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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. joe

    GOD BLESS YOU.MERRY CHRISTMAS,Can't find decent people in this satanic gone country.

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

      Happy Holidays!

      December 12, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Erik

      Funny how satan gets riled when you mention God.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Ah, yes it's one big sporting event between "God" and "Satan" isn't it? The world must look very simple to you.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Religion is weak

      Satanic ?? Just because clowns like you believe in an invisible man that lives in the clouds who supposedly 'loves all of us' (and apparently Tebow a little bit more) .. does not mean those of us who DO NOT believe in the invisible man are evil.. keep your mouth shut before 'Hey-zeus" sticks something in it ...

      December 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  2. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Yes God has his hand in football. He answered my prayers with the cheerleader's uniforms God chose.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  3. pete

    I am not religious but I understand that as an American you have the right to express your religious views. Tim Tebow is not a politician and holds no office and he can express his his belief in God if he wants too. Those of you that dont think he should ought to shup your pie holes and understand that we dont live in the atheist dictatorship of the world calld North Korea where you cannot express your views as a Christian. Maybe that is where some of you intolerant bigots ought to go live since you could fit right in.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • EnjaySea

      No Pete, I'll stay right here in the US where I have the right and the privilege to believe or disbelieve anything I choose. I won't "shut my pie hole" as you put it, just to appease you and your christian friends.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  4. russell

    First, Tebow didn't kick those field goals. Second, really, if God picks sides in sporting contests, then I seriously have to re-evaluate my belief system.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  5. Charlie

    Please jump off the nearest cliff if you think your deity prefers one sports team over another.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  6. Marc

    If God has so much to do with Tebow winning, what can the less successful who have just as strong beliefs as Tebow feel like?
    Why does he only have time for Tebow? Why is God not held accountable for any of the bad things that happen?

    I think all this proves is that on the Raiders, Chiefs, Jets, Chargers, Vikings and Bears there is no one who believes in God.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  7. Susan

    If Tebow and the Broncos attributed their success to their belief in themselves and strong teamwork, there would be no controversey. So he attributes it to God....big deal! It's their faith. combined with skills and talent, that is making them successful. I hope they are enjoying the moment.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • kim

      It is a big deal because the majority of god haters on this site are gay or have other "sin" that the light of the bible has pointed out. Exposed and angry at god.
      Dawkins was gay and it is amazing how atheists are so ashamed of gay they hide the fact the majority of gay people are atheists

      December 12, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • HotAirAce

      kim, are you sure you're not over-compensating for your own situation, not that there would be anything wrong if you are gay or an atheist?

      December 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  8. popcorn

    CNN should not talk about SPORTS and God. It's blasphemy.

    blasphemy.... blasphemy.... blasphemy.... blasphemy!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  9. Nate

    Personally I think the tooth fairy has a greater impact on sports.... especially in hockey.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  10. TiredODaCrap

    God could care less about the outcome of any football game! Could it be that Tebow is actually a little better athlete than anyone will give him credit for? The media mixing their disbeleif of Tebow's ability to his faith in God is ridiculous – and I am saying this as a Christian. The guy just finds a way to win, and plays his heart out – PERIOD. The guy is a believer in God, and lives out his faith – PERIOD. There is no reason that the two MUST go hand-in-hand.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  11. JD

    CNN loves to push people to post anti-God rants with provocative "articles", doesn't it?

    December 12, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Erik

      It is article like these that bring the negative energy that atheists have buit up.
      Fun to watch all that anger in words!

      December 12, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  12. Matt

    No this isnt God...there are plenty of very religious people on the teams he is beating and it wouldnt make sense for God to just help tebow. the reason for their win streak and the manner of the victories is this 1. Tebow is a born flat out winner. He just has the natural drive and will to win 2. They have a nasty nasty kicker who just continues to pound through clutch field goals week after week. 3. The broncos have an incredibly clutch defense. 4. Luck ( which i suppose could be attributed to God if you want it to)

    December 12, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  13. captnavenger

    I can't believe such a ridiculous article made it to print, much less that the author sought to remind us (just in case we didn't realize it), that the Twitter account attributed to Jesus was likely not really his.

    And Les Carpenter's comments... I am not sure which is more ludicrous – that he wrote what he did, or that somebody thought it worth repeating here. Football is nothing if not explainable scientifically. It's all physics. The reason Tim Tebow has had some success has everything to do with inertia, deflection, momentum, angle, thrust, and a host of other real-world, explainable factors.

    CNN should be ashamed for putting this up. This sort of speculative pandering is exactly what is wrong with this country. Perpetuating the myth that God is a red-blooded, football lovin', country music playin', Christian American, is precisely what keeps us mired in this dark age.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • JD

      Your rant proves CNN has achieved its purpose – sparking more anti-Christian rage.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  14. EnjaySea

    Funny how god seems to like all the same sports that we do. I mean, what are the chances?!

    December 12, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  15. Luigi

    What's with the CNN poll? "Is the success of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow attributable to God?"

    1. Success at what?

    Football? Providing preachers around the U.S. with sermon material? Can people see how those questions could be answered differently?

    2. If I'm correctly following the rules of logic (and I might not be) then if God doesn't exist then the answer is always yes. (The statement would be true because including it wouldn't invalidate an argument where the statement exists. It also wouldn't validate it. Just would have no meaning.)

    So, all atheists should be answering yes...

    Or did I get it wrong? (I'm looking for opinions from people who actually have an A in a college level logic class. I took my class at Syracuse and I did get an A. But this doesn't mean I'm correct. Just means I got an A.)

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

      Logic dictates that a degree in logic secures you a job in the fast food industry.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  16. mike

    The Broncos won that game entirely due to Marion Barber's running out of bounds and fumble, AND the Broncos AWESOME KICKER. Tebow played no part in what won that game. He did even get them particularly close to field goal range...the KICKER did all the work.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • o.k.

      So, he didn't throw a touchdown?

      December 12, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • JD

      Except when Tebow got them in position for a 28-yard FG in the first half and the kick failed.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • Luigi

      Of course Tebow played a part in the game. He played in it. I think you mean something other than what you said. Please clarify.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  17. popcorn

    FOOTBALL SHOULD BE WATCH BY RICH PEOPLE... Not religious and poor people.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • What?

      It is, only rich people can afford to go to the games. The poor watch it at home on commercial tv for free!

      December 12, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  18. ChiWhiteSox56

    Yes CNN, let's all discuss this. Because our nation isn't quite polarized enough.

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

      Polarization = web hits = advertising $'s = profit for CNN
      They don't care about our best interest & fact reporting.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  19. Ade

    Joel 2:17
    New International Version (NIV)

    17 Let the priests, who minister before the LORD,
    weep between the portico and the altar.
    Joel 2:17
    Let them say, “Spare your people, LORD.
    Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
    a byword among the nations.
    Why should they say among the peoples,
    ‘Where is their God?’”

    God has a great sense of humor, He knows Tim Tebow is not just making up his belief in HIM and has therefore made people wonder how he does it...God works in mysterious ways....Believe it or Not...

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

      So God is making Tebow a blasphemer?

      December 12, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Religion is stupid

      need I say more.. You really believe God is helping Tebow play football ?? Just goes to show how shallow you religious folks really are.. "the magic man in the clouds".. complete nonsense.. you should be ashamed of yourself..

      December 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  20. Nancy

    For crying out loud, people! Lighten up!

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

      Well said.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:53 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.