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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. ELH

    Les Carpenter of Yahoo Sports, after ensuring readers that he believes in , 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."

    To begin with, football is a sport and as such, more aligned with the laws of chance than the laws of science. Remember–on any given Sunday–.

    Now, I also believe in evolution, dinosaurs and the big bang but not necessarily in Divine Intervention. However, if God exists, and I truthfully cannot say that I know one way or the other, my question is this: Why would He grant his grace to a professional football team rather than the millions of halt, lame and desperate that also live on this rock and pray to Him daily for help?

    If God so favors Tebow and Company over the poor, sick and downtrodden, then He is a poor god indeed.

    Go Packers!

    December 12, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • flnative52

      All comes by faith.You need to lead the life and seek gods word on how to handle things that come against you. Tim has been under the microscope every day and still comes out and wins. Just believing that God is real is just the tip of many wonderful years to follow if you develope your faith.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  2. John G

    I think some are missing the point here:the last paragraph or 2 says it all:

    "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?"

    No it doesnt matter....

    And Tebow said it himself....“I am not better than anyone else just because I play football.”

    it seems some are not as far away from Tebow as they may want to think

    December 12, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  3. diana barnum

    I just love a positive story and if this helps people believe, then more power to him! I love a great story like this. Why people need to be negative all the time is just crazy. Why can't people like good news for once!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  4. Erik

    The same people making sarcastic remarks about God, and Tim, are probably the same people that shun the homeless when they are begging for change. No one is perfect and your expressed anger doesn't do you any good in winning converts to your cause of Godlessness. How did we get here? I am sure we where created? Some people may disgaree, but if I said my car built itself no one would think I was sane. Im just saying... lighten up its too earl for all this hate baby!!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  5. Bob

    This is literally the stupidest article I have ever read on CNN.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  6. flnative52

    Faith is where all miracles come from. Satin believes. Faith comes from knowing what God word say. The word's of God are your owner's manuel. Life on earth is but a very short time. Heaven and hell are for eternity. It's our choice to make. What have you done today to thank your Father in heaven?

    December 12, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  7. Godfrey

    What's annoying is that if something bad happened to Tebow (not that I would wish this) Christians would say "it's a test of his faith" and "the Lord works in mysterious ways".

    The human mind is mystifying in its ability to avoid seeing the obvious.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • usastillgr8t

      Any anthing that happens to us as Christians may be some sort of trying and proving of our faith.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • posingasChristian?

      @godfrey Or they would say, that's really unfortunate, he was doing so well. Don't pretend to be something you are not-or represent something/someone you are not. Atheist do it all the time-see below. And then, they make the SAME accusations against the Christians...and then you do it? Save your arrogance for those that care.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Godfrey

      Thank you for illustrating my point.

      It's never...NEVER God being a dick.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • michael

      @posingasaChristian. You made Godfrey's point. Everything can be ascribed to God because God can't pass the false hypothesis test. My question to you would be why your Book is more relevant than the Bhagavad Gita, Koran, or any other Holy text? Faith is fine but when you question and deny others their beliefs and tell them they are going to some bad place because they don't believe like you do and you know the Word of God better than them is what I have a problem with. Christians may think I am going to hell for not believing in Jesus the way they do but the Bible is so filled with fallacies, illogical meanderings, misinterpretations, and plain nonsense that it is hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Not arrogance. Simple truth. No amount of quoting from proverbs will change that. Doesn't mean that God doesn't exist or that Jesus Christ may have lived or been what the Bible stated. However, the Bible, if taken literally and practiced literally would be difficult due to the inconsistencies.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  8. usastillgr8t

    God is not a favor of persons. Tim Tebow's faith is a valuable asset to him. God helps all of us but we may not know how He helps us. Has God seen you through something? God can help each of us. So God does not help the Broncos to win but He may help each of us individually. I do not claim to be a Biblical scholar.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Godfrey

      'I do not claim to be a Biblical scholar"

      That's probably best. God "favors" people throughout the Bible. Sucks to be Job, though... and be on the ass-end of Yahweh's wager with the devil.

      I'd prefer this bloodthirsty jerk "favor" someone else.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:05 am |
  9. Jesus

    I wonder who gets the 10% of Tebow's cash? I'll be his minister for 10%.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  10. BET6312

    There is no connection here at all.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  11. Realist

    www GOD IS IMAGINARY dot com and resides in the www EVIL BIBLE dot com

    December 12, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  12. stacy100

    God gives strength (mentally and spiritually) to Tebow....That's how God is helping Tebow. I also believe that God may be using Tebow. I pray that Tebow will always remember that all Blessings flow from God....whether they win or lose. Tebow seems to understanding this. I also believe that his teammates see something in Tebow that makes them believe in him and what he stands for. I've got a good feeling about what's going on in Denver. I hope that Elway, stays out of the way and let's this go on for a long time.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  13. itwouldbemorebelievable

