At the time of this writing, in early October, there are rumblings that Tim Tebow could unseat incumbent Mark Sanchez as the New York Jets’ starting quarterback. Are we in for another round of Tebowmania?

A quick recap for the uninitiated: Tebow wears his Christian faith on his sleeve, proudly referencing it in interviews and displaying it in his now-legendary habit of kneeling to pray on the football field (resulting in the meme of all memes: Tebowing).

Now, I’ve never met Tebow but in the interviews I’ve watched and the anecdotal comments I’ve heard, he comes off as very genuine in his expressions of faith – which puts him in stark contrast to the legions of pro athletes who seem to sprinkle their postgame comments with references and thanks to God because they think doing so will burnish their images.

Beyond the obvious, who, exactly, are they trying to impress? Their wives and girlfriends? The owners of their teams? Potential sponsors? And for every person who appreciates their piety, how many more are turned off?

With that as a backdrop, I read with interest a press release that crossed my desk last month from Phoenix-based Grey Matter Research on a study of Americans’ reactions to athletes who display how they pray.

The firm surveyed a demographically representative sample of American adults to gauge their responses to several different types of religious expression. As taken from the press materials, they include:

Athletes from opposing teams gathering on the field or court after a game for prayer. Of those surveyed, 55 percent feel positively toward this, 32 percent don’t care one way or another and 12 percent feel negatively.

Athletes speaking up about their faith in interviews after the game (such as saying, “I want to give God the glory for this”). Fifty-two percent feel positively, 29 percent don’t care and 20 percent feel negatively.

An athlete making a rel...