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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. Chazbo

    Cut me loose Zeus.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  2. Chuck

    Does Tebow really have God on his side?

    In Joshua ch. 5 and 6, we read of the famous Fall of Jericho. On the night before the battle, Joshua has trouble sleeping, so he gets up for a little walk. Along the way, he encounters a fierce-looking soldier in full battle dress with his sword drawn. Joshua does not recognize the soldier, but hie does see that this soldier clearly "has the drop" on him. Joshua asks, "Are you with us or with our enemy?"

    The soldier does not answer the question but instead declares, "I am the commander of the Lord's Army."

    The soldier is not with us. He is not with our enemy. God does not take sides. God is a side to be taken.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • yeahalright

      nonsense =/= mystical wisdom

      December 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  3. voice of reason

    Let Tbow play the Ravens or Steelers and see which side god is on.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • derp

      God is clearly a Packers fan. Undefeated!!!!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  4. Tom Leykis

    1. The earth is 4.5 BILLION years old.
    2. Evolution is BOTH a FACT and a SCIENTIFIC Theory.
    3. Dinosaurs existed.
    4. There is absolutely NO empirical, scientific, academically accepted proof that "jesus" ever existed.
    5. The whole "Noah's Ark" thing? A Myth!
    6. The entire concept of "god" or "gods" are myths created by man to explain that which their simple minds could not, thousands of years ago.
    7. Scientology has as much merit as christianity, islam, hindu, shintoism, etc.
    8. MOST of christianity is directly lifted from Mithrasian faiths and earlier religions ALL of whom had a virigin birth, Christmas, etc.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Erik

      You fail miserably in your understanding of the one true God, go back and do your research and turn to God before it too late for you!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Harry

      Really? The New Testament isn't truth that Jesus existed? Let's not be silly.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • QS

      "The New Testament isn't truth that Jesus existed?"

      Nope, it isn't....just like a book written about a haunted house isn't "truth" that ghosts exist.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Tom Leykis

      Erik, I hate to tell you but the myths were created just for people like you. Educated, intelligent, inquisitive people don't believe in such rediculous myths.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • JeanneLH

      I'm sorry that you have nothing to turn to when you're in trouble and nothing to look forward to after this life is done...

      December 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Chris

      Since you seem to deal in realities. Face the reality of what atheists have accomplished when given absolute power. When atheists have gained power in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, Cuba, North Korea, and Cambodia under Pol Pot; all that resulted was a complete loss of freedoms; millions of deaths, economic ruin, and depression of the human spirit. You atheists have nothing to offer and past realities show that, but I love your Christmas music.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Get Real

      Chris,

      Communism is a political and economic system.

      Atheism does NOT = Communism.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • kim

      Tom Tom
      Tell me all about your life and why it is so important that the bible is wrong. Be honest and you begin to break the bondage to sin in your life.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  5. JDJ

    God cares about what happens to Tim Tebow and every other person. God is at work in the world and uses many different things, including football, to draw people to Himself. The real story is that Tim is a follower of Jesus and is using the platform given to him to show people the way. I have no doubt Tim will do the same thing when his time in the sun is done.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Tom Leykis

      Nobody cares about myths.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Unfortunately Tom, far far too many do...not only that, but take them as literal truths.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  6. Kevin

    I am a Christ follower and I believe God can care less who wins on a grassy field in some city on this planet. But I do believe that Tebow is being used as an example like this article states. With Penn State and all the bad happening in sports why cant God use this, Tebow's drive to succeed, as an example of what faith can do for you personally or even globally. Tim is not breeding dogs to fight or getting DUI's are beating women or stomping on fellow players. No he is playing a game. That's all, its just a game. I don't believe God really cares who wins or loses, but he does care for the players and those watching. We were given free will to think for ourselves. Some people just over-think everything. Many over-think this situation!

    December 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Tom Leykis

      Riiiiigggggghhhhhhtttttttttt!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • QS

      Seriously, do you hear yourself....? We were given free will to think for ourselves....just don't go using it to think too much!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Kevin

      NO QS, Sometimes people over-think things to the point that its ludicrous and they miss the real answer. That's all I meant

      December 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • QS

      "Sometimes people over-think things to the point that its ludicrous and they miss the real answer."

      Like how so many overthink this whole "god" thing....I agree, it gets pretty ludicrous.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Kevin

      Whatever my atheist friends....If it doesn't matter to you, then why are you here in a religious blog defending a view point and wasting your time? I'm here because its interesting, your here just to spread hate is what it looks like. See ya and have a great day.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Hitch

      dont worry kev, theres always gonna be some sort of unbeliever who tries to turn the tables back on you. Even if you said 2+2=4, they still wont agree. just look below.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • QS

      Oh, that's right, I forget that because it's the "Belief Blog" only "believers" are allowed an opinion....that always throws me off. Sorry, I'll try to remember my place next time....that is what religious people want after all right, for everybody to simply remember their place and fall in line with your personal beliefs?

