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. popcorn

    A fake Jesus Christ account??? Lie, greed, cheat, steal....

    The bible is correct. Football will turn political corruption and dark ages. thanks a lot for ruin the economy again. FOOTBALL should pay taxes!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Moe Smith

      The Bible says women are chattel as well... the Enquirer says there is a half man half dog living in the US. Which one should be believed more?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  2. Brian

    Ist Corintians 1:28-28 God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. God has Chosen the weak things of the World to confound the mighty. and base things of this world and things which are despised has God chosen. yes and things that are not to bring to nought, the things that are. That no flesh should glory in his presense

    Funny, People say his playing style is foolish. 3-18 in the first half passing. They say he is a weak Quarterback. Funny 3 straight drives in the 4th quarter and in OT to get on the board, tie, and then win the game. Yes and no flesh is glorying in God's presence because God is receiving The Glory. I guess the big test is against the mighty Tom Brady.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Michelle

      No doubt a big test coming this weekend. On paper, the Pats have the better offense, but Denver probably has the better defense. If the Denver D can control Brady, look out. But I'm not sure they can for 4 quarters. Should be fun...

      December 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Moe Smith

      Leviticus: many parts mentioned, "women are chattel". Stuff your fairy tale, hypocrite.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  3. KTF

    Folks, enjoy the game! People are twisting things this way and that to suit their own purposes. God loves everyone. God loves people on both teams. This is a no-brainer. Tim Tebow is not God or Jesus Christ but he is an out-spoken believer who is not afraid or ashamed to share his faith–this is why HE is getting so much attention. I agree, lighten up! It's football. Whether Tim and the Broncos win or lose, Tim Tebow is still a winner in my book so long as he keeps his faith in God no matter what happens on the field or off. You people are way too serious and making a mountain out of a mole-hill!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  4. BOBBY

    Well if God is on tebows side they got the super bowl in the bag then don't they.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  5. Michelle

    In this day and age of pompous athletes and celebrities, stupid reality TV making icons out of idiots, and all the other ridiculous stuff in the world... I'm for anything that promotes simple positivity in the world.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • BOBBY

      And that indeed is exactly what tebow does actually.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Jake

      Me too. But many of us think religion is a very negative thing. I'm all for positive messages from athletes but Tebow's doesn't fall in that category.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  6. IceT

    If by God you actually mean kicker Matt Prater, then yes, "God" has something to do with Tebows success.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Michelle

      Yup, Prater won them the game... but someone got Prater in a position to kick those FGs.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • IceT

      Yes, combined effort of Tebow, the rest of the Denver Broncos team & God lol

      December 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  7. Batman

    The guy is a GREAT quarterback. He was great at Florida. Maybe his belief helps him to be great. But if ANYBODY thinks that God gives a crap about who wins a football game when people are fighting and dying around the world, and little kids have cancer, and people are starving, and the environment is going down the tubes, then they are just stupid or crazy.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • BOBBY

      Its pretty cleart that the Denver D is what is winning these games...they are the best in the NFL right now.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  8. patrickdaley

    is this a serious news article?

    December 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Jerome Horowitz

      My feelings exactly!!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  9. Aminotothat!

    It may not be obvious that God is helping Tim Tebow, it is however plain to see that the Devil has gotten to Marion Barber. Exorcism scheduled for Soldier Field this weekend. Be there!

