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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. HotAirAce

    This should have been a short conversations:

    "There are no gods so there cannot be a role."

    "Agreed."

    Now if you want to talk about the extraordinary things humans have and can do simply because they believe (even though what they believe is 100% pure bullshit), carry on.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • What?

      Prove it!

      December 12, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Me

      I respect your right to your opinion. I would agree with you if you were right, but you are not.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • I'm about my Father's business

      If I'm wrong and there is no God, then so be it. If you're wrong and there is no God, then you're screwed. At least I led a good life.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Erik

      How do you know there is no God?

      December 12, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Reasonable man

      @fathersbusiness. That's called pascal's wager. It's a logical fallacy.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • HotAirAce

      It gets so tiring...

      Believers are the ones making the extraordinary claim that god(s) exist, therefore it is up to them to prove their so far unsubstantiated claims. The very best believers can come up with is "OK, we can't prove god exists but you can't prove he does not, so we win!" Wrong! If you can't prove god exists then you have to admit there is some non-zero probability that he does not. Saying "there are no gods" is shorthand for "the probability of there being any gods is so low, virtually zero, that to say there are no gods is not much of an exaggeration, if any at all. If believers were honest, they would admit that saying "god exists" is shorthand for "despite there being not a shred of factual, verifiable, independent evidence to support our extraordinary claim, we believe god exists."

      Pascal's Wager has been thoroughly discussed and debunked.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • mike

      Saying "prove that there is no God" is 100% the same thing as saying "prove that there is no holy purple cheese monkey". It's nonsensical. The burden of proof is on those who claim such existence, not on the deniers. Logic 101, kids...

      December 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  2. NorCalMojo

    CNN's Belief section is hilarious.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Erik

      Fun to watch the atheists get all worked up when you mention God.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  3. if horses had Gods ...

    "Tim's my favorite, I think he's swell ... the rest of you can go to hell" -GOD

    December 12, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  4. Abel

    I dont believe Tebow has said that him winning is a plan of God. I see it as he prays and asks for the opportunity to play and win if he can do it. Of course God doesnt have favorites in this world or a favorite Team out there. I do believe that the way Tebow prays and shares his faith is merely what the bible says to share the gospel to all creatures. He does not impose his faith to anyone or then again saying that it was because of God that he won. His prayers are always, "God, give me the opportunity to share my faith with people that do not know it". If football is the way for him to do it well so be it.

    The media are the ones saying that God is making him win and all that. Tebow has never said that. So all of you that are against this are in a way ignorant. Hear what Tebow says and what he shares and not what ESPN or the rest of media perceive what Tebow is saying.

    I do not think the issue here is Tebow, the issue here is that people are mad at God for the world and for what is going on in the world. If you have a problem with it then ask God to tell you why? I can guarantee it, He will answer you one way or another.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • mike

      Abel, God will answer? What a bunch of greeting-card caliber garbage. If he ever answered, then whomever he told would gladly explain it to the rest of us.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Luigi

      I don't know if you are correct but well stated.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  5. Mike

    If Teebow loses, does he blame God?

    December 12, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • What?

      No!

      December 12, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Luigi

      I very much doubt he would blame God.

      Mike, perhaps you should try to understand what Tebow believes. At the very least, you'd learn something.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  6. Marc

    Oh, I see the most important thing to God is winning...

    December 12, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  7. Atheist Hunter

    Mormons don't worship Jesus of the Bible.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • correction

      .. of the new testament.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • HotAirAce

      They say they do and that is good enough for me. Can you point us to the final authority on what is and is not an official christian cult, and who is and is not a christian? George, Keith, HeavenScent and others of their ilk, by their words, seem to be but there must be a higher authority.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Rhett

      http://mormon.org/faq/belief-in-jesus-christ/

      December 12, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Atheist Hunter

      No of the bible, he was spoken of in Genesis and his life was prophetically told of in the OT.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Jesus is the only son of the only God. Mormon's don't believe that. They believe they will be a god. Wrong.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Rhett

