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Tebow’s success has commentators, fans discussing God's role in football
December 12th, 2011
06:51 AM ET

Tebow’s success has commentators, fans discussing God's role in football

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Tim Tebow led his team to another come-from-behind victory Sunday, this time against the Chicago Bears. He has now won seven out of eight games as the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback, all the while unabashedly preaching his devout faith in God.

"If you were not a believer coming into this game,” said Fox's Daryl Johnston after the Broncos win, “you have to be now.”

While Tebow’s unexpected success on the field has perplexed football commentators and fans alike, his faith and on-field success have led people to talk about belief, miracles and their impact on the sports world.

Tebow has even convinced some nonbelievers that more is going on than just football. Les Carpenter of Yahoo Sports, after assuring readers that he believes in evolution, dinosaurs and the big bang, writes this:

"But I also believe in Tim Tebow because there is no scientific explanation for what is happening to the Denver Broncos. There is no other plausible way to make sense of these games and the amazing, miraculous way with which they win week after week. … It just happened."

The question is this: Does Tim Tebow’s unexpected success, with his awkward scrambling style and his shotput-esque throwing motion, have something to do with a higher power?

Does Tebow really have God on his side?

The answers to that question run the gamut, and while the general consensus is that something special is happening in Denver, there are just as many who believe Tebow is benefiting from a good team as those who believe God sports the blue and orange on Sunday.

Bronco fans are not shy about discussing faith and their team.

In an article titled “Tim Tebow has the Broncos believing they can’t lose,” Mark Kiszla exhibits an overt belief that Tebow is getting help from upstairs. He writes:

“The magic of Tim Tebow is bigger than football and grows larger with each late-game miracle by the Broncos. Logic fails to explain this no-way-in-heaven, overtime victory against Chicago, unless you consider: Denver played as if victory were preordained.”

Looking for religion in that paragraph (between the uses of miracle, heaven and preordained) doesn’t take reading between the lines. And that wasn’t even as blatant as when Rick Telander of the Chicago (the town Tebow just defeated) Sun-Times appealed to God directly.

“And God, if you’re reading, doing some Monday-morning quarterbacking, would you mind telling the rest of us what’s up with this proselytizing young minister who did nearly a full minute of his famed “Tebow-ing” on the goal line, balancing motionless on one knee, chin on fist like Rodin’s “The Thinker,” while the rest of his team lined up for the opening kickoff?”

Telander even offered to speak in tongues, which surprisingly enough wasn’t the first time that idea came up on Sunday.

Former New York Giant Michael Strahan, when asked about Tebow after the game, jokingly spoke in tongues after the game to show his astonishment at the win.

But not everyone is a believer.

In post-game interviews, Bears players told the Chicago Sun-Times that “It’s not really what he is doing” and that no one was panicked because it was “Tebow Time.”

People online were equally skeptical.

If deciding whether Tebow is God’s quarterback were a football game, Twitter would be the field. Believers and skeptics have used the platform to make their case between a mixture of hash tags and fake accounts.

People tweeted about Chicago’s bad defense and Tebow’s rough three quarters. They also asked why God favors Tebow’s belief, while players on other teams believe in God, too. What makes him special, people questioned?

A fake Jesus Christ account, @Jesus_M_Christ, tweeted: "I think Dad loves @TimTebow more than me."

With all of this talk on Twitter, including from the Tebow doubters, four topics relating to Tebow, including #tebow and #themilehighmessiah, were trending worldwide on Twitter.

But not all football fans are ready to ordain Tebow. The New York Times’ Frank Bruni, who did acknowledge that he was a believer in Tebow, writes about this disbelief:

“Tebow performs a sort of self-righteous bait-and-switch — you come for scrimmages and he subjects you to scriptures — and the displeasure with that is also writ colorfully on the Web, in Tebow-ridiculing Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, one devoted entirely to snapshots through time of Tebow in tears.”

“We’re a team that keeps the faith,” Tebow told Fox sideline reporter Tony Siragusa after Sunday’s game. “We just kept believing.”

Whether it is belief in God, good play or a mixture of both, the quarterback whom the Wall Street Journal has anointed “God’s Quarterback” will continue to start for the Broncos - and fans will certainly be watching.

And maybe that is Tebow’s biggest accomplishment. In a year when the sports world has been rocked by scandals both on and off the field, Tebow has people interested in a positive sports story.

So whether they are watching because they believe in miracles or because they just like football, does it really matter?

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Sports

soundoff (2,257 Responses)
  1. tony

    Do footballers in heaven get obscene salaries up there too?

    December 12, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  2. bobodamonkeyboy

    God has money riding on the Broncos.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  3. Mel

    This is the dumbest story on CNN I've ever read. I'm embarrassed for you, CNN. If there is a God (and I'm pretty sure there's not) don't you think she (!) has more important things to deal with than a stupid football game. I mean really.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • joco

      He even created you. He believes in you even if you don't in him...

      December 12, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • derp

      Does your birth certificate say "god".

