home
RSS
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. JB

    I wonder what Tebow thinks of this stupid crap...since he is a religous person, I can't imagine he finds it amusing that he is singled out as God's Quarterback. Absurd...

    December 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • rockysfan

      Yeah! We all know that God's quarterback plays for the Green Bay Packers!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  2. Megan

    I am appalled and disappointed that CNN even allowed this on its site

    December 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • M. Roy

      Don't read it then you won't be "appalled" ok Megan!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  3. thes33k3r

    This is absolutely disgusting. The mere notion that an interventionist deity (which doesn't exist, by the way) would be concerned with helping a healthy, well-paid professional athlete win games while ignoring the pleas of millions of parents who are praying that their child will not die from disease or starvation is pathetic. What in the hell is wrong with you people? Oh, I know....religion.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • M. Roy

      Speaking of "pathetic", how are you?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Don't worry those of us of Faith are probably wondering what is wrong with you as well. 🙂 Especially when we hold in our Faith that God can do multiple things at the same time. I am sure that even you can chew bubblegum and walk at the same time.

      It is a nice and interesting story though.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Earthling

      Apparently more intellignet than you, Mr Roy.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  4. HeIsGod

    To ALL the Atheists whining haters who says that God doesn't protect or feed those who are starving:

    The time you are using to search the internet is the very time you can use to feed the hungry. God has made a way for you to help out, what are you waiting for?

    You want God to protect people from being killed, but yet, you fail to realize that MEN through Science and Technology have created the very weapons used to kill human beings and you want to blame God?

    December 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Spaz

      Hello Captain OffTopic.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • streetsmt

      Hey... I'm like God. I can give to my favorite charity on one website while responding to you on this one! Opps. God can't do that. Maybe I'm not like God.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Pamela Sanderson

      And to all those who waste every sunday in church praying for the mythical man in the sky to make things to happen, how about spending those morning actually volunteering to make things happen.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Get Real

      HeIsGod:

      MEN, through Science and Technology have cured diseases, made the blind to see, the deaf to hear and the lame to walk and have improved agriculture to feed the hungry - and YOU want to credit "God" with it.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Joe T.

      If you are so against science and technology, then get off the internet. Throw away your phone. Go live with the Amish. You hypocrite.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      @ streetsmt – Well, PRAISE the LORD you are NOT close to being like GOD......go and donate to charities instead of complaining about what God isn't doing.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      Joe T. – I am not sure if you live in America, but if you have a problem with us who believe in Christ, you can easily STOP using our American currency that says "IN GOD WE TRUST" and let's see if you can still use the internet or be able to sustain yourself with just the air that you breath. Or, you can move out of the country you live in, where the majority of the people believe in God and create your own country.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • streetsmt

      @HelsGod
      You have no idea how much I give to charity. Remember, I'm an atheist and we gennerally do more for society than religious people.
      And you couldn't respond to the point. That God does 0 for anyone because there most likely is no Zeus, Poseidon, Hermes, God, Allah, flying speghetti monster, etc.........

      December 12, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Joe T.

      HelsGod, what does the currency saying "In God We Trust" have to do with me using it? You do realize there are all kind of masonic symbols on the currency right? Are you a mason? If not, you shouldn't be using the currency.

      You completely missed my point and attack me with an illogical viewpoint. Congratulations. The point I'm making is that it's hypocritical to say how much you hate science and technology... while using something that was created because of science and technology. Last time I checked, God had nothing to do with creating currency.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  5. Pamela Sanderson

    Okay, so I admit that I am an atheist but the religious wing nuts out there have got to be kidding with this utter nonsense. First of all, if there was a god we all know he is a Dallas Cowboys fan. Second, it is unlikely that a real god would have such a sense of humor as to make Tebow suck for 3 quarters every game and only manage to show an iota of competence in the closing moments of each 4th quarter/OT (or perhaps god has a gambling problem and doubles up at each halftime). Third, every saturday in Texas during the fall hundreds of thousands of fans are rooting for "their college team" to win and half of them are always wrong. Fourth, "on the seventh day he rested" so why would god get off the couch to do a little housework and make Tebow look good on "his" day off? That's quite a big chore to do even for a god. Finally, three republican candidates each believed god told them to run. If that ain't enough to make you a devout athiest, then you might as well deify Tebow now while the rest of us say: "Beam me up Scotty, there's no intelligent life down here......"

