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. SFC Mike

    This whole thing is ridiculous. Tebow's wins have come against two teams during low points of their respective seasons (Dolphins and Chargers), both of whom are playing much better football now, one team that has been erratic and mediocre the entire season and has quarterback problems (Raiders), two teams going nowhere (Chiefs and Vikings) and one team that lost its starting quarterback and has not played well in its last two losses against weak teams (Bears). With the long-shot exception of the Chargers, none of those teams has a shot at the playoffs. The Broncos beat the Jets when the Jets were on a losing streak and Mark Sanchez had been erratic to terrible most of the season. Denver is likely to win their (weak) division, but as a 4th seed, they're likely to encounter Steelers or Ravens depending on which of those two wins the division and which gets the wild card. Then it really will take a miracle.

    You'd have something to talk about if Tebow had wins against the likes of Green Bay, Houston, New Orleans, New England, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Since Tebow became starter, the only playoff bound team he has or will face is New England next week, and likely the Jets, now that they're playing solidly. If Denver had drafted Cam Newton instead of Tebow, the Broncos would likely have the same record they have against the opponents Tebow has played, with the difference that you wouldn't need so many come from behind wins.

    One of the hallmarks of non-playoff caliber teams is they can't hold on to fourth quarter leads or put a game out of reach early.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  2. YouCanHazLogic

    Sure! God pays attention to and intercedes in football (HUH! SPORTZZZ!!) but let the entire Halocaust happen. Why are people dumb? Why? Why?

    December 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  3. IslandAtheist

    If steroids are going to be illegal it seems like gods help should be illegal too.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • kim

      Stick to your island Asheist you don't need to keep dragging innocent lives into your sin

      December 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  4. AcertnChristian

    Creation is evidence of a Creator just like a building is evidence of a builder. Come on athiests its easy to figure out. Even my 3 year old gets it. Psams 14:1

    December 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • SportsLogic

      I bet that 3 year old believes in Santa too – until YOU tell him that he's fake. But not Jesus though. Start thinking independently,

      December 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • AcertnChristian

      We dont tell our kids that Santa is real because that would be a lie. I dont want some fat man taking the credit for what we bought our kids. But you can believe what you want its a free country... I think.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • kim

      Sports logic
      Love it, let the children stumble around without knowledge of god? You need more victims for your side?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Yaeh, and the building was built in 6 days, right?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • if horses had Gods ...

      You are simply over anthropomorphizing "creation". For example, a tree is proof of the growth of a tree .. not proof of a humanized tree designer. I don't expect you to even try to understand, but I'm giving it a shot.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • kim

      Not all Docs
      So you want to attack the bible? What is your real reason for being afraid of the light?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • AcertnChristian

      All cells or DNA is proof that there is a designer and in no way they could happen by chance. Your theory on this please? or you can just accept what we Christians have known all along... The Maker. Sooner or later you will meet HIm and have to answer for your deeds and rejecting Him.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • kim

      If horses
      Oh, I see your'e smart and the writers of the bible are dumber.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Get Real


      Today's average 8 year-old knows more about the universe and how it works than those primitive Middle Eastern Hebrew tribesmen who 'wrote' the Bible. Sure, they knew some stuff about human nature, but that book is, in addition to *some* actual historical data, mostly myth, legend, fantasy and superst-ition.

      There is not a shred of verified evidence for any of the supernatural beings nor events in that book.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • kim

      Get Real
      Scientists thought they were the smarter also 800 years ago, 500 years ago 70 years ago and today. They will be proved not so smart in a matter of time. As to the people of the bible they were god smart. There is more to life than erecting a pyramid to yourself. Best balance your life and figure out the most important part.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • kim

      Get Real
      To this day the word of god shines a spotlight on sin. Those that live in sin hate the late and Christians that attempt to reflect even though they fail miserably. Here is a simple test for you. You know the sin in your life and you need to deny it or turn it into something good and acceptable. How is that working for you?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Get Real


      I handle my failings the same way that you do (although maybe you don't/won't realize or acknowledge it) - I try to correct them, or I suffer logical, natural consequences from them.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • kim

      Get Real
      I think you are saying you do not need the bible or god to point out the sin in your life. Who do you look to? Who is the standard bearer in your life? Don't forget the Greeks brought society to the point where mothers brought their boys to the old men of knowledge to be brought up with open $exual lusts. They called it pederasty. HItler only thought blue eyes made the grade. Without a standard we are left to our own way.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Get Real


      If my genealogy research is correct, several members of my own ancestry were tried and executed as witches and devil's followers in Germany in the 1500s by Bible-th.umping Christ-believers... and they were among hundreds of thousands who suffered this fate.

      Moral behavior is not always easy to figure out... you need logic, history, psychology and ethics study. Your "God" will do nothing. As I said, your Middle Eastern Hebrews figured out *some* beneficial concepts, but they were not the first nor the last to conceive these ideas.