      I didn't think so.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "He believes in you even if you don't in him"

      until you die, whereupon apparently he hates you so much for your lack of belief that you will burn for eternity.....in his love and mercy.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Solitairedog

      Cedarrapids, logic is wasted in the Belief section.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      yeah, i know Solitairedog, but i keep hoping that maybe one day, you know?
      gotta have faith 😛

      December 12, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  4. mary

    God has to be flat on his back laughing right now. Tebow is positive, that's it. He has a 'God-given' talent and has worked hard. If he wants to give God credit, let him. But he is delusional if he thinks that God is running the plays. We are here to love each other, to work together to solve the Worlds' problems. God has given us all the Power we need, brains to use and all the tools we need to fix whatever needs fixing. Mankind needs to step up, period.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • pete

      Tim Tebow would agree with you.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  5. Zach G.

    I can't stand this. God is helping Tim Tebow scored touchdowns and win football games but ignoring the starving people in Africa, the young children with cancer, and the millions of other people who are sufferring in their lives? Give me a break. That doesn't just go for Tebow, it goes for any players who pray to God after scoring a touchdown or winning a game. If God is seriously helping you win football games, then his priorities are messed up.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • organically

      Yes, religion is the biggest scam in the history of humanity

      December 12, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • truth

      so God should keep everyone misreable because another set of people are "misreable"?. do you know how God is helping the pple starving?! have you ever met or spoken to them. yes they are poor but majority of them are happy. rather than in this country where you have food, yet depression rates and suicides are on the rise. stop talking abt what you do not know.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'do you know how God is helping the pple starving?! have you ever met or spoken to them. yes they are poor but majority of them are happy"

      yeah i remember seeing the videos of those people dying of famine in ethiopia that were just having a gay old time what with their laughing and joking as they buried their babies and children.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • truth

      further more, are the "millions of people suffering" calling on God. Or is he supposed to help you when you do not accept his help? he gave us free will and offers his services. if you reject it, he will not force it on you. he will remain waiting till you call on him. Note: i am not saying everyone suffering is rejecting God's help. I'm saying some are. the rest who accept his help, they are in better mind frames. the point is that life is not merely superficial. you can judge my outside and equate it with my inside. because i have cancer, doesn't mean i am misreable. or because i am rich doesn't mean i am happy.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • truth

      cedar rapids: did you ever see one of those mothers/fathers/children in ethopia, using their wrappers to hang themselves. i mean if there were devoid of hope and happiness might as well just end it now rather than a painful later. yet, in America men/women/kids are shooting themselves in the head

      December 12, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "truth – cedar rapids: did you ever see one of those mothers/fathers/children in ethopia, using their wrappers to hang themselves. i mean if there were devoid of hope and happiness might as well just end it now rather than a painful later. yet, in America men/women/kids are shooting themselves in the head'

      Well no because they were actually trying their hardest to keep their other children alive anyway they possibly could.
      but seriously is that your response? they couldnt have been that unhappy because they didnt kill themselves after their kids starved to death?

      December 12, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  6. Will

    His success must come from the hand of God, because heaven knows it isn't his football skill that's winning those games. Still can't throw a football to save his life.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • organically

      Religion is the biggest scam in the history of humanity and the main cause of war

      December 12, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  7. God NOT on Tebow's side - Tebow's on God's side

    At least get this one right folks, God is not on Tebow's side – Tebow is on God's side.
    The Lord does have a sense of humor and wants to keep you all on your toes.
    Tim is just a good way to remind us all to be good witnesses of the Lord and to keep working and trying.
    "Peace on Earth goodwill to all."

    December 12, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Bob

      yeah, and Tebow sacrifices a goat before every game and burns it at the altar, just like your horrid bible commands you to do for your disgusting "god".

      Yes, Jesus said those nasty OT rules still apply, so get your sacrificial knife bloody or god will torture you forever.

      No thanks You can keep your sicko Christian supersti-tions to yourself. Quietly, please.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • organically

      Peace and good will is by people only because religion is the biggest scam in the history of humanity

      December 12, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      yeah just read the OT to see what a sterling sense of humour god apparently has.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Feloiterous

      Hey "goddy": "to remind us all to be good witnesses of the Lord". bla bla bla
      Lord Rodgers is king, and the Packers are his knights. That's the only football roundtable that counts in my book.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  8. Jamie Smith

    I am a christian, and do believe that God works miracles. I think it is possible that God has helped Tebow. That said, what bothers me about all this build up of excitement etc is that at some point Tebow is going to lose, and then he will be run through the dirt as a farce, etc. All the hype from the media etc is just really setting him up for a massive failure, which will be really sad, because what he has done is very remarkable, and he may just be remembered I'm afraid (though I hope not) for the let down when he does lose.

    What I see is some remarkable comebacks, and remarkable QBing, and a man who attributes his success to God. When he finally loses, let's admire the awesome run he had, and not jump all over him.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • organically

      Religion is the biggest scam in the history of humanity

      December 12, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Jamie Smith

      Wow, what a terrible run-on sentence. I should have read over it more closely before hitting post!