    December 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  6. Timmy

    God is not interested in Football games unless they would have an impact on an issue that he is concerned with. Think about Eli and Peyton Manning when they played against each other. If you asked their Father which team he wanted to win in that situation he would simply say he hopes they both have good game. God is no different. He simply allows people to go about their lives uninterrupted, and intervenes only when a situation has a bearing on him that He deems necessary to handle. Wars are the same way. If God did not authorize a war then humans did not and could not have his backing. That's why God has told Christians today to not engage in literal wars because he is not sponsoring or endorsing any wars on earth today even though many people claim they have his blessing.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Earthling

      God is different from Archie Manning in that Archie actually exists, where god is a figment of your imagination.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  7. Kris B

    Tom Landry, one of the most devout men ever to play and coach in the NFL, once said "I don't believe God intervenes in the outcome of a football game, although he certainly could if it were important to his will." As for Tebow, he was a winner in High School, he was a winner in college and now he's winning in the NFL. Why do we need to find supernatural explanations for it?

    December 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  8. 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 1:36 pm |
    • M. Roy

      Dear Tom,
      Jesus is a fact and was proven!
      GOD

      December 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Reason

      Yes, but your argument has too many big words and is too rational for most believe. They rather believe in a sky fairy.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • AcertnChristian

      The Bible exsists. Did you forget about that one?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • AcertnChristian

      So we are forced to believe that we come from baboons! If you dont bow down to the establishments belifs you will be ridiculed! Then you need to free all my ansectors in the city zoos from their cages you barbarians!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Pamela Sanderson

      Aesops' Fables exists too. It's just that the bible has held onto the top of the fiction charts much longer that Aesop.....

      December 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • TJ

      The only reason why they do not believe in evolution is because they have not evolved, and still refuse to evolve to this day. Oh and any one can put god in caps and say its true my religitarded friend, but it still doesn't make it true.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Timmy

      Your right the earth may be 4.5 billion years old. The Bible says that God formed the earth but gave no set time frame as to how long the earth stood in the universe before he started to form life on it. Just the same way a baker may form a crust for a pie and freeze it a couple of days before he begins to form it. If you read the bible carefully you will see there is no set time frame for the creative days. The word day or days can mean any set amount of time. You might say I worked "today" so was it for 6hrs 8hrs 12hr or a construction worker 16hrs? So when God says on this day he made the grass and trees etc. then we humans can start to comprehend that God who is not bound by time took out a set amount of time to work on something specific in relation to formation of earth. As a Christian I don't believe in the literal 6 day 24hr creation of earth because if you read the Bible carefully it never mentions 24hr days it simply says on this '"day".

      December 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • SunBun2011

      This article is hooey, I'll give you that, but I can't stomach fundamentalism on either side of the coin:

      4. You cannot "scientifically" prove the existence of a historical figure. What is your hypothesis, how will you test it? You can, however, cite literary references. I believe the 1st Century Josephus mentions a historical Nazarene named Joshua, tried as a troublemaker to the Roman powers and described as his contemporaries as a "messiah". Sorry, but even Jewish theologians concede this man existed, whether he was really a "messiah" is the debate.
      7. Comparing Scientology, a 20th century pyramid scheme challenge between science fiction writers, to ancient schools of thought like Buddhism that eschew materialism and encourage treating human beings with respect (this includes the original tenants of Christianity) only makes your arguments look trite, petty and spiteful.
      Atheists and agnostics have every right to abdicate or question religion, but when one takes one such a judgemental tone, or is ignorant of the facts, you sound just as bad as any fundamentalist.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • really?