      A true Christian would not try to belittle a faith or a race. Bigotry, done with you. By their fruits you shall know them.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      That's where you are wrong again. We are supposed to expose false doctrines in an attempt to lead the lost to the feet of the REAL JESUS. Without HIM you will perish. I am telling you that you are in a false religion so that you can escape the judgement.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      The book of revelation gives a warning not to add anything to the book or take anything away from the book or you will receive the plagues of the book. The book of mormon is adding to and taking away. No where in the book of revelation do you read anything about receiving your own heaven that you will be god over and having a spirit bride, etc. I has been added to by the book of mormon against the warnings of God.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      The book of mormon is contrary to the Bible (Word of God.) God says, "I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." How come nowhere in the bible does it tell us that we can be a god? Because it is a lie from the pit of hell to entrap good people like you to believe that you can become just like your creator. Get out while you have time.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      http://www.mrm.org/ten-lies

      December 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Rhett

      Hunter please read the bible more carefully. I want you to take your bible, a combination of the new and old testament bound together works best for this. Turn to Deuteronomy 4:2 then read it and then tear every book from the right of it out and throw it away. The same verse that you found in Rev. is there too. I'll keep mine because I know that each prophet does not want you to add to here revelation.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      I believe the book of deut. and am adding nothing to it, just like revelation. It is your religion that has added a whole other book to it. Do you really believe you can be a god? Where do ya'll come up with that from the Bible?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      http://www.contenderministries.org/mormonism/bomproblems.php

      December 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Isaiah 43:10 “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”

      December 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Isaiah 44:6 “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of Hosts; I am the first and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:8 “….Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.”

      December 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Rhett..........let go of what you have been taught by others and let God show you truth, pray that he will reveal truth to you, it lies in his word, throw the book of mormon away and read the bible the book of almighty God. Hope you make the rapture. God bless you.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Rhett

      Keep quoting, I believe all those scriptures.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Rhett

      You have no idea what the BOM even is... I am reading the new testament right now. The book of mormon was written at that same period as the new testament on the American Continent. Written by prophets that were called in the West, writting about dealing that they had with Christ in America. If you don't believe that God loved the ancient people in the west as much as the east we are done here.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  8. d clary

    If this guy wants to succeed he should start acting more like Aaron Rogers and less like Jimmy Swaggart. God is invested in the outcome of football games???The next time he loses is he going to blame the devil? His attention seeking acts of piety on the football field are just as inappropriate as endzone antics and should be stopped.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Glorify God in all things! Football is the god of millions of idolaters. Maybe he put one of his in the game to get your attention. He talked through a burning bush, he parted the sea, he turned a staff into a snake, .......stranger things have happened.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • pete

      Listen jerk, we dont live in the atheist dictatorship of North Korea. This is USA and you are calling for people who express their religious views to be stopped. Who the fuc* do you think you are? If you dont like pople expressing their religious views in this country, then get the fuc* out!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  9. I'm about my Father's business

    Are there positive things that are coming from this debate? Is it possible that having a public Christian figure is the will of God? I think most would agree that the answer is yes.
    Nobody on Earth has all the answers. I can't tell you why bad things happen. But I do believe that is is possible for God to reward Tim Tebow's devout faith. Is that by giving him and the Broncos confidence or possibly something even closer to divine intervention? I don't know...but I'm just saying that anything is possible and that I have seen God do amazing things.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  10. Tonic

    It would take the shallowest person to believe that God cares about a football game. Do you think that there aren't many other Christian players who AREN'T doing so well?