    I tend to think that Denver's current offense with Tebow is similar to the Wildcat offense that teams like Miami used to run. It was highly effective initially because NFL teams were not used to playing against it or scheming against it. Over time, however, it became less and less successful as teams adjusted to it. I think Tebow has maybe this season and next to learn to be successful running a standard pro style passing offense. Just like the Wildcat, Denver's "pro option" with Tebow will lose effectiveness once it becomes familiar to NFL defenses.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  14. stealthycat

    God could care less about an NFL game I imagine and God having a hand in Tebow winning games? Please .... that's ridiculous

    December 12, 2011 at 9:59 am |
  15. Realist

    www GOD IS IMAGINARY dot com and www EVIL BIBLE dot com

    December 12, 2011 at 9:59 am |
  16. Woody

    Why bother to put the other 10 guys on the field with Tebow? Being that he is god's favorite player, he shouldn't need any help from the rest of his team (just think how much money that would save the owner of the Broncos). Obviously, god installs some sort of Star Trek like cloaking device around him to make him invisible to the opposing team (god, apparently, doesn't like any other team but the sacred Broncos). The NFL should cancel the rest of the season and just hand Denver the Super Bowl trophy immediately. Why do the other teams even bother when it's obvious that the Broncos are god's chosen team. It's sort of like the nouveau "God's Chosen People"

    December 12, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  17. Me

    @Steve Tim Please send me the exact quotes of Tim saying, "I'm so special." He hasn't done anything more than any other amoral hollywood star-express his opinion and live his life. Now he can't do it? You think HE is arrogant? I sure hope you are consistent and call out all those other people. Until you can point me DIRECT words from Tim, stating how awesome HE is and how special and above everyone else HE is, your simply spewing trash. You may send your direct evidence to meatcnn at gmail com No evidence? Then shut it.

    @Dave If God doesn't exist as you seem to imply, then the blame is all on you. If you care that much-do something about it instead of complain and hold it against God. Problems with his simple line of reasoning?: meatcnn at gmail com

    December 12, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  18. Realist

    www GOD IS IMAGINARY dot com and www EVEL BIBLE dot com

    December 12, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Realist isn't Realistic

      @realist

      Wow, really? I would think someone like you would know better than to spam websites. For every site you give, I can give a site that shows all that nonsense false. Let's battle websites! That's intelligent.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  19. Mark

    To me religion is an individual experience, what works for some may not work for others and your relationship with your god is your own experience. There is nothing wrong with sharing and religion does wonders for alot of peoples confidence in thier ability to accomplish things. Your god can be a religion or even money or even evolution there are arguements for each, although if evolution is the answer why are there still monkeys and apes? To question religion is not a bad thing but to bash a religion based on ignorance goes beyond stupid.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Godless

      "...if evolution is the answer why are there still monkeys and apes?"

      You clearly do not understand how evolution works. Do some research. Here's a start: evolution states that humans and primates share the same ancestor (which is why there are still apes in existence)...

      December 12, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  20. sjenner

    It's utter nonsense. God of the flyswat. Lord of the spiral toss. The Messiah of the checkbook. This type of shallow Christianity is exactly what subjects Christianity to ridicule. It's just too easy. The Creator who threw the Cosmos into being in a single act of supreme love reduced to a wishing well.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Realist isn't Realistic

      @ sjenner And your type of arrogance is exactly the type of shallow atheism and secular humanism which subjects itself to ridicule and mockery. It's just too easy. Please email me the scientific evidence/data, showing that his faith is shallow. Show me where Tim's faith is fake and hollow. Please, follow the rules of "Realist" and provide me with only the real, true, scientific, proven, emperical evidence that he's shallow. Thank you. Otherwise, hush. meatcnn at gmail com

      December 12, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Mark

      If the wishing well works for you then use it, it seems in Tebow's case his religion works well for him and his talking about it and living what he believes is a far better example to people of the Hope that things can get better than alot of the politicians and so called heros of the day. Looks to me that alot of people who bash unexplained success have a touch of jealousy. I would rather have someone like Tebow to look up to than 99.999% of our country's leaders and movie stars. How much work do athletes and everyday working people put in compared to the leaches in politics and the entertainment industry? Have you ever competed at a profesional level? How many people have the dedication and the work ethic to be a professional?

      December 12, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • michael

      @Realist isn't Realistic. Please show me your empirical evidence that God exists please. Show me God passing the false hypothesis test please. You accuse him of shallowness but can provide not a single shred of actual empirical evidence that God exists. Pot meet kettle. Tim Tebow is having success in the NFL. Great for him. So have many players in the NFL who didn't publicly profess their faith and may even (GASP) not be Christian. What would that mean? Tom Brady had a baby out of wedlock and won three Super Bowls. IDid the Christian God approve and award Brady three Super Bowls?

      December 12, 2011 at 10:26 am |
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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.