      I agree totally with you Timmy. Very well stated. Everything on this planet/universe had a creator, Life has never come from non life and never will come from non life.
      LIke walking in the woods and coming up to a beautiful house.....just because you did not see the men that built it does not mean it did not have a creator. Poof it just magically appeared. No, could not be, how could all the detail, fall together just by chance and so well made to create that house. It can't. An athiest may argue, well the material was here before. But I who believe different say no it wasn't. You are a fool for believing such a thing. SO it is with the earth and all creation on it....points to a creator......someone who molded and created things and put them all together just perfectly. Too much precision and beauty for chance to have done this.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Dave

      It's easy to spout lies with no sources. Don't push lies off as truth because you feel as though they should be true.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • really?

      ah but it is true, just as an atiest feels that he knows the truth.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Actually

      "Then you need to free all my ansectors in the city zoos from their cages you barbarians!"

      Actually herbie that is true. Animals in captivity do suffer from depression, especially monkeys and elephants. It' is a barbaric practice.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  9. AcertnChristian

    See if you atheists are even Good enough to get into heaven anyways. Go to http://www.goodpersontest.com to take the test.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • TJ

      Could you please remind us why would any intelligent person want to spend eternity with you or any other religious fanatic again?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Heaven's all yours bud. You and all your judgmental brethren can keep it.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  10. Jay

    Questions like this are why I'm no longer religious. God doesn't care about a football game. Why would he/she? And just how can people justify praying on both sides. Will God choose a team to win? And if he/she does then why? Come on humanity. Grow up already and realize God didn't create us, we created God to serve as the grout in our great wall of knowledge. Anytime something doesn't quite make sense to us or we don't fully understand something we just put God in the gap.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • AcertnChristian

      True Christianity is not about being religious its about having a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ not performing a certain ritual every Sunday. Read the Bible for yourselves people!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • George

      Just because you are blind and lack the faith does not mean the rest of us think the way you do. keep your opinions to yourself.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • CommonSense

      So George, Jay should just shut up instead of voicing his opinions on religion? I shouldn't be surprised, since Christianity (well, all major religions) have such a long and storied history of silencing those with ideas that go against dogma. You and your ilk have driven more people from the faith. So do your religion a favor and practice what you preach.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Jeff T

      You, and you're not alone, seem to be missing the point. It's not that God has chosen Tim Tebow, Tim Tebow has chosen God. It's his faith that carries him. I believe that's an undeniable fact. Whether there is a God or not seems almost entirely irrelevant. Clearly one's faith in God is enough to carry you to incredible feats. Keep the faith!

      December 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Lots of people have faith in god. Most aren't carried to great heights. Many die hungry and alone.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  11. Believer

    He wants us to be fishers of men. Look at the exposure Tebow is bringing to HIM. He will end up making a big catch just by his walking the walk.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  12. Sal Esposito

    I believe in Tim Tebow. When you are a positive leader, whether ordained by God or not, good things will happen. He is a good kid and I want to believe in all good kids. Keep it up kid, we need many more like you.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  13. SorryNo

    I would like to think that if there is a god, he/she/it would worry about genocide in Africa, or the suffering of children before worrying about this idiot's ability to throw a egg shaped ball.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  14. Ben Harrison

    Dan Merica, what a terrible article! Did Tebow break the laws of physics? A miracle is not when something unlikely happens. Unlikely things happen every single day. A miracle is when something "impossible" happens, and that's the thing – impossible things don't happen. What a bunch of ridiculous crap. I like how you had to explain that Jesus_M_Christ was a fake Twitter account, so we don't get confused and think it's really Jesus's Twitter. Really?

    December 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  15. Bill

    I think people are missing the point. Tebow has managed to find the courage and committment needed to overcome the obstacles in his life through his faith. It is his touchstone like the motto "Duty, Honor, Country" is the touchstone for many soldiers.