    If there's an Almighty God who is so immature as to allow genocide, wars and starvation happen while he's cheering on the Broncos, then the Universe is an absolute joke – and it would make God closer to being a devil.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  11. Seriously

    I highly doubt God cares about football. IMHO anyone who actually considers this a serious question needs to spend more time reading and understanding the Bible.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  12. maurice

    Why are we making a big deal of this? Not once have you heard Tebow say (aloud) that God is the reason they are winning. Tebow isn't going around preaching to the press that God is on his side or on the Broncos side. Here is a young man who simply believes in God and isn't afraid to say it. Not once has he tried to "force" religion on anyone. I guess we just don't like sports unless there's some sort of scandal going on with it. In a time when our children need role models, we have one. I truly believe that if Tebow got hurt tomorrow and couldn't play another game, I believe he would be content. Let's stop all the madness and just let him play.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  13. shut_up

    Your a bunch of idiots! God is on Tebows side? No Tebow is on Gods side.
    This goofy writer along with the rest always includes magic? magic is of the devil. also luck is derived from lucifer. magic this and luck that.
    have faith in GOD and something good might be heading your way. If you want to follow Jesus, fine, the other alternative is you might lose your life then you might take the elevator down............

    December 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  14. nodule

    HAHAHAHAHAHA

    Yeah it's God that made Marian Barber run out of bounds like an idiot, it's God who made him fumble. God kicked the 59 yard field goal and the 51 yard field goal as well.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • shut_up

      He could have. why dont you laugh at GOD and later today see how your day is going..........

      December 12, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • AceRyder

      I'll laugh at god. If there's a god, strike me dead now.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • nodule

      LOL

      Get an education!

      December 12, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Me

      Your'e right. It was!

      December 12, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • AceRyder

      Whoa! Hey, i take that back. An air conditioner just fell through my ceiling and missed me by " " that much. God really IS on Tebow's side!

      God bless Tebow. All bow to Tebow.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  15. George

    Just to be clear the combined record of the teams the Broncos have played (at the time they played them) since Tebow became starting quarterback was 31-38. The teams they beat had a combined record of 26-36. If that is what it takes to have "God on your side" then there are more than a few teams with God's favor playing in the NFL right now. I would argue God may like the Broncos but he has a hard on for the Packers.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • shut_up

      Rebukes to the likes of you. your an atheist and GOD will see how far you go in life. Madeline ohare was an atheist and her killer said her last words were oh GOD. what will your last words be.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • George

      Nothing like a death threat to prove you are one of God's true believers.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  16. manhandler

    I am not a believer in the myth of some God, but respect Tebow's unabashed demonstrations of his beliefs. The idea that some God would be interested in something as frivilous as a football game is ludicrous, but his belief by itself may well give him the confidence to never give up.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  17. popcorn

    The bible talks about Aniconism. They strict ban people worship idolatry as God. Abrahamic religions would ban people worshipping idolatry sport and the use the term "God". Many early jewish writings. They ban jews from worshiping a cult because society would transform abomination. In the Ancient times. They began to overlooked society worshiping horse images and sports.

    the worship of idols (or images)
    the worship of polytheistic gods by use of idols (or images)
    the worship of animals or people
    the use of idols in the worship of God.

    Few years later, EARTHQUAKES that shook the world. People worship satan. Not God.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  18. a believer

    I am a Christian but would never push anyone to believe the same way I do. That's a personal choice between you and God. I was not put on this earth to judge others only to love others and be a witness for God. No matter what you think about Tim Tebow or any other believer of any other religion, think about this. If you are here now, you were born. If you were born you will someday pass on from this earth. What then? This life is temporary. 2 choices, which will you make? Love in Christ 4 you all!

    December 12, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  19. robert

    Disgusting, demoralizing, and depressing. The very fact that people would even have a discussion, including Tebow, that god might somehow have selective interest in football, is a referendum on faith in general in this society, and says volumes about how serious we take god in the first place. Those who would take this serisouly are more atheist that those who actively profess to be so. Unbelievable.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  20. Rich

    I think that, if there is a god, his biggest priority is not who wins a football game. With so much suffering in the world, do you really think that the almighty is watching football? It is the height of arrogance on Tebow's part to imply that god is helping him at football.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:41 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.