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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 • Faith Now • Sports

soundoff (2,257 Responses)
  1. TrueGod

    Why did he say that @Jesus_M_Christ was a fake Jesus Christ account? If you truly believe in God, then you know jesus is alive and well, so he could conceivably have Twitter account. there is no proof that @Jesus_M_Christ is a fake account.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • kso

      i follow this. it's hillarious

      December 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • dkhouston

      Have faith @Jesus_M_Christ is a real twitter.....

      December 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  2. AcertnChristian

    JESUS wins in the athiests! Get on the winning team before its too late. Unless if you want to continue to believe in your illogical theory that everything came from nothing then go right ahead keep the faith!

    December 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • HellBent

      Yes, much better to believe in something there is zero evidence for (god) than something there actually IS evidence for (matter springing from a vacuum).

      By the way, since your god would be something, then your god would have had to come from nothing. Which is why this is such an as.sinine comment.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Get Real

      AcertnChristian,

      You believe the your "God" came from nothing... what's the diff.?

      btw, atheists do not say that everything came from nothing.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  3. Tyler

    The author of this drivel is obviously an idiot.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  4. this is simply too stupid to comment on

    nuff sed.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  5. Nathan

    I don't know if God is on Tebow's side, but he wins and is a team leader. That's all that really matters in football.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  6. Somebody

    I don't give credit to God for the Bronco's win, but I do blame him for the Bear's lost. I wish he would stop answering other people's prayers, and focus on me once in a while.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  7. thoughtsjustsome

    Tim Tebow is winning at life and there is no doubt that God is helping him do so. The quality of life that an earnest and faithful follower of Jesus Christ experiences is better than those who reject God's leadership in their lives. That is what we are witnessing and it's a whole lot more important than a 7 game winning streak. This doesn't mean earnest Christians are are always winners in football or that they are immune to the problems of life. A servant-hearted, compassionate, hard working, humble and respectful response to others and to life is simply a superior way to live. It's the way of Christ and it produces a better life experience than the "survival of the fittest" alternative.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • captnavenger

      I don't think anybody in their right mind would argue that a "compassionate, hard working, humble and respectful response to others and to life" is a good path for any human being. It might shock you to believe that not only is that a tenant of many faiths, but it's also the way many – very man, in fact – Atheists try to live their lives.

      Where you failed miserably is in assigning it to only Christianity, and using the word "superior" throughout your post. Not only does the word and the elitism you imply from it, smack of Nazism, you also have no way of knowing one way or another whose life is or is not "superior" to whose. You live one life – YOURS – and if you feel like it's a good life, then say so. But don't you dare try to tell anybody else their life is inferior, for any reason, especially over religion. To do so is not only ugly and wrongheaded, it also displays a deep lack of humility – quite the opposite of what you are espousing.

      The wise do as best as they can, and they keep doing so even if the doing requires tolerance, humility, and acceptance. They never propose to know better, or claim wisdom. To do so is the opposite of wisdom.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  8. MashaSobaka

    My version of God could care less who wins a pointless football game, actually.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  9. Granger

    Tebow's a good role model, respects others, Loves God...and the liberal media can't stand it.....

    December 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Harry Wortz

      There are many who don't want to see public displays of affection and there are just as many who don't want to see public displays of religious rituals.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • captnavenger

      And you, it seems, could not pass up the opportunity to call names and pass some hate around.

      Did god want that, too?

      December 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Sully

      This has nothing to do with liberal media. Considering the media is hyping it and it's PEOPLE saying it's stupid, you might want to try thinking before you post the same tired crap.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  10. Dana

    The invisible, made-up man in the sky must really hate the Colts this year.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  11. Dan

    If you really belive this (you are a moron) put all of your money on Denver to win the Super Bowl.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  12. Iconoclast

    Tim's belief in combination with the goat fans sacrifice on the alter before each game has made the difference. Go Broncos!

    December 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  13. Tucson Dean

    And when the streak ends or he gets injured, will that be God's work, too?

    December 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • dkhouston

      Hey, does Tebow Go to church on Sundays? Thank God (pardon the pun) the NFL said he couldn't write scripture on his face. BTW, why does everyone point to the sky....how do they know......or are they pointing at Superman?

      December 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  14. BGko

    What a stupid question, as if God cares at all about football or any mundane human activity..... please

    December 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • MARYANN FENSLER

      of course GOD cares about football and all the other "mundane"human activities in our world.he gave us brains to think with,ideas to come to fruition ,so the answer to that is yes.GOD does care....ESPECIALLY WITH A PLAYER WHO IS SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW WHERE ALL HIS TALENT COMES FROM.......and i say "PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM A-L-L blessings flow,even the "mundane"!!!!!!!

      December 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  15. Illeagle-j1

    I do not believe SHE has the time to worry about, you game of feets ball

    December 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  16. R.Ray

    This is a very sad day for the human race. Once again the delusional,idiotic and supersticious fools are bringing up and making up stpid arguements about something that does not exist. STOP YOUR INSANITY.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Gawd

      It really is amazing that some otherwise-intelligent people still believe this mumbo jumbo.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • AcertnChristian

      I know its crazy that intelligent people cannot see how a Creator created this world for us. They think nothing created everything. Maybe they will get it one day?

      December 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • HellBent

      It's really amazing that some people can't see that the sun revolves around the earth. They actually think the rising and setting of the sun is because the entire universe wasn't created solely for us! Maybe they'll get it some day

      December 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  17. Steve

    God must really dislike Marion Barber, are we to believe that God made Barber run out of bounds, and then strip him of the football. Tebow is clutch, I think he will be QB in theleague for years to come...sort of like a flutie.
    I believe his faith helps him on the field, but I dont think Gods gives a damn about football...hes a yankee fan.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  18. Keep it football

    It is interesting that we are looking for divine intervention in such an old football recipe. One part run the ball, one part get a big play because they commit to the run so much, and one part don't turn the ball over. In our don't allow the defense to hit anybody pass happy world, we have forgotten how important these things are. Not to mention, if you have watched lately, he is throwing the ball much better. Let the man have his faith. His leadership, Denver's defense, and his football IQ are bringing the wins.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  19. M. Roy

    TBN-I hope you aren't blaming God for how you are! You can be saved like anybody else. There is still time!

    December 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Somebody

      M. Roys – Perhaps you haven't heard – God died our sins – all of them. It doesn't matter what anyond does – they are already saved.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  20. Terry

    I watched Tebow throughout his college career and now in Denver, and the man's refusal to quit is contagious. His team members play hard, for the entire game. He wins games when defeat is a given. Tebow has taught the Denver Broncos to believe in themselves and the team. As a result, the fans stick around until the end of the game. The Orange Crush is coming back.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.