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. Sid Airfoil

    Yet another example of how we give credit to god, rather than to ourselves, when things go well. If Tebow is good, it's because TEBOW is good. Not because god made them win. It's offensive that god gets all the credit for the good things that happen while we humans get all the blame for the bad stuff that happens. Christianity claims to be a loving, pro-human religion. But in fact it's deeply anti-human.

    And what about the teams that lose? Did they offend god in some way? Should we replace huddles with prayers? This all such utter nonsense it's hard to write about it.


    December 12, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Tom

      never heard Tim give God credit one time for a "win", i have only heard Tim give him Thanks for the ability...let's not twist what we want to in order to justify our own bitter angst....

      December 12, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • One7777777

      "Yet another example of how we give credit to god, rather than to ourselves, when things go well"

      1. God is the one who grants blessings.
      2. By you stating "god" instead of "God", it shows your non-belief.

      You do realize that 90% of people in this country profess a belief in God don't you? God directs your path.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Bill

      Tebow has said that God doesn't give him the wins. He uses his faith to give him the courage he needs to overcome the obstacles he faces. This is how he can inspire himself and his team when they are down late in a game.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  2. chippy1

    i talked with god last night, he told me that he hasn't the slightist interest in sports; more of a coin collecter sort of guy

    December 12, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  3. johnny

    Hey God, while you're busy focusing on Tebow's career, there are people starving in drought-stricken Africa.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Mike

      They don't matter. Only the Bronco's record matters to an all powerful, all knowing, all beneficient god.

      December 12, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • pete

      What are you going to do about it? Probably nothing. Tim Tebow does a lot of good works with his money. Constantly involved in charities.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  4. Rapple

    This is the most asinine thing I've ever heard of. God cares about SPORTS now? Any reason, then, He didn't intervene when the malicious reprobate known as Michael Vick somehow was reinstated into sports and giant financial contracts? Maybe God only cares about the ability of those folks to throw footballs, and the heck with anything they do off the field?

    December 12, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  5. There is nothing new under the sun...

    Even if the Broncos win all the way to a Super Bowl championship it still would not be a miracle. Improbable? Yes. But not a miracle - although as we move along the probabilities change. Now if Tim Tebow flies that would be a miracle.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • CP in FL

      Teabag flies every time there is an away game.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  6. Arp

    Oh, Please! Is anyone dense enough to think that God involves himself in NFL football games, let alone take sides?? Even the thickest sports fan should have more sense than that. The mere idea trivializes God entirely and makes Him very very small. If Tebow wants to pray in public as the publicans do, that's his business. If he's praying for his own safety or that of others, or merely giving thanks that he is an athlete with ability, I could care less except for the public wearing of the hair shirt. Otherwise, I trust he's not asking God to bash his opponents as though they were Philistines. Enough awready!

    December 12, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  7. derp

    So far Tebow has beaten a couple crappy AFC west teams, and a bears team that has no QB. Tebow sucks. He can't throw. Just like every other QB who can't throw well, NFL DC's will figure him out and relegate him to the pile of college QB's who were all going to "revolutionize the quarterback position". In the NFL, you can't consistently win against good teams with a QB who completes 10 passes a game.

    Oh, and go does not care about football at all.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • pete

      Look at the facts. The Broncos were 1-4 with the same players before Tim Tebow took over as quarterback. All of a sudden, they are now 7-1. The broncos have won 5 road games in a row, only other team that has done this is Packers. Every NFL tean on the road is tough. Just ask the 10-3 Ravens who lost to the Seahawks and Jaguuars on the road and both teams have losing records. against the Bears, Tebow had 191 yards passing just in the 4th quarter completeing 18-24 passes. In the beginning of game, the receivers also had about 6 or 7 ropped passes. Unlike you, I look a t facts instead of talking the same old shi* about how he cant throw. He performed when it counted most.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • derp

      Here are the facts.

      Denver's defense averaged 28 points allowed in the games before Tebow started.

      They have averaged 20 points allowed since then.

      Denver's offense averaged 21 points per game before Tebow started.

      They have averaged 20.5 since then.

      Denver is winning with defense, not because of Tebow.

      Those are facts.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  8. Fox me? Fox you!

    Right, this is how "god" has annointed us with "his/her" love. Give us a quarterback. It must be the second coming, right? Tebow's attributed success to "god" is due simply to how he has focused or oriented his motivation. Some people, like him, are weak minded enough that they need a mythical character to serve as his/her muse or motivation. That's all. We use all sorts of methods for motivation. For me, it is my family, tenure, and money, in that order. And, they are working all very well.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • Tom

      a crutch is a good thing for a cripple...when we examine the frailty of our own human condition...even yours...we realize the need for crutches...

