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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. matt

    Yes! Obviously the other teams are made up of godless heathens and/or pagans sacrificing goats before the game!

    December 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  2. sam

    This is a pathetic article. If there is a God, his concerns should be most focused on the 80% of our world population who live in poverty. If there is a God and he cares more about football than the squalid conditions most of our fellow humans live in, then he is not a being worth praying to.

    If there is a God let's hope he's focusing his attention where it matters. Not on bllsht American entertainment

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

      What makes you think that He isn't concerned with all of it?

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

      The point is, there ISN'T a god. If you'd just consider that possibility for a second, everything makes a lot more sense! It's amazing how much energy people waste trying to think of explanations for why god does things without even considering the obvious answer.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  3. scott

    im just sayin new england will kick the crap out of him and prove god works in mysterys ways lmao

    December 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  4. PackerFan

    Funny... How the Packers are 13 – 0 and it has nothing to do with "God". Just because Tim Tebow preaches everywhere he goes, doesn't mean that God is making him win every game. Give me a friggin' break. What happens when they lose? That's when God says, too bad Tebow – I'm not on your side this day? And the last game, was due to the kicker... Not Tebow.

    God is a delusion and Atheism is the truth.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  5. MTP

    See this doesn't make sense at all. Tebow's winning football games. Let's not blow this out of proportion and call these victories miracles. Plus, I'm not sure if god is pulling for any one person over the others. I'm sure there are plenty of religious people on the opposite teams.

    Maybe give Tebow some credit in all this.

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

      Tebow deserves some credit for his football play and some criticism for his inability to keep his religious views out of his football interviews.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  6. Michael

    Just a few words: Free Will. Yes, God exists, but the energy of the creator is not focused on winning football games. Each of us has a spark of God inside of us, and we have the freedom to choose our actions.

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

      That clears it up, thanks. It must be nice to be the only person on the planet who knows how it all works.

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

      Which god exists? Zeus, Ra, Poseidon, Dionysus, Osiris?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  7. USmellLikePee

    If Tebow was a true christian he'd be cheating on his wife, embezzling money from poor, brainwashed smucks and touching kids.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • 4mercy

      You must lead a sorry life.

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

    I would love to see TIM BEBOW send thunder on Football team and cheat the whole. It would be FUN TO WATCH.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  9. Nick

    I'm sure God has a lot more things to care about than a football game... And I'm a devout Catholic and football fan.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  10. Colin

    God is on his side? Imagine how bad he would be if God was indifferent to the outcomes of his games.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  11. popcorn

    Tom Leykis....

    ATLANTIS DOES EXIST and SO AS PLANET-X.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  12. Copenhagun

    Nevermind the DEFENSE, coaches, players, their will to win, talent, LUCK.... SERIOUSLY?! If there was a GOD, it sure as hell wouldn't CARE about a pointless football game! Tebow and the Broncos are inspiring without the notion of any GOD. The fact that Tebow prays to win, which means, by default, he's asking HIS idea of GOD to make the other team lose, has no bearing on anything. God is no Bronco's fan. He's obviously a Packer fan, take a look at Aaron Rodgers and that SuperBowl ring and win streak?! Seriously, I bet three fourths of those guys pray to GOD and believe in some type of religion too, but if it came down to Tebow vs. Rodgers, I think a GOD has already made that decision. 🙂

    December 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • 4mercy

      How do you think God will get the attention of all the football fans he intends to convert? He has to do it somehow...even if it means going through a football player. It got you listening enough to respond. Perhaps you will respond to His call.

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

      I'm a former Christian. I shed the idea of a GOD in my late 20's. There is no GOD, just you, and tons of other folks like you, that love to give that voice in your head credit and call it GOD. GOD is your Superman and is going to save you from the inevitable if you only BELIEVE and have FAITH in what you can't see! You are a gullible lot you are, and so was I. GOD is a myth that is unproven. Just accept the fact that you don't know, and accept the fact that someday you will die, as I will someday. I will not waste another moment of my precious life praising an invisible man in the sky, that also brings us the ultimate cruelty, DEATH. The afterlife is a fairytale.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  13. ClearlyMindful

    We all know that God is not supportive of the Denver Broncos. God is a huge Barcelona soccer fan. Has been for years. Get over it Bronco fans.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  14. Whoknows

    Did you hear about the dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac? He stayed up all night wondering if there is a dog.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  15. Bruce Hurdle

    For all you atheist and non-believers - Printed on every dollar are the words "In God We Trust".

    Maybe our forefathers were on to something.

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

      Currency didn't exist before the Civil War.

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

      That's your argument? That term was added to our currency in 1956. LOL What a moron.

