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. Mel

    Seems to me that he's more on the Packers side than anyone else...

    this is just silly.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Rabid Packer fan

      DON'T jinx it!!!

      December 12, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  2. if horses had Gods ...

    I stubbed my toe 2 weeks ago playing flag football .. since then God has healed it .. praise the lard!!

    December 12, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  3. Give Me A Break

    That would mean God made Marion Barber run out of bounds when the game was won by Chicago. Any God that would do that is not worth following.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Chandler1

      Look people . . . God doesn't give a rat's if Denver wins or loses. Nor does He cause a football player to step out of bounds, miss a pass, or receive a helmet-to-helmet pass causing a career ending spinal injury. Regarding Tim Tebow's abililty to win even though he appears to lack the classic QB skills for the NFL environment . . . He openly professes his Christian faith and the result of that faith is that this guy simply believes he can achieve whatever needs to be accomplished. It is one's faith that God exists and is ever-present that provides the right state of mind to perform at a high level in a given high pressure situation (sports, business, family, etc). Those that have no faith or lack confidence are the most likely to faulter in the very same high pressure situations. Whether or not you believe in God, you must surely recognize that Tim's accomplishments are being influenced by his Christian faith.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  4. gary

    God is pretend .. leprechauns, unicorns, trolls, dragons, deities, demons, sprites, ghosts, etc are all mythical pretend creatures.
    People sound so stupid and primitive talking of deities as if they are real.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Ted Peters

      Does this mean that those who blow themselves up in the name of Allah have goofed?

      December 12, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • ryan

      they done goof'd

      December 12, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  5. ryan

    there is no god so no, a myth is not on his side. the fact that cnn even gave this story credence makes it look even more unintelligible and rating starved than I previously thought.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Lean6

      I wouldn't ever go so far as to say that god is throwing football games, but this is a better story than even trying to figure out how Green Bay is going to self-destruct and not win a Super Bowl this year. Watching the establishment squirm from week to week is very entertaining. I remember after his first win, there were commentators and so-called "analysts" that would have bet the house that he wasn't going to be successful in the long-term. Well the "long-term" just keeps getting longer, and the eventual "I told you so's" in more need of qualification.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  6. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Similar to invoking God in football is invoking him in WAR. Which children should die in today's bombings? Oh, that's right, THEIR children.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  7. ericp

    i dont get it......to all you athiest or non believers.....you guys sure do go out of your way to comment on something you dont think exist (god). dont you have to acknowledge god to not believe in him?.....so that means you do believe there is a higher power but choose to be different and say that "God" dosent exist....come on folks get real here....how can you be so against something and fuss because tebow or any other christian prays or thanks the lord for something good happened......in a scary situation how many of you non believing believers cry "ol god". i am just saying....faith is everything.....when you get in your car in the morning to start it you automaticaly assume its going to start right? so when i die i automaticaly assume i am going to heaven...live the life he intended us to live.....thank you tebow and GOD BLESS!..

    December 12, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Do you break into a sothern evangelical Gomer Pyle accent when you get to the "God Bless" part?

      December 12, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Anita Bleaujob

      And here we have an example of idiot logic, folks.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • gary

      God is pretend .. just a silly ancient myth.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • kerpluk01

      I second that thought and couldn't agree with you more. Just another example of how Christianity is the most discriminated religion. Anytime anyone phrases the Lord, people go crazy. However, when another religion is being spoken of, there is alot of support for that religion. Meaning people go out of their way to allow other religions access to whatever.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • David

      What about Hell...I love not believing in hell. Its the old teaching that only relate to the sand people 2000 -4000 years ago...We have evolved from those teachings. There is no "man in the sky or Heaven above" We create our own god and our own heaven. Everyone is wrong while being completely right. When you except that you have peace.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • WordUpToo

      ericp – it's not your mythical GAWD that we are commenting on, it is you and the other Christian idiots who continue to push their beliefs on us. Any GAWD that turns his/her/it's back on misery around the world and chooses instead to make Tim Tebow a success, is not someone to applaud and cherish. You need to check your "values."

      December 12, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Bizarre


      When I see a post from someone who doesn't even know that the plural of 'atheist' is 'atheists', I usually dismiss most of the rest of it as ignorance...

      December 12, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Sorry, Had To Say It

      You must be speaking to Athesiests but referring to Agnostics. Someone who is Agnostic (i.e. me) beleives there logically must be a higher power, but logically due to all the "evidence" he could never be as ignorant to think he is positive it is one thing or the other. I know there is a higher power there has to be but all I know for sure is I'm not sure who or what that is exactly so yes there is a "god" out there but when we use that term we arent automatically reffering to the Christian one like most people do. Just because you are a "non-believer" doesnt mean you dont have faith it just means ur not the jerk who thinks he knows everything and rams it down other people's throats. Also Atheists arent bad people either they choose to believe in nothing but the extremists on that end of the spectrum are only extreme because of the extremists on the "believer" side of the spectrum, all beliefs have crazies, just try not to be one of them.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  8. William

    God helps me when I am playing strip poker, as well as when I mud wrestle with bikini-clad women. God cares about sports.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  9. The Equalizer

    Does that mean that god is not on the side of all the losing teams ? What does it say to all the Jewish owners and the one to be the first Muslim Owner ? Is god not looking after there teams ? I am glad the TT is winning and that his faith in god is as strong if not stronger the some other players, what i don't get is that why the media is trying so hard to rebuke this. Look, i beleive in god and am just affraid of the followers, but give this guy a break. Leave him with his god as long as he plays football. Onte thing for TT, stop marketing your personal beliefs, it will only cost you at the end once you start losing. The media will have fun at your expense......good luck and i hope you kick some ass on the playoffs. Playoffs ?