      December 12, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  9. Jesus

    No, because God doesn't exist

    December 12, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  10. Maria

    What is the problem with this people? why can you pray? is funny they took the bible and the prayer from the schools ,now they have guns and knifes ,isn't that funny? I pray a lot and that make me different? I believe in the power of prayer ,this guy pray ,win or lose and what? This is a FREE country ,freedom of expresion is what I learn! it can Muslim,Jewish, Pentecostal,Christian it not matter ,we all are in a coccom that only one specific religion is accepted,we are wrong! I admire this young man who is not afraid of showing his beliefs ,maybe IF we pray a little more often maybe this SICK world will change..........

    December 12, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • CP in FL

      Yes but Teabag has to prey on the goal line in front of 50,000 fans, really? Why can't Teabag just save the praying to before and after the game. God does not watch football or even exist.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  11. SportsLogic

    Let's talk about 57 and 59 yard field goals! Or does that not sell papers these days???

    December 12, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • Tom

      51 (fifty-one) and 59

      December 12, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • SportsLogic

      ACTUALLY 51, 57 and 59

      December 12, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Tom

      i apologize, i did not see where a 57-yard field goal added up to 13 points...Touchdown, extra point, 59-yard field goal, 51-yard field goal...that equals 13 or should i go back to school?

      December 12, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • David

      In all honestly, at mile high its not unexpected to see multiple 50 yard field goals in one game. The bigger surprise is how the Bears drop the ball by, running out of bounds, leaving a wide open M. Willis for 19 yard gain on the sidelines to stop the clock, then a fumble (when it looked as if the bears were going to actually win this game)<<<-- should be the talk of the game.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  12. darntootin

    Only a feckin' ijot would think G-d is interested in who wins a football game... A literalist, a fundie = idjot.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  13. karl p

    No. Next question.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:06 am |
  14. Tbofan

    Tebow is da greatest quarterback evar! ONly GOD HMSELF would show his love for us this way!

    December 12, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • Mary

      Have you ever considered about icdnunilg a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. But just imagine if you added some great images or video clips to give your posts more, pop ! Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this blog could definitely be one of the greatest in its niche. Terrific blog!

      May 21, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  15. wayne317

    So when the Denver Broncos finally lose a game will that mean there is no God? Or does it mean that another team was just better on that day? If the latter is true, what does God have to do with this at all? I'm fine with him promoting his faith, what i'm not fine with is that his faith is the reason his team is winning football games. It's not.

    December 12, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • AG

      I was thinking the same thing. If the Broncos lose next week to the Mass-holes, I mean Pats does he blame God for the loss? As much credit as Tebow is giving to God after wins then he must be consistent and blame him after a brutal loss, right? Its just sticking to your guns.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Thank you for adding the apostrophe, CNN.

    December 12, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • Winkies

      Dan's probably okay, you just have to kick him in the nuts once or twice to get him moving. Just goes to show you how much of our complaints are ignored here. Fixing an apostrophe? Easy. Fixing the blog soft=ware? They'll get back to us on that sometime in the next ten years. See how they are? Terrible at hiring IT people. Dan isn't too good at English but he's trying. You gotta love Dan because of the clever way he drools on his bib when he is fed bits of proper English. We all love him terribly and wish he would find true happiness somewhere else.

      December 12, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  17. Jesus_H_Christ

    Are these people CRAZY ? I am the Lard. And I only like soccer. I could care less about that fake, (North American), football, that causes so many concussions. Now, if you pray to me when you get a concussion, we will put your prayer in order, (prayer is dealt with in a FIFO manner you realize, and right now we have a LOT of Christmas requests for toys and jewelry, so don't be surprised if things seem a little slow during this time). Unless you Earthlings are living under a ROCK, you know there are millions of other advanced sentient civilizations in your universe, and trillions of other universes, so PLEASE, STOP with your whining already. I AM BUSY. Sheesh, I don't really know if I actually like this job after all. And stop with the "he's coming soon" crap. I will come back when I am good and ready and get around to it, and I plan on a LONG vacation after this season, so don't hold your breath. Now BACK OFF.

    December 12, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • Nadia

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      May 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  18. Colin

    One often sees Hindu and Sikh cricketers thank Lord Brahman or Waheguru for success on the field and Arab footballers regularly attribute their success to Allah.

    I guess the various gods all sit up in the sky watching the sports that their adherents follow.

    I agree. I wish this garbage story would go away.

    December 12, 2011 at 7:52 am |
  19. WannabeDictator

    Vote for me and I'll end this stupidity! Or at least get the ball rolling. Maybe. Sort of. It depends.
    Oh, just vote for me, dammit!

    December 12, 2011 at 7:17 am |
  20. Reality

    Will someone please end this significant stupidity!!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 7:06 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You mean the stupidity that causes CNN to fail to proofread its headlines?

      December 12, 2011 at 7:13 am |
    • Not Your World Dictator

      I would if I could, son. I would if I could.

      December 12, 2011 at 7:14 am |
    • Jesus_H_Christ

      No ttps, it's just miraculous.

      December 12, 2011 at 8:53 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.