In part, it stems from the fact that he’s too apparently flawless to evoke much sympathy from the uninitiated. Other candidates for the Super Bowl of Saintliness overcame hardships or cite humanizing failings: Mr. Warner initially failed at football and stocked supermarket shelves before his astonishing comeback, and Mr. Hamilton derailed his career with drug addiction before Jesus redeemed him. As to the Jewish players, no one in the United States fears imposition of theocracy by a traditionally persecuted minority amounting to 2% of the population.
Mr. Tebow, on the other hand, not only reminds the public of the conversionary ambitions of most evangelicals but also displays the intimidating perfection of what might be termed the “Mitt Romney Syndrome.” On New Hampshire primary night, the beaming appearance of the Romney clan made one of my friends physically ill: “All those handsome, perfectly controlled, wealthy, teetotalers with their gorgeous wives—I wanted to vomit. There was something unearthly about it. Like some weird superior race on the planet Krypton.”
In the same sense, most males look at Mr. Tebow and see a virtuous rebuke to our own limitations and imperfections. If we were 24, single, supremely athletic, enormously wealthy and adored by millions of young women, how many could still wear Tim Tebow’s “purity ring?”