    December 12, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Anita Bleaujob

      One cannot assail that which does not exist.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • tallulah13

      It's a team sport. Tebow should be praising the people who are doing the real work on the field, not singling himself out with shallow displays of personal piety.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  10. Brad

    If the Broncos win the super bowl I'll begin to think something might be going on.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  11. Philojazz

    Seems like the man upstairs has already voted on his favorite. It's clearly Aaron Rodgers and The Green Bay Packers. (This year, at least. Remember it used to be New England, etc, etc...) But, then, as all the "believers" on this website will attest, he works in "mysterious ways".

    December 12, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  12. Wesley

    I think if a 'GOD' is unable to cure a suffering 3 year old child with a brain tumor all else is a complete fabrication. I'm sure the religious folks have an answer as they always seem to. Football ? Really ?

    December 12, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  13. sielingfan

    God is on everybody's side....

    December 12, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Anita Bleaujob

      Mythical beings, by their very nonexistence, care for no one. To care for something, you must exist.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • J

      If God is on everyone's side why did he annihilate people in the Bible?

      December 12, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  14. JanetMermaid

    Yes, because God has nothing better to do on their entire planet, nay in the entire universe, than ensure a good game for Tim Tebow. What a 'tard for even thinking that much of himself.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • JanetMermaid

      Wish there was an edit feature here - THE entire planet, not THEIR entire planet.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  15. Just another guy

    Once teams thoroughly dissect his play and figure him out, he'll be just another quarterback. And once he beats a team like the packers or steelers, i'll be impressed. Sadly for me, though, he's playing my Bills on christmas eve... so much for a happy christmas 😦

    December 12, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  16. Follix

    This is just funny...

    First why he would have let Tebow loose the first game he played this year?
    Second, The Beatles were openly agnostic and yet they sold a billion album.Selling 1 billions album is a bigger mark than winning 7 football games in a row.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  17. Aaron

    If God cares about football and Tebow, then I don't want to know him/her/it.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  18. LuvBug

    I guess god isn't a fan of all the poor starving children in Africa. Just sayin.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • if horses had Gods ...

      Yes, because those starving children don't have an approtriate touchdown celebration .. duh

      December 12, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  19. Ashley

    God is definitely on Tim Tebow's side but He's there win or lose! God is blessing Tebow because in the face of ridicule, slander, and everything else, he is doing what us Christians are supposed to do and that's stand FIRM on the word of God! I love what he's doing which is giving God the glory and anybody that has a problem with it should turn the channel! "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and it's righeousness and all these things shall be added unto you." "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In ALL your ways acknoweldge HIM and He shall direct thy paths." That is EXACTLY what Tim Tebow is doing!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • Anita Bleaujob

      Blah blah blah. Is this what imbeciles talk about when they're not in church?

      December 12, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Do you break into a classic southern evangelical drawl when you get to the Bible-quoting part?

      December 12, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Just another guy

      Where is god for the rest of the players in the NFL? he shouldn't be playing favorites, especially in sports.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • WordUpToo

      Oh Ashley dear, you really need to do some self-reflection.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Charlie


      December 12, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Dale

      And when the Broncos finally play a stronger team and lose...what are we to believe then? Look at you...you're a believer in the mystical world of Jesus and you're obviously a loser. Go figure.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Blessings

      God bless Tebow and all the other football players who pray away from the spotlight...may they not suffer serious injuries, and may the best team win.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Blessings

      I had trouble posting this because I kept getting a "duplicate posting. It appears you have already said this" So. maybe this will work, "God bless Tebow and all the other football players who pray away from the spotlight...may they not suffer serious injuries, and may the best team win." Apparently it's okay to repeat blessings on the field, but not on this blog.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Bizarre


      Ask the "Holy Spirit" to impart to you the verboten word-within-word combinations which activate the automatic word filter here.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Wholly Goats

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!

      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  20. CBinKY

    Wow... so god listens to his prayers while ignoring the prayers of starving children around the world. I guess their way of praying must be appalling! It is so sad how people try to interject god into areas where it has no business being. And as far as his public praying, even Jesus said it is better to pray in private, for those who pray in public are hypocrites – to which Tebow has responded: RUBBISH!

    December 12, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • tallulah13

      The problem with all those starving children is that they're not praying on TV. God only listens to rich, famous people. Those starving kids should get a better agent!

      December 12, 2011 at 11:29 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.