial of the day, with his mother, Pam. She'll talk about her tumultuous 1987 pregnancy, when she was advised to terminate her pregnancy due to health complications. She'll talk about how she carried the baby to term and how he grew up to be the Heisman-winning, divisive figure we all know as Tim.
The ad, sponsored by conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, is the subject of a growing wave of controversy.
After all, it addresses, if not directly, the subject of abortion. A subject that inflames the public with the heat of 1,000 SEC grudge matches.
The message of the ad -- and we're really left to speculate because reports to this point have failed to paint a complete picture -- is that none of this would have happened if Mrs. Tebow had heeded the medical advice.
Many groups are imploring CBS to cut the spot. It seems everyone has an opinion.
On Tuesday, "The View" co-host Joy Behar said, "The only argument against any of it is, that, you know, he could just as easily become some kind of a rapist pedophile. I mean, you don't know what someone's going to be."
Just like Behar was able to state her opinion, Tebow should be able to share his -- so long as it's done cordially. Again, there is nothing to suggest this will be a grotesque, shock-value publicity stunt filled with attacks.
Still, it's a topic bound to get people riled up.
Most people probably prefer to keep their football and their social issues away from each other.
Tebow isn't most people.
If his first action as a "professional" football player is this, what makes you think it will be the last time he gets up on his soapbox?
In no way is this a ringing endorsement of the pro-life message. It's an endorsement of people taking a giant step back and looking at this so-called controversy in the proper perspective.
If other ads can glorify promiscuity and drunkenness, why can't the puritans have their chance to rebut? Isn't that part of what makes our First Amendment so great?
The first question is how much of a nuisance will this be to those who don't want to see it. The second is how much of an impact will it really have.
A vast majority of Americans already have their mind irreversibly made up about the issue. What makes anyone think that a half-minute of Tebow and his mom is going to affect a great change?
Without the preceding histrionics surrounding it, how many people would have just seen it air live and shrug it off as weird?
At the end of the day, it's thirty seconds of life. Thirty seconds for some people to enjoy and thirty seconds for others to turn their nose up at.
After that, it will be over. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees will be back on the screen in the big game. Conceivably, two minutes later, no one will be thinking about it.
The cynic would say that controversy is the lifeblood of advocacy groups. The more outrage, the more attention. The more attention, the bigger the impact.
Maybe this is all by design.
If there is an issue, it's that someone like Tebow, whose struggled mightily in his preparations for Saturday's Senior Bowl, is setting himself up for an uphill climb in the NFL.
Here he is, an undrafted player garnering all this attention -- much of it negative. There's a very real chance it could adversely affect a team's willingness to take him on. It's not the typical kind of baggage, but it's baggage nonetheless.
One get the sense, however, that Tebow doesn't care about that. Those who have covered him say there is no shtick to his act. This is who he is: a football player who might care more about his message than his football.
It's looking like he'll be sharing that message on Super Bowl Sunday.
For thirty short seconds, he'll have the country's ear.
Why not wait until we hear exactly what he has to say before we hate?