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. Anti Sarah


    December 12, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  2. mfx3

    If God wanted Tebow to win, wouldn't He be more direct about it? Like, by making Tebow himself any good?

    December 12, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  3. AZ-Independent

    I think God has better things to do than win football games for Tebow; like feeding the hungry, especially children, caring for the sick, etc. You get my point.

    But hey! Kudos to Tebow for believing in his higher power...In fact, Kudos to the whole Denver team, because if you are going to accomplish anything in this life, you MUST believe! Can I get an Amen for that (LOL).

    December 12, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • mfx3

      Yeah, God seems to be dropping the ball a lot lately.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  4. Snoopy

    God, please let me do well on this test on friday! ---- Thanks god, i got an A!
    God, please let me score this touchdown! ------– Thanks god, we won the game!
    God, please let me eat tonight, I haven't eaten in 5 days-- ....

    December 12, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Anita Bleaujob

      Sorry, but I'm too busy to send you food.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  5. NN

    Okay, I'm an atheist. However, "hypothetically" if there was a God, do people really think he'd care about the results of an NFL game? That's ridiculous.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  6. ss_for_fb

    God believes in people not in football. The Broncos do not have God scoring or blocking or other stuff for them, that's hollywood believe, not true faith. Tim's faith and message will not be shaken by a loss on the gridiron, although some in media may try to exploite that as a reason for losing. People should focus on the positive vibes on the team that Tim has enhanced, the leadership he displays, and his humility. Unity is a powerful thing and is helping them accomplish their goals... works in all professions. We are watching a great human being who is working hard to excell at his craft (which is consistent with his faith and God's will for every individual), even if he is an average QB per some opinions, on a stage that is mostly about "me, me, me". Let's enjoy it instead of over-analyzing it.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Anita Bleaujob

      Nonexistent things do not care about anything.

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

      What? I'm sorry I missed that. I was picking lint out of my bellybutton.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Great Rock

      Right on! Tim Tebow is not going to let a loss have anything to do with God's favor or disfavor. He simply gives God the glory for any great or good things that takes place on the field. His public display of his faith by praying or whatever irks so many critics, on or off the field, I think, pleases God and stirs strong feelings in nominal Christians. I think the strongest responses negatively comes from those who profess Christian values, but keeps ones own faith under cover. So let Tim be Tim, cheer him on, win or lose, and not blame God for his losses. And that is the devil's workshop [to equate losses to God's disfavor].

      December 12, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  7. Marsilio

    God is a Boston sports fan, so it is surprising to see him help Denver along this season. I will say this though... with the trillions of other activities he could be involved in across this infinite universe, I think it's pretty cool that he likes football! Thank God for the NFL!!

    December 12, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • USmellLikePee

      God likes the Bruins better.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  8. Pat

    Real poor reporting job trying to link Fox's Daryl Johnston with religious faith:
    "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,” he Broncos win, “you have to be now.” – Daryl Johnston

    The thing is, he was strictly talking about Tebow and his football abilities and right to be a true starting quarterback. He didnt mix any religion with is...which is just what your article insinuates. I think it is a disrespect to manipulate Daryl Jonston's words like that.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  9. Geest

    If god was on his side he'd be a good QB for the entire game, instead of a schmuck who keeps getting lucky in the last 5 mins.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  10. Dan dan

    Yeah Tim Tebow is a Christian.. The Bible says you must be born again to enter the kingdom of Heaven (John 3:3) We all broke God's laws such as lying, stealing, looking at someone with lust, taking his name in vain, disobeying our parents, etc.. Are sin deserves to be punished in Hell. Just like a criminal deserves to pay the fine/do the time in prison. But God is a merciful and gracious judge. Who wants to pardon criminals like me and you.. That is why God became a man (Jesus Christ) and lived a sinless and perfect life. He died on the cross under the wrath of God for our sins making the sacrifice complete. So the only way to be forgiven is to repent (turn away from your ungodly lifestyle) and trust alone in what Jesus did on the cross for you. Only through Him are your sins forgiven. "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me" John 14:6

    December 12, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Anita Bleaujob

      Does blindly repeating a bunch of nonsense make you a better person?

      Probably not.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • WordUpToo

      Oops, I'm sorry Dan dan, I didn't catch that...I was busy being rational.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Zenichi-Maro

      Ummm, yeah. But His Noodly Master the Flying Spaghetti Monster has said, "Lo (mein), I say unto thee, do NOT partake of the whole wheat pasta, for this is the noodle of the Dark One; yay, though Tim Tebow throw LIKE a wet noodle, STILL shall I forgive his errors so long as he doth NOT partake of the Dark One's pastafarious noodles."

      December 12, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  11. Kevin

    Clearly, Jesus is helping Tebow because Tebow is a talent free hack who believes in Him. That's what Jesus does you know. Jesus helps those who believe that He is the son of God. Jesus can't be bothered with fixing tectonic plates in the Earth's crust or destroying the flu virus and that gives Him plenty of free time to help His biggest fans accomplish things for which they are thoroughly unequipped.

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

      Good one Kevin, unfortunately will be lost on the blindly believing masses.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  12. Caveman73

    Why is this news? Are you people (CNN) retarded? Or are bucking for Fox News's position as the worst news network?

    December 12, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  13. Zenichi-Maro

    Oh, give me a break. So, what, Rodgers going 13-0 with the Pack is just the work of the Dark Lord Satan?

    How about it's a damned football game and Teabag...I mean Tebow just remembers that and plays his best. At the end of the day, Timmy, you throw a football for a living. I'm sure the big G has better things to do than assist you with your man game.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Cynthia C

      Oh my goodness! This one made me laugh. It's a good and evil is best battled out on the football field.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  14. Eric

    Isn't it great that Tebow is winning these games over a bunch of heritics and heathens? I personally know the Chicago Bears, and there isn't one good Christian on the entire team! They are a bunch of devil worshippers. I can say the same thing for the Jets, Vikings, Dolphins and every other team Tebow has helped beat!
    But let me tell you, Tebow is going to have a difficult time when he plays the Saints.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Anita Bleaujob


      Laughed almost as hard as I do at Tebowtards!

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

      Apparently the Packers are the only non heathen team in the NFL.

      Unbeaten is Gods way.

      God doesn't lose.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • cykill

      lol, oh my god...

      December 12, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Jim Fawcett

      Are you nuts?

      December 12, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Mikey

      Now that is funny!!!! You made my Monday morning.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Cynthia C


      December 12, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  15. GOP Hate America

    why is the media so retarded?

    December 12, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  16. if horses had Gods ...

    Quick .. somebody teach all the starving children around the world Tebowing!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  17. jay

    god has nothing to do with the fact barber cant hold onto the ball properly , thats wut gave them the win ,

    December 12, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  18. GORT01

    shut up Tebow....

    December 12, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  19. not for me

    So God protects one football player while killing millions in natural disasters. I guess a football win is more important than lives of people.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Anita Bleaujob

      It is beyond ridiculous, by at least few light years.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  20. Ab From LA

    I guess god has little compassion for the the sufferings of his children around the world, because he is too busy with watching football on Sundays. How can Tebow, the religious man even go to work on Sunday?

    December 12, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Fox me? Fox you!

      What??!! Are you suggesting, nay, hinting, hypocrisy on the part of a "christian?" The true god that "christians" such as Tebow or the Waltons of Walmart fame or any other person/organization that requires people work on Sundays is the god "Money." THAT is something for the good "christians" of this country to worship.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:16 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.