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

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    December 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Lilly

      God is in control of everything. Win or lose, God is in control. I do think that Tebow's success is because of his faithfulness to the on and only Lord Jesus Christ. Whether Tebow wins or loses, he gives glory to the Lord Jesus Christ because Tebow knows he is on this earth to bring to our Lord Jesus Christ.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:53 am |
  11. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    God caused the Broncos to fumble a lot. Jesus is obviously a Patriots fan. LOL.

    December 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  12. HotAirAce

    Where was god and/or jesus today?

    December 18, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • bear0402

      Took a nap. He's tired of the Tebow talk too.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Lilly

      God is here. You have to seek Him not mock Him.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:54 am |
  13. Julez

    Seems to be a lot of people who're supportive of Tebow's display of his faith on the football field. Would they be so supportive if a Muslim football player openly displayed his own beliefs by praising Allah? Highly doubt it.

    December 18, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  14. Elijah34

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    December 16, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      It's interesting that you say "darkness," since THE Dark Ages in Europe are directly attributable to christianity and the Enlightment during the Renassaince can directly be attributed to people questioning their universe and its tenets. In otherwords, science brought humanity out of the "darkness"

      December 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
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  16. Quit The Hate

    I don't have a problem with TTebow being uber religious. If it work for him great. Everyone has the right to believe or not believe. My problem is I've had enough of hearing about it. It's like the coworker who continuously talks about their kid every time you see them. I like you and your kid and I know your proud of them, but geez give it a break. I am actually hoping Denver will lose for once so we can move on. I don't have anything against TTebow, but it's enough already.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  17. Joey

    Atheists Wager

    You should live your life and try to make the world a better place for your being in it, whether or not you believe in god. If there is no god, you have lost nothing and will be remembered fondly by those you left behind. If there is a benevolent god, he will judge you on your merits and not just on whether or not you believed in him

    December 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  18. Bob

    Barb Brennan, first, the mere fact that you and I interpret the bible differently is yet more evidence that it isn't a divine work. Now, read on carefully:

    I'll ask you the same question I've asked others of your ilk, always with no valid response thus far: Why were those obviously horrid, very explicit instructions for animal sacrifice ever put in the bible by your god?

    Furthermore, I have a challenge for you. Show that you actually understand the opposing case to your own and are informed about it, since you haven't done so thus far. Read Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. It's a short book that you can buy cheaply e.g. on Amazon. Pick any one of Sam's arguments, quote it with chapter and page references, and explain why you think it is wrong.

    It's really time that you took the blinders off and read outside your bible. Do you have the courage and forti-tude to take that challenge? Prove it.

    December 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  19. Patti

    Cheers to Tim Tebow – first and foremost as a person. He lives what he believes. We should all take note......

    December 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • Barb Brennan

      I agree....

      December 14, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
  20. Bob

    Barb, I call bullsh!t on your claim that you have proof of the existence of your Christian god. Again, out with that claimed proof. Put it out in the open, if you can. You have been challenged.

    But note that if you succeed in presenting incontrovertible proof, or even anything close to that, you will be the first person to ever do so.

    December 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Barb Brennan

      I have been telling everyone my proof, my life was a mess until I was given a choice between life and death, and I chose to do God's will and not mine and He has done many miracles in my life. That is all the proof I need to know that God is who He says He is and why I have unbreakable faith, and you would understand if you had that faith, no-one here knows what my life was like or the experiences I've had, so no-one has the authority to tell me anything about my life, or to say that I didn't experience it. You choose not to believe in God because you haven't seen enough pain yet, give it time and keep following the devil and you may where I am in time as well, I pray that you are, I pray for all the non-believers that they come back to God, He just wants us back so He can Bless us, and He would Bless you to if you believed....You can't even imagine what God can do, until you witness it for yourself. I am the proof, as is the proof with all believers, we are the proof........I'm talking about true believers, not Christians in general, there are many people who claim to be Christians that don't live like Christians, being a true believer changes the entire way you think and you live by the Ten Commandments, God's laws, not made up people laws....you can take this out of proportion if you like, in fact I'm sure you will because you don't live by God's laws, it's easy to tell when someone is truly a followeer of Christ or just someone that says they are....God will give you that decernment and many other Blessings when you live by His laws.. Thank you Lord for your love and mercy to me, In Jesus' name I pray, Amen...

      December 14, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • Bob

      Barb, your "proof" is, as I suspected, total bullsh!t.

      Describe even one of these supposed "miracles" that you experienced, in detail, and prove that it was divinely caused. I doubt that you can. Your case gets ever weaker with every post you make.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Quit The Hate

      Listen, you're never going to get a believer not to believe. Just like you as a non-believer can never be convinced that God exist. Attacking someone because they have a different opinion is just silly. Maybe you just like stirring up controversy or maybe you just hate organized religion. My point is it's a fruitless conversation. Unless you just enjoy bashing people b/c they think differently you're barking up the wrong tree. You will never get a Christian to denounce their faith, just like you will never believe in God. The best thing it to just let it go.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:55 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.