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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 12/29/2011

Bill Maher vs. Tim Tebow: the tweet that roared

Bill Maher takes aim at Tim Tebow. (© Fred Prouser / Reuters)
The news isn’t all bad for Tim Tebow. Sure, he’s been the target of a particularly barbed Bill Maher tweet. He’s been called a flesh-and-blood Ned Flanders. Kids are getting into trouble for Tebowing at school. And, yes, he had a devil of a time Saturday against the Buffalo Bills, throwing four interceptions in the Denver Broncos’ second consecutive loss.

But he’s also written the top-selling religious book of the year (his “Through My Eyes” memoir) and has been named the most-coveted celebrity neighbor by Zillow. He’s a Pro Bowl alternate and his Broncos are in the mix for a playoff spot.

All of which probably more than compensates for the criticism Maher leveled at him during Saturday’s game. Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” and an atheist who is outspoken in his criticism of religion, let him have it in a tweet that invoked Jesus, Satan and Hitler and took a jab at Tebowing: “Wow, Jesus just f----- #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler ‘Hey, Buffalo’s killing them”

Maher is, as they say, no stranger to controversy, whether his target is politics or religion. (Before his Tebow tweet, he wished everyone a “Merry Mythmas.”) His post-9/11 comments helped precipitate the cancellation of “Politically Incorrect,” his conversation about “hate sex” with Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum in July drew calls for the cancellation of his HBO show; he starred in the movie “Religulous.” It’s no surprise that he’d rip Tebow for a poor game.

Tebow has always been outspoken about his Christian beliefs, and has been a lightning rod for those beliefs. He and his mother filmed a pro-life Super Bowl ad in 2010 before he even joined the NFL. He hasn’t addressed Maher’s comments, tweeting only: “Tough game today but what's most important is being able to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas everyone GB².” (GB² stands for “ God Bless + Go Broncos,” according to Tebow’s website.)

Tebow can have the last laugh and gain a measure of sports redemption Sunday. All he has to do is win.


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