      My bad, I overstepped and have now committed the worst offense possible – I have expressed an opinion contrary to that of the religious!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  7. The Runner

    All of this assumes there is a GOD.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Exactly

      December 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Erik

      What assumption? when it is the FACT!!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • QS

      Brainwashed, indoctrinated fools claim to know something for fact that cannot be known, only believed.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • yeahalright

      As much of a fact as Santa, the tooth fairy, Easter Bunny, the wicked witch and any number of pretend characters from fiction. i.e. it is a fact that J.K. Rowling invented a character called Harry Potter. True statement. Problems come in when people, like you apparently, believe fictional characters are real.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  8. Bob

    This article is ridiculous. And the religion blog makes me hold a general contempt for CNN.com. I'm an atheist. Wake up people.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • kim

      Most people I run into with hate for god and christians are hiding sin in their life or hiding from sin. What's your flavor?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Chris

      but, you read the article instead of just ignoring it. It has always amazed me the amount of time you atheists put into the effort of saying and preaching that there is no God. 70 years of Communist Atheist education did nothing to deter the religious beliefs of the Russian people. More people attend religious services in Communist Atheist China than in Western Europe. Just admit you are on the losing side.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • yeahalright

      How can he hate what doesn't exist?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • kim

      Yeah
      That hate is proof the real and shines a light on Bob's sin. Otherwise Bob would just skip along in life unaware of god or the truth that Bob has been exposed

      December 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • yeahalright

      So wait a minute. If I hate something that proves it's real? Yikes I should expect Ben Linus from Lost seasons 2-5 to be walking in the door any second. Won't hold my breath though.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • kim

      Yeah
      You skipped right over it didn't ya? The fact the bible shines light on sin is the proof not the fact Bob is in bondage to sin

      December 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  9. if horses had Gods ...

    A Witch put a spell on the football which enables these last minute wins by Denver ... makes as much sense as the God/Tebow scenario. Wait, maybe fairy dust .. it could be so many things!

    December 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  10. Linda

    As a UF grad and citizen of Gainesville I am very happy for Tebow and his success. HOWEVER~ he does not win games alone, and in the last two I DO believe it was the field goal kicker that actually got the points. REALLY CNN, this article is just pandering for ratings.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  11. John Luma, Moorpark CA

    You couldn't write a Hollywood blockbuster better than this real-life Tebow thriller. It's amazing that if you put the miracle man in horn-rimmed glasses and a suit and tie, he's a dead ringer for Clark Kent, alias... Superman! The same studly looks and guileless aw-shucks personality. Add in the unconventional playing style, total embarrassment of the know-it-all football pundits and his impassioned belief in God's grace - and you've got the next hero America is always looking for. Who says real life can't be like a Spielberg fantasy adventure? We're seeing a new sequel in 3-D every Sunday!

    December 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • derp

      He has won a few games against lousy teams and you are comparing him to Superman?

      He is a gimmick du jour that NFL DC's will soon easily figure out.

      When they get bounced from the playoffs by a real football team will you finally agree that if there is a god, he could not give a crap less about football.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  12. wharkavy

    I think that G-d has as much to do with Tebow's football-playing as He does in all other worldly things, which is to say, much. HOWEVER, the issue is not whether or not some Divine Hand is guiding Tebow's own (which I feel is utterly ridiculous, by the way), but rather - the problem is the growing zealotry surrounding Tebow. Tim Tebow is not a Savior. Of course, people have always had the inclination to think of their favorite athletes (when they're on a roll) as gods - why should this be any different?. . .

    December 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • yeahalright

      What does god have against the letter "o"?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  13. Sunshine1167

    I wish people would just stop talking about this young man and let him play football. (Maybe he should commit a few crimes so he fits into the NFL better.)

    December 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • QS

      Maybe if this young man would just play football instead of trying to make it his own personal church people would leave him alone.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  14. yeahalright

    Hey as long as god gets the responsibility when they lose too. Hardly ever hear that though. All of the credit, none of the blame.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • derp

      Jesus made Marion Barber fumble twice yesterday.

      Jesus likes Tebow better than Marion Barber, but less than Aaron Rodgers.

      Rodgers is by far Jesus' favorite

      December 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  15. movement31

    stop this bull crap..is god on his side..you religous freaks make me sick

    December 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Chris

      but you still watch the game; right??

      December 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • AcertnChristian

      Sounds like you need a hug my athiest friend. Jesus loves you!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • derp

      "Jesus loves you!"

      But he does not like Marion Barber or Jerry Jones.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  16. Jeebus

    Why is God a HE? Gender is for reproduction, to pass on DNA.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Xtopher

      God has to be a herm.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  17. batteryinme

    Jesus works through him......and every other quarterback that moves a group of 10 other men closer to a painted piece of grass with a few minutes left on a digital timing device in a game made up in America and played by millionaires who malevolently try to harm one another while throwing and holding and kicking the skin of a fellow mammal on the holy day.......AMEN......(or if you worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster rAMEN!). Religion is a joke (period). That some try to invoke the presence of a supreme being as having influence on the outcome of a sporting event shows how truly shallow religious ideology is. And the "almighty" lets 1000's die of starvation daily-but direct 2 minute drills in American cities on NFL fields. FUNNY!

    December 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Matt

      All hail the cynical atheist.

      Tebow's trying to feed those 1000's when he's not playing football bud. Why don't you try and open your mind to a little bit of faith, doesn't necessarily have to be Jesus.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Kat

      Hey – I worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I'm offended.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  18. popcorn

    TIM TEBOW is false of GOD. just like HAROLD CAMPING.... Remember May 21, 2011 some crap like that.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Erik

      Tebow never claimed he is GOD, stop spreading LIES!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  19. gaucho420

    The fact that CNN even entertains this idea is slap in the face to journalism, AND GOD.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  20. JESUS FREAK

    I am a Tebow fan and a Jesus Freak! I love it! Say what you want to say, people are curious and want to know. The gift of God is without walls and He does whatever he wants to do. God be Glorified..yes, even football, America's idol!

    December 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
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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.