    And God is omnipresent. He can help Tebow win a football game and help the kid with cancer at the same time. That being said, the idea that God has had a direct impact on Tebow's games in rediculous. He has given Tebow the talents and inspiration to succeed, but it is up to Tebow to actually do it.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • yeahalright

      (except he usually doesn't help the kid with cancer...or the football game for that matter)

      December 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  16. SMH 2012

    Do these people really think God is petty enough to alter the outcome of a football game? If he exists I think there are better uses for his time

    December 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Bill

      God has all the time in the world. He can help out in a football game, and do the other things that need doing. He's everywhere, everytime.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • SorryNo

      THANK YOU!!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • SorryNo

      The THANK YOU was to SMH not Bill.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • streetsmt

      So Bill.... In the next few minutes a few thousand children under the age of 5 will be murdered in the world. Can you let God know so that they can be saved?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • George

      streetsmt – You seem to lack the understanding that we live in a fallen world and we are all given the basic right to make decisions that will affect our lives and others. If life was perfect with no pain then most people would never turn to God. Your confusion could be cleared up if you would just spend some time and read God's Word.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • streetsmt

      @ George
      So are you saying that an innocent 3 year old needs to feel pain so that other will go to your God? Are you Kidding?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Bill

      It's impossible to understand God's plan. There is suffering in the world and my understanding of God is that he wants us to work through that suffering.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • yeahalright

      "It's impossible to understand god's plan." Accepting for a moment that a) there is a god and b) he has a plan...the reason it's impossible is because any person with any shred of decency or morality would condemn it as heartless and brutal. But you're not allowed to judge god...so you just say it's impossible to understand. Take the blinders off. If there is a god – he's heartless and brutal.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Bill

      Yeah, life is a struggle. More so for some than for others. The world is imperfect and there is suffering. It doesn't matter whether or not you believe in God, but it is important to have some touchstone you can use to overcome the suffering in your life. What society wants is people who can meet life's challenges and overcome them while at the same time, maintaining some kind of ethical or moral code. To put it another way, we want someone to come out of poverty through hard, honest work, and not by stealing and murdering. When we face a seaminly insurmountable hurdle we often need something that gives us the courage to continue. This can be faith in a higher power, or a word of encouragement from a friend or family member, or maybe an inspirational story or slogan one read in a book or saw on the news.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  17. TJ

    Another religitard using jeus and praising his mythical name all while breaking the same commandments he's supposed to hold dear. I think it's something about the sabbath and keeping it unholy or something like that.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • George

      Obviously by your comment you were born missing your brain.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • really?

      You sound like an athitard!!!! LOL I like it.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  18. Barbara

    Oh, come on. Anyone who is a believer technically has "God on their side." Is Tim Tebow winning because he has God on his side? Only insofar as God is his Creator, via Tim's parents. God likely has way more important things on tap on any given day, especially SUNDAY (aka the Lord's Day, aka the Sabbath for Christians) than to oversee Tebow's performance any given Sunday. That said, though, as we believe so we achieve. Tim apparently has talent that he nurtures and a gift for some sort of athleticism that God blessed him with. Not a Tebow fan myself, but if God is on his side, that would be the extent of it.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • streetsmt

      Can you be a little clearer? Your thought stream is difficult to follow.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • really?

      But Barbara, the Bible says there is only a narrow road and few are the ones finding it and wide and spacious is the road leading off into destruction with many on it. Showing that not all religions are what God approves. We must worship God his way, not our way, for us to be forgiven and have a chance for approval by him.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  19. M. Roy

    Ultra Maroon's!

    December 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  20. Dan3

    People are missing the point with Tebow. The guy is not claiming that the Lord is helping him win, he is just giving thanks to the Lord for his talents and the opportunity to use them. People don't understand the difference between prayers of thanksgiving and those of supplication.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • MeatLover

      FYI – He prayed for the SD Kicker to miss. I'm pretty sure that would be called "Praying to the Lord to help him win".

      December 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Nancy

      I agree Dan! Tim Tebow is an inspiration to me. He boldly speaks of his relationship with the Lord without shame or embarrassment.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Yes, Tebow wears his ignorance with pride...

      December 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47
Advertisement
About this blog

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.