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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. 4mercy

    It's all about spreading The Message, God's message. He got your attention....now what will you do with that information? Will you reject him? Who cares about who wins a football game?! It's a game. So many more souls could be saved if everyone who watched football spent that time in prayer! Wow! Imagine the social change that could take place in this country!

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

      Hmm. You've told me absolutely nothing useful here.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • 4mercy

      Here's something very useful. Pray. Read the Bible. Go to Mass. Do good works. Do not be idle. Do not be immoral. Will you do those things?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • derp

      "Will you do those things?"

      No, but I'll bonk your sister.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  2. Simon

    Tebow does make the fundy girls wet.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  3. popcorn

    God and Football. What kind of sport is Football? Football doesn't do anything new, passing and touch down, and just show points that's all.....

    December 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  4. Tony

    NFL is a business people...whichever team have more bets placed on, that team will lose against the spread...duhh..ALL SPORTS ARE RIGGED

    December 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  5. Bob

    I truly believe Tim Tebow winning has set America back a few years when it comes to progressive thinking. Hitchens, Dawkins, and Hawking getting trumped because a Jesus Freak is on a hot streak.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • 4mercy

      You bet. Exactly the way God wants it! Praise Him!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      Agreed.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  6. Steve

    Yes, God is so preoccupied with Tebow and the Broncos, that he's putting irrelevent things such as war, poverty and injustice on the back burner. Talk about being self-centered.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  7. Alex

    I find it very funny that people think that if there where a god he would have time to waste on us humans plea's and wants and who gets theirs answered. Do you think a starving kid who gets beat everyday deserves it or a rich football player who is just playing a game for people's entertainment very illogical. Why doesn't anyone including the player just think it is his own talent and training that makes him win or want to win.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • 4mercy

      so, do you spend your time praying for the rescue of these abused persons or aiding in their rescue yourself? or did you watch the football game?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  8. kill me now

    do people really think god would be wasting time on the performance of an entertainment sports team? there is genocide, famine, child abuse, morbidly sick people, etc etc. in the world. like god is really going to "make" these morons win. get the f out of here. this article is disgusting. americans are complete idiots.

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

      I work in mysterious ways.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  9. Liz

    NOW I get why all those people are starving in Africa – God is busy with an American football game. Really? If this guy really thinks he has the powers of a superbeing behind him, why doesn't he do something besides provide a bunch of dumb Americans with entertainment...? If he was pulling people from burning buildings, treating the sick, teaching the youth, maybe he could say his god cares. But football? Really??

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

      How about building Children's Hospitals in the Phillipines!?!?
      ...Maybe do a little research before you made asenine comments.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Liz

      Are you claiming this football player is building hospitals throughout the world? Because that would be a better use of his time.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Noah

      Yes, he is. Maybe you should research him and see what he does when he is not playing football. He is currently working on a hospital in the Philipines.

      December 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  10. Tony

    god? lol...more like VEGAS is on his side..

    December 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  11. Bootyfunk

    sooooooooooooooooooooooo dumb

    December 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  12. David Baxter

    Of course the big guy is on Tebows side, and apparently he hates the Buffalo Bills even though some of there guys pray too!

    December 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  13. nh566

    God has nothing to do with this. Stop being rediculous. God has nothing to do with most things that happen in the world, it's just human nature to use him to explain the seeminly unexplainable.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      where do you come up with that?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  14. Fred

    People who think God is letting them get a touchdown in a football game are idiots. What about the the players trying to stop Tebow? I'm sure they believe in God also. Do you thik God picks sides? What idiots...

    December 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  15. popcorn

    Broncos- THEY NEED FOOTBALL BAiLOUTS.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  16. sequoia

    Wow, it's truly astonishing that any thinking person in the 21st-century can think "God" cares about football. Seriously, can religious people get any DUMBER?

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

      DITO

      December 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  17. i am second

    every preacher, rabbi, evengilist, immam, dali lama, atheist, believer, non believer( if there is anything like a non believer becoz if you dont believe in God then you believe there is no God, either way you believe something) . Way to go Tim cause you have achieved what every leader prays or wishes for, an audience that will consider what you have to say. Kudos, you did it while playing your favorite sport, and asking anyone to pass the offering plate.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  18. popcorn

    TIM TEBOW must be biggest idiot in the football history.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  19. Paul

    The Broncos lost to Detroit because Tebow thought about touching himself before the game. God is wrathful.

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

      Why is Tebow getting so much press? There have been lots of pro athletes who give all the credit to Jesus. Personally, I think it's dumb, but they all have a right to say it, and even kneel down and pray.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  20. Justin

    Religion is a personal choice. If it makes you uncomfortable to see him give the glory to his God, that is your issue not his. So he gives the glory to God and you don't. Who cares??? I think Atheist/Agnostics react because it requires them to question their own faith. What you cannott question is Tebow's sincerity about his faith and his will to win. Last time I checked winning is all that matters for success in the NFL.

    If Tebow were a devout Muslin and prayed towards Mecca everytime he scored, would people be more tolerant of this? Of course they would since we are so tolerant of everything except Christianity in the country. Its funny how the Pilgrims colonize to America to escape religious bigotry and 400 hundred years later it is totally acceptable.

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

      Atheists find people who hold up Tebow's success as proof of God's existence as amusing. We tend to get annoyed when faced with a large amount of people who get in our face and militant about it.

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

      Did you know the pilgrims were banished from England because they wanted to impose their beliefs on the rest of the nation?

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

      Please stop pretending American Christians are somehow oppressed and marginalized. It's dishonest, weak, and lame. American 'Christians" are the biggest oppressors in our entire society who think they are victims of "bigotry" if they can't force everybody to worship their goofy God and if people don't want to live in their backwards theocracy. You are perfectly free to practice your religion. Stop lying.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • 4mercy

      You stereotype Christians just as you accuse them of doing to others. Maybe you should listen to what they have to say. Many of them are saying it to save your soul. God has a plan for you....do you have ANY idea what it is? If not, I suggest you talk to Him rather than about those who believe in Him.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • 4mercy

      sequoia, if there is no God, why do care if people lie? It shouldn't matter to you.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • derp

      '"God has a plan for you....do you have ANY idea what it is?"

      Shagging your sister, drinking beer and playing video games. God is awesome, I love his plan.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:00 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.