If you haven’t heard about Tim Tebow, the Denver Broncos quarterback whose every action is guided personally by the Almighty, then you are probably living in a shack in the woods somewhere. You’re certainly not on Twitter, where Tebow’s 80-yard touchdown pass provoked a (sports-related) record-setting outpouring of brief, impassioned messages on Sunday night.
According to Twitter, activity peaked at 9,420 tweets per second just moments after Tebow threw the winning pass, pushing the Broncos to a 29-23 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s the most sports-related tweets per second in history, according to the Web site, exceeding the previous record of 7,196 tweets per second following Japan’s victory over the U.S. team in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
It’s not entirely clear what high tweet volume means, however, as record-setting tweet volumes aren’t necessarily correlated with blockbuster events (at least from a traditional media perspective). Indeed, the highest volume of tweets ever recorded -- 25,088 per second -- was achieved around the TV debut of a Japanese animated film, Hayao Miyazaki's “Castle in the Sky,” on December 9… which I missed, and further confess I wasn’t even aware of.
In any event, it’s not surprising that Tebow’s winning pass provoked a Twitter storm, considering how controversial the Denver QB has become in recent months. Whether or not you believe God interests himself in the progress of an NFL franchise, Tebow’s prayers on the gridiron and other public expressions of piety are virtually guaranteed to elicit some kind of reaction, pro or con, neatly adumbrating the secular-religious divide in this country.
Who says football doesn’t mean anything?