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

      This is the problem with my fellow Americans. They are just plain ignorant.

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

      It takes about 2 seconds to look on wikipedia and see that it was paranoid politicians in the 50's who implemented that motto, not our founding fathers. It came from fear of communists, not the divine inspiration of the framers

      December 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • derp

      "Maybe our forefathers were on to something"

      Except that our forefathers did not put it there.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • streetsmt

      ... and before anyone says anything about "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, that was added in the 50's too.

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

      Also- didn't jesus throw the money lenders out of the temple for cheapening religion with commerce? Do we honestly think god would be happy his name is scrawled on the implement of greed?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Paul

      Yup, our forefathers all the way back in 1956.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  16. Arlene

    I'm pretty sure god is not making the broncos win football games.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • 4mercy

      Maybe not, but He's definitely using it to get the attention of the people! Something has to wake all of them up!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  17. KTF

    After reading some of the comments at this site, it is clear that some people need to look up the definition of blasphemy and do some serious repenting. Because if you all keep this up, i'm thinking that Tim Tebow is the least of your worries.... It's time to look within, and make some serious changes.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • ufadoof

      Man was made in gods image right? Men take seriously nasty dumps. So god must take some seriously massive nasty dumps right?

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

      He makes huge rotten egg farts too.

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

      KTF, it's time you took a look at all the awful suffering in the world and realized that your god would have to be an ass-hole if he actually existed.

      And you can keep your threats of punishment in hell. No loving god would do such a thing. Christian god is just a sick and twisted supersti-tion, nothing more.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  18. ABN

    It just baffles me to see so many people on this site who hates anything when it comes to God and worships people who are constantly setting bad examples for young people and we ask why this country is turning to CRAP!!! Sit back and watch God work. If he were to run around with a rainbow flag after a score you wouldn’t have a thing to say.

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

      It is just so gross to see God orchestrating football games, but apparently leaving millions of children to starve to death.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • 4mercy

      i think God allows both – so that he can focus our attention on His instructions to us....maybe more people should help the starving people...instead of spending their money on ridiculous sporting events!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Bob

      ABN, because your god doesn't work (and doesn't exist) that we ourselves have to work to fix the problems.

      Do you really believe that a loving god would let so many innocent people in the world suffer and die, without lifting a finger to help them?

      Get off your butt, put aside your sick religious beliefs, and go help solve some problems.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Bob

      ABN, it is because your god doesn't work (and doesn't exist) that we ourselves have to work to fix the problems.

      Do you really believe that a loving god would let so many innocent people in the world suffer and die, without lifting a finger to help them?

      Get off your butt, put aside your sick religious beliefs, and go help solve some problems.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  19. 4mercy

    The point is this : whether you believe or not, you read the article. God has put himself in your life. It's your turn to put God in your life.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I didn't actually read the article. I went straight to the comment section because I knew it would have some good laughs. The article seemed boring and I don't really care about Tebow. I'm a panthers fan myself. But God has not put himself in my life, Nature and physics is the only thing controlling me. No reason to bring any gods into it.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • 4mercy

      It's your choice to say 'no' to Him. But remember that when you learn the Truth.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Sean

      @ 4mercy
      Every natural born American has heard of your god 4mercy. He is kinda hard to miss with you thumpers constantly trying to push your religion on the rest of us. So there goes your theory about the article. You also might want to pay attention to the comments. If anything the article has offended most and shows that fewer and fewer people are buying into your cult.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  20. Rob

    I love the twitter comment from @Jesus_M_Christ, "I think Dad loves Time Tebow more than me". Great stuff. As a Christian, I think we need to laugh more about this stuff. Also, since football is the only sport where a significant number of players pray in a group after games (presumably meaning lots of Christian players), it's highly unlikely that Tebow's team is getting extra help from above. I think God has bigger things to worry about.

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

      Yea like killing babies.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • 4mercy

      Well, the name certainly fits the response. It's people who have to worry about the killing of babies.

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

      God loves everyone equally!, the question is did you SEEK HIM?

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

      God is killing babies?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Jon

      Actually lots of sports have players that pray, it's just that Football has more access to the locker rooms than other sports. Also, it doesn't mean they are necessarily Christians. They are most likely Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, and all the other fragments.

      As for God being Tim Tebow's side, it's a bit of a farce. He's just in a groove. Kurt Warner had the same articles written about him. I'm not knocking Tebow, but it takes a lot of athletics ability to even be considered for a NFL QB, and to say God is on his side and not the others is an insult o God and other players. God doesn't play favorites and anybody is arrogant to think they are more deserving than another.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:51 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.