DENVER (AP) - Tim Tebow inspired a phenomenon when he dropped to a knee and began praying as his teammates wildly celebrated around him after an improbable overtime victory in Miami last weekend.
Jared Kleinstein was mesmerized by Tebow’s peaceful demeanor kneeling on the turf amid all the chaos that ensued. He launched a website in which fans could submit photos of themselves “Tebowing,” which means getting down on a knee and praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.
The trend is picking up steam.
There are kids getting ready for ballet performing the pose, an airline pilot just before takeoff and a construction worker on a rooftop. Recently, Kleinstein even received a photo of a solider in Afghanistan emulating Tebow’s pose.
Almost overnight, it caught on through social media. He went from an audience of 785 to nearly 390,000 in just a few days.
The amount of pictures he’s receiving also is staggering. Just Friday alone, Kleinstein had to sort through more than 1,300 snapshots to post on the site.
On Friday after practice, Tebow said he appreciated the spirit of the website.
“Yeah, some people don’t necessarily take it seriously but they’re on their knee praying, so who knows what you’re going to think about after that and how that can affect you?” Tebow said. “Hopefully, it’s a good example for people.”
His teammates have even taken part. Rookie linebacker Von Miller tweeted a photo of himself Thursday in a Tebow jersey and doing the pose.
“Tim Tebow’s a celebrity and I’m on Team Tebow,” Miller said. “I’m one of his biggest supporters and want to see him do it all.
“That’s the way he prays. So what better way to capture that than to have a `Tebowing’ thing like that?”
All it took was a small miracle to make it “Tebowing” time.
The former Heisman Trophy winner from Florida was abysmal for the opening 55 minutes in Miami. Then, Tebow turned electric as he brought the Broncos back from a 15-0 deficit in the final moments to force overtime, where the team pulled out an 18-15 win. It’s the largest deficit overcome in a victory with less than 3 minutes since the 1970 NFL merger.
“When we won the game, the people in the bar were jumping around as if the Broncos had just won the Super Bowl, even though we had only beaten the last-place team in the league,” Kleinstein recalled. “I just looked up at the screen _ the team is celebrating and he took a quick bow. I just said, `That’s Tebowing. That’s how we should pay tribute.’”
Soon after, he decided to launch the website.
Not only does Kleinstein post the photos, he also captions them. And they’re quite hilarious.
For instance, there’s a picture of a person with a bowling ball in a lane striking the pose with the explanation, “Tebowling.” On another, there’s a person perched on an exercise ball with the slogan “Tebow to the core” underneath. In yet another, a man in his office has a caption reading, “President and CEObowing.”
Tebow understands that. He recently received a tweet from a kid who’s undergoing cancer treatment that melted his heart.
“It said, `I’m Tebowing while I’m Chemoing,’” Tebow recounted. “How cool is that? That’s worth it right there. If that gives him any encouragement or puts a smile on his face or gives him encouragement to pray, that’s really awesome. And that’s completely worth it for me.”
There are even other standouts in the Mile High City getting in on the act. Colorado Rapids forward Omar Cummings dropped to a knee and did the pose after scoring a goal in a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew on Thursday night in an MLS wild-card soccer game.
“I think what’s funny about it is how rapidly it’s caught on and how much it’s taken off,” said Tebow, whose Broncos host the Detroit Lions on Sunday. “I had no idea, then Von texted me what he did. Goof ball.
“But then going back and looking back and seeing everything, it was like, `Wow this really took off.’ That’s what’s really incredible about it.”
Even if it might not be completely original.
After all, dropping to a knee and praying after a game has been around for, well, quite a while.