    December 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  10. sincity36

    look tim tebow is a great player its not god thats doing it, omg, can we just put this god thing aside n watch some football, really peopl, what do have to pray to use the bathroom.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  11. this is a joke

    please stop writing articles.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  12. Santiago Rodriguez

    The BIble says that God honors those who honor Him. (I Samuel 2:30). God is not a football fan; football is an idol to many people. Tim Tebow takes God seriously; he gives God the glory with his words and his life. He helps people in need and is building a hospital in the Philippines for people in need.
    It amazes me how many posts in this blog blast God for getting "involved in football and leaves the starving to die." The truth is God loves, cares, and hurts for the starving. He has chosen to bless us with so much and we are the ones who are letting the people in Africa and other parts starve. It's us, not God; and He will make us answer for the way we used all that He gave us while others suffered.
    How easy to ridicule Tebow or any other person of faith. How hard to look inside... How easy to speak against a God; how hard for all our excuses to bear weight when our turn comes to stand before Him. We have been given so many chances to make things right, to humble ourselves and embrace His love. On top of that, we have been given so much in terms of stuff...

    December 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Orbit

      The Broncos will lose – maybe next game. What does that mean God thinks of Tebow?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Jerome Horowitz

      My God wants to know why you keep calling Her "Him".

      December 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Moe Smith

      Did God honor the 3000 who died on 9/11? Has God honored every single military person who has died due to George Jr sending the US to War just so that he could finish what his daddy failed to do when daddy was in office? stuff your hypocritical bull$h!7.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  13. Scott S.

    It's kind of funny how the media has focused on his faith so much. Many many athletes are very devout. Almost every post-game interview by a LOT of players begins with, "First I need to thank my lord and saviour Jesus Christ, because without him... blah blah blah." Tebow has benefitted from some lucky plays and HORRID defense. Go back and watch the end of the Bears game... good lord that was awful defense! An no i don't think God favors the broncos because... THERE IS NO GOD!

    December 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • pete

      Ohh, big tough arrogant guy like yourself says there is no God so I guess that makes it fact.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Orbit

      Totally. We hear it all the time from all kinds of players. Here it's because everybody wrote him off because he was so unreliable throwing, and they built a way to win with a running game. (Noticeably, when other qbs have to rely on a running game or field goals to win, they're considered not very good). It's beyond me – but if I was anyone of his team mates, I'd like a little more recogniton for the fact that they're winning because they're playing like a team.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Orbit

      Pete: Funny who people who believe in God get all freaked out when anyone questions the existence of God – I guess because there's no proof. But guess what – it's a free country, and that includes saying what we want about the existence, or not, of od.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  14. runmom

    If God is on Tebow's side, why have all of his wins been fourth-quarter comebacks? Why doesn't God just give Tebow a good performance throughout the whole game?

    December 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  15. System You

    Since people really have no idea who or what God is, especially people that claim that God is on their side. Some guy came to my door this summer trying to convert me to some religion, I asked him if his religion was the right one....you know, because I don't want to be left out when it comes time to be saved and sent to heaven....the guy couldn't answer me. I just smiled and closed the door.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  16. popcorn

    The Jewish and churches should be outrage by this article. SPORTS and GOD..... It is forbidden under ten commandment.

    Sport is idolatry. No you cannot make the TEAM AS GOD..... Finger point them. NFL = BLASPHEMY!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  17. Orbit

    People don't seem to have noticed that it wasn't Tebow that kicked a 59-yard and a 51-yard field goal. Or that it's the Packers that have a 13-0 record, not the Broncos. God is messing with your heads, people.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  18. Moe Smith

    Believing God gives two $h!7s about football to begin with is just refukintarded. Believing he has a hand in helping you win is just self-righteous nonsense and stupidity. To believe God helps you win a game but let's over 3000 people die in the twin towers or is responsible for letting the likes of George Jr become president to begin with... ARE YOU FNCKING SERIOUS??? Get the fnck over yourself.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  19. ose

    tebows success has to attributed with his faith. all the immotions quarterbacks and receivers exchange due to miscommunication, drop balls and shorts passes are none existent with him because according to his faith, it's wrong to to judge or hold aggression towards others.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  20. Mark

    I am so sick of the "god" talk these days. "god" didn't have anything to with Tebow winning. He is a good player with a good team behind him and a little luck. "god" didn't have anything to do with it because there is no "god"

    December 12, 2011 at 12:02 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.