      There is not a shred of verified evidence for the supernatural beings nor events of the Bible.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Get Real

      hmmmm, looks like we need to add "h-ump" to that taboo word filter list...

      p.s. Those ancestors of mine who were executed in Germany simply chose to believe a different flavor of Christianity, btw... they weren't even pagans.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • kim

      Get Real
      There is lots of evidence concerning the god of the Hebrew but, you cannot see it for some reason. You can Google as well as I can to gather evidence yet that will not get us anywhere. God will choose to reveal himself in the manner god chooses not the manner you want to see it. Ancient Babylonian texts will not change your mind. The greater issue is not that there is no evidence rather you will not or cannot see what you have been given. If there is a god we will be without excuse at some point for our action or inaction. If there is no god it does not matter how or if we escape the bondage of sin. You escape your way I escape my way. I give god the thanks and glory which falls on deaf ears while you give yourself a pat on the back. You are not better off than I am and vice versa.
      How did the Greeks come to realize pederasty was wrong? With the slippage of tolerance after 2,000 years society is again moving towards older men and 18, 19 year old boys being fair game. One democrat senator Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts Gerry Studds was censured for gay relationship with his 17 year old page. He received a standing ovation from his supporters and was reelected. Without a divine standard man will continue to create his own standards. I have yet to see any man made standards that reflect the divine nature as expressed in the bible.

      The Christians that killed your family were of the same evil that hung Jesus. It was not a Christian or religion problem it was broken people problem. It does not take much to get a mob stirred up. People are easy to lead astray.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  5. paul




    December 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Erik

      Seek the truth before it is too late!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  6. Bejeesus

    I have a toaster that browns the Broncos logo onto a piece of toast .. just like Jesus. It's proof of God that I test every morning around 6:45am.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  7. Rob

    Ridiculous... The dumbing down is nearly complete.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • SportsLogic

      Unbelievable. Like living in the stone age.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • rashid

      Next Sunday, the Pats come to town. God will be out of town.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • AcertnChristian

      believing that your ancestor is a monkey sounds pretty dumb too but go ahead with that unproven theory (belief) you have freedom of religion here in America.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • derp

      "believing that your ancestor is a monkey sounds pretty dumb"

      Once again, idiot jesustard proves they know nothing about evolution theory.

      December 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  8. clintbowyer

    Not to take anything away from Tebow, but lets give the rest of the team some credit too. That defense keeps them in games and puts them in position to have "tebow time" in the first place.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  9. popcorn



    December 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  10. paul

    delusional fools

    December 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  11. Fred

    So all the Christians on the other teams are less devote? Oh wait, the Lions must have someone who loves God more.

    God doesn't help you win, Satan does, so it seems to me "someone" made a deal with the devil 😮

    December 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • kim

      You made a deal, what is it? Satan pulling your strings in a lot of ways

      December 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  12. DrewL

    I'm a Tebow fan, but the religion angle is preposterous. God would seem to be on Aaron Rodgers' side even more so, no? The Packers are 13-0. And God didn't seem to have a problem with alcohol-swilling good old boys like Kenny Stabler and Brett Favre when they were winning lots of games. Tebow is a leader who plays hard and finds a way to win. One doesn't have to believe in God for that to happen. If he wants to believe that, then fine. I just enjoy watching him play football.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  13. Frank

    There have been *miracles* in sports before. No big deal.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  14. popcorn

    Tim Tebow will become the next tiger woods and commit adultery most of married women and women........ THE ANTi-CHRIST OF SPORTS GAME.


    December 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Frank

      Easy big fella.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  15. drp146

    Sooner or later, Tebow is going to do one of his scrambles with the ball and the defensive players on the other team are going to slam him to the ground, he will be injured and his career and remarkable streak will be over. Teaching him the error of trying to play college ball in the NFL. And god is not going to stop it from happening.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  16. tafugate

    different people use different things to motivate them. most people believe in themselves, friends, and/or family, but tebow uses religion as a psychological opiate. he focuses so strongly on his faith, it keeps him focused on his football. could he accomplish the same thing without religion? of course he could. but he firmly believes in dancing with the date that brung him.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  17. Aces2Jokers

    ....Aaron Rodgers has won his last 19 games. Seems like "Tebow's God" loves him more.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  18. Jedus Price

    What if Tim Tebow is God himself, making the impossible... possible? Maybe God was tired of being the underdog, and decided to show the world that he doesn't need quick feet, or a cannon of an arm... he just needs people to believe... cue the Keanu Reeves meme....

    December 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  19. JoeT

    This actually simplifies a lot of things for the coach's staff– instead of meticulously recording and reviewing videos after defeats, and ramping-up practices and strategies, they can just cast lots to determine who has sinned among them, drawing the ire of God. Instead of practicing, they can just stone the offender(s) and achieve the purity that God requires to make them victorious.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  20. G-Man

    Sort of shows how humans are not so bright after all. If there is a God, does he/she/it give a rip what happens on some little grassy field somewhere in nowheresville, USA?

    December 12, 2011 at 12:16 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.