      December 12, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Feloiterous

      I agree Jamie. Tebow is 'still' mortal. His dog days will come like every athlete experiences.
      I don't mind that Tebow is playing an inspired game of football. Good for him, whatever works. Athletes draw strengths from whatever they believe in: money, love, ego, fate, his team mates, a parent who passed away, stereoids, etc.

      You are right, the media and his own worshipping fans are setting him up for a bad let-down. If Tebow matures as player, he'll deal with a slump and work his way out of it. Just like good athletes do.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  9. Speechless

    IF THEY BEAT THE PATS..... I WILL CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY

    December 12, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Solitairedog

      You see, my friends? Imagining God interfering in the outcome of a football game makes a joke of God.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  10. energyrater1

    First of all you have to have something to believe in, an idea, a goal a desire. You can't just say "God please help me!" You have to make the sacrifice, and the sacrifice is not fun, believe me. You have to initiate your own start, and not go at it halfway. But the concidences, the crazy doors that open, this is the stuff people write about. Sorry non-believers, but it is true. And who says God can't have a little fun on the football field? For a guy who was never supposed to be a quarterback, maybe God is saying, live a good life, believe and this could be YOU.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • organically

      Religion is the biggest scam in the history of humanity and has caused more strife in world history than everything else combined

      December 12, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  11. Amilli

    Like 25k people die everyday from starvation...so....unless god is a sick **** he isn't messing around with meaningless football games.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  12. LuisWu

    Absolutely. God hates Chicago.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • organically

      God and hate go hand in hand since most wars are caused by religious differences among people

      December 12, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  13. help us

    Oh you liberals that just can't stand it when anything other than what you believe gets talked about and gets priority. I guess you like it more when professional players have afairs, children out of wedlock, etc, etc.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Solitairedog

      Well, you tell me why this article is in the BELIEF section and not in the sports section?

      December 12, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Bob

      Good name choice. You need help.

      I'm a conservative, and I think you're a fool.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • organically

      Liberals and conservatives are equal vicitims in the lie that god exists

      December 12, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Feloiterous

      Need some help? I think you do!!
      Have you never heard of a conservative atheist? Has nothing to do with being liberal. Read some Ernst Juenger, who carried his atheism through 4 years of WW1, AND survived. I guess that's a bigger achievement than one football game or 5 games of 60 minutes each.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  14. KC

    This article is a joke, but I am just glad that the Tebow haters have to watch him win.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Solitairedog

      I don't hate Tebow, I don't know him. Not a sports fan. What I dislike is mixing up sports with god. That's just dumb!

      December 12, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  15. Solitairedog

    Sure. God watches football and picks one team to win because a fellow makes a big show of worshipping him. I'm sure that is more important than saving the lives of millions of women and children under the guns of oppression, desease, starvation. But if your team wins, it must feel so manly, so godly that none of the other stuff matters. Our country could do with a re-examination of it's priorities and mythologies.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Mike

      Well said!

      December 12, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • stormchaser1983

      amen

      December 12, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • S D Spencer

      If there was any holy intervention in the Brono's winning streak, it was delivered via the field goal kicker.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  16. Adam

    All of this is going to become moot next week after Tom Brady comes to town and throws for 500 yards!

    December 12, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  17. Jesus occupied!

    Stupidity of Americans is amazing. Makes me smaful I am living here, surrounded by a mob of retarded people. Gawd help me.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Just_One

      Feel free to leave at any time.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • joe

      Wow, way to lump an entire country into some category because you read one article written by one person. The stupidity of you amazes me

      December 12, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • GZ

      You spelled it Gawd and we're the stupid ones?

      December 12, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • B

      Go back to where you came from then. As if there aren't any idiots where you come from... oh yea... There's freedom and Jobs here! This red-blooded American 'idiot' forgot that part...

      December 12, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  18. if horses had Gods ...

    This whole idea is just plain embarrasing. Everyone who believes in a God shoud be upset by this contention ... it belittles your faith & makes believers look foolish.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Bob

      Almost there. Believers are foolish.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  19. Jeff

    Denver isn't winning because of Tebow, God, Jesus, or magical faeries. They're winning because their defense is playing well enough to keep the opponent's score below Tebow's level of ineptness. Put a crappy defense on Denver, and Tebow becomes a sub-par QB struggling for his job.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • pete

      Then how do you explain that Brocos were 1-4 before Tebow came in as QB and are 7-1 since. And Brocos defense hardly played a role against Vikings givng up over 400 yards of passing. If Tebow had not passed for 191 yards in 4th Qt completeting 18-24 passes against Bears, There would of been no field goal and no win. Give it a rest already with Tebow didn't do anything. It is getting old.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  20. Scott

    Stories like this suggest strongly to me that many so-called christians are really atheists.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • if horses had Gods ...

      Couldn't agree more. Most professed Christians are actually Atheists but are afraid to admit it .. even to themselves.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Solitairedog

      Amen, brother.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:47 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.