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Tebowing is a photo fad named after Tim Tebow in that involves getting down on one knee, placing one’s elbow on the knee and fist against the forehead, similar to a prayer or Thinker’s pose, named after the Rodin sculpture.
The fad originated from the Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow, who was photographed in the position as early as December 2010. The pose itself is similar to the body building A Christian, Tebow is known for praying in this stance before games. However, on October 23rd, 2011, Tebow was photographed dropping to one knee after the Broncos came from behind to beat the Miami Dolphins 18-15.
Jared Kleinstein took the first Tebowing image outside of the Sidebar in New York City that Sunday night, which was posted online to his Facebook account and received numerous likes. The next day, he created a Tumblr blog dedicated to showcasing pictures and purchased the domain Tebowing.com on October 25th. The site defines the act as “to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.” Within the first 48 hours of launch, the site had well over 175,000 visitors and the term went viral.
On October 27th, the act was covered by Yahoo! Sports, the Huffington Post, NFL.com, AOL Sporting News, Bleacher Report and NY Daily News. The same day, Tebowing was a trending topic on Twitter in the United States. Tim Tebow became aware of the fad and tweeted about it on the same day. He also retweeted what he called his favorite Tebowing photos: a child undergoing chemotherapy and his teammate Von Miller.
Various notable photos of people Tebowing surfaced on the Tebowing blog where people can submit photos of themselves or others Tebowing in various situations and environments.
Following the viral rise of the photo fad, ESPN writer Bill Williamson posted an article about NFL quarterback Tim Tebow with a skeptical outlook on his performance as a passer for the Denver Broncos.
I hate to jump to early conclusions, but it is safe to say Tebow currently is far from being a competent NFL quarterback and that the Broncos have arguably the worst quarterback situation in the NFL.
Since its publication via ESPN on October 31st, the article has spawned a lengthy chain of comments from the readers and football fans naming a wide range of things that are deemed better than Tebow. As of November 2nd, the article shows over 5,000 comments posted by the readers. The phenomenon has spread over to Twitter with the hashtag #OccupyTebow and the account @OccupyTebow, a reference made to the trending hashtags that have been associated with the ongoing Occupy protests across the United States. The comments and tweets follow the simple format of mathematical inequality, as in “X is greater than Tebow” or X > Tebow. The iterations range from other NFL athletes and celebrities to technological innovations and equipments like Netflix and dial-up modems, according to Mashable.
Adoption into English Language
On December 13th, 2011, various news publications and sports blog Yahoo Sports reported that the term “tebowing” has been accepted into the English language by the Global Language Monitor, a publication that tracks and analyzes trending terms in the blogosphere, the top 75,000 print and electronic global media, as well as emerging social media sources.
Though it isn’t an official agency, the Global Language Monitor has been giving recognition to new words that meet the criteria of minimum citations on the English-speaking web. The president and chief word analyst Paul JJ Payack explaind its choice:
“Sports have become significant generators of new cultural trends and memes that transcend the athletic arena."
Tebow Touchdown Passes Twitter Record
On January 9th, 2012, after Tebow made a touchdown pass resulting in the Broncos first playoff win, Tweets related the quarterback’s pass broke Twitter’s record for tweets related to a sports event with 9,420 tweets per second, which beat Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement of 8,868 tweets per second. The new record was subsequently covered on Mercury News, Mashable and NBC.
Yahoo! Sports – Introducing Tebowing. It’s like planking, but dumber.
Huffington Post – Tebowing Takes On Planking In Bid For Hottest Internet Meme Stardom
AOL Sporting News – Tim Tebow has masses taking a knee as inspiration for ‘Tebowing’