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. Jo

    To all the Christians on here, I believe there is a proper way to defend our beliefs. If we have learned nothing else, it is to love one another and this means regardless of our differences. Just saying to think about your remarks before you say them. Are they really helping bring others to God or are you feeding their thoughts about us? To all the people that think God doesn't answer prayers because he doesn't care, God answers prayers but the answer is not always what we want. Read Matthew 26:39 and you will see that God cared very much for His son Jesus but still did not give Jesus the answer he wanted. There has always been war and famine. And in those times there are always going to be people who receive God's blessings (in many forms) in some times and hardships in others. But the choice has always been yours on what path you will take in believing. BTW, you also have the ability to help some of the starving people everywhere.

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

      Jo, I appreciate the call for restraint. Would you ever consider the possibility that there is no god?

      December 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Sybaris

      "God answers prayers but the answer is not always what we want."

      And there you have it, the Almighty Caveat!

      In other words your god heard you when the outcome is favorable but if not oh it was just something else.

      Funny, your god has NEVER answered the prayer of a christian amputee but has helped numerous christians find their car keys and Tim Tebow to win football games.

      When you grow up maybe you'll realize how willfully dishonest your statement is.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Jo

      Jake, I have to answer no. There is plenty of scientifical facts that will prove both with me and against me but my reason is the same that all other Christians give and it's because of a feeling in my heart that I know to be true. Unfortunately it's not something that can be explained or understood without feeling it yourself which is where the difficulty to accept our belief lays.
      Sybaris, I'm sorry you don't understand. But have you ever thought that maybe we are right and the reason you don't understand and choose to put us down is because you've never had Jesus in your heart yourself?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Jo

      Oh, one last thing Sybaris, the best comparison I can give to my relationship with God is that of mine and my children (and by no means am I calling myself God). Would I be a great parent if I gave them every single thing that they wanted? What would it teach them? Do they really need everything they ask for? This is not the answer to all of your questions but it can help with some.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • derp

      "There is plenty of scientifical facts that will prove"



      December 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  2. TPF

    I doubt there's a football team that does not have some type of religious affiliation in their thoughts at some time or another. But this hype is mocking religion and peoples beliefs. First off, this is part of what's wrong in this Country, putting sports as a priority. We have a Country and world at the brink of a financial collapse, still have our brave men and women in harms way, and this ' is what the news media can come up with. We have people starving in this Country and we are even giving this any thought at all is really pathetic.

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

      TPF, many of us believe that religion is a major contributor to all the big problems you mention. Fighting against religion is fundamental to making the world a better place. For that reason, I disagree with your suggestion that this topic is unimportant.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  3. mark

    God could care less about football, it's a game; if Tebow said anything less, i would be very disappointed in him

    December 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  4. Only Americans would think a god cares about football
    December 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  5. Lenny Pincus

    Couldn't God do better than have someone win football games? How about helping some doctor cure childhood cancer? btw, I believe in God.

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

      Poor logic! like you asking why can't God make this world heaven? You've gotta go long ways in understanding about good and evil. Read the Bible for answers!

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

      Yea, listen to Erik, I mean the Bible has all the answers in your life! Like for instance, if you want to know how Jesus rose from the grave you can read:
      Matthew 28:1-20
      (Mark 16:1-20)
      (Luke 24:1-53)
      (John 20:1 – 21:25)

      And please don't worry that these accounts are almost completely contradictory, just keep reading and believing until your faith shines through (when glassy eyes stare back at you in the mirror, you are getting close)!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  6. rick

    These PC people were silent when Muhammed Ali was praising Allah but because Tebow is
    a white Christian he's fair game...cowards, hypocrites!

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

      Please Rick, show us a post from an internet site that shows someone berating Ali about his religion..................in 1972!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  7. Andrea M

    Uh no. Doncha think if God had time to pick the Broncos as his favorite team, he would long ago have fixed the problems of deadly diseases, starvation, wars, and all the other horrible things that happen on this planet? The other option is he turns a blind eye to all that in order to help Tebow pull off miracle comebacks every week. I dunno, but that would make him a pretty horrible and a**holeish God imo. More likely it's the fact that we have a great but severely overshadowed defense who can keep opponents at bay long enough to let the law of averages finally work in Tim's favor a time or two. Add in a pretty little field goal or two from again overshadowed strong kickers and you have the recipe for the current winning streak. God has nothing to do with it, it's sweat and hard work.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  8. anon12

    Tebow has a strong belief in something, and that's what's important. He is successful, and most successful people (at least that I have met) have a strong belief in something. It's not necessarily God or some divine power, it can be just as simple as believing you're going to be the best person at your job. People should see Tebow's story as inspiration, not as divine intervention. He's a leader, and it's hard to beat him because he plays as hard as he can on every down. And if he feels the need to thank God afterwards, then so be it. He's grateful for what's been given to him, which is an opportunity a lot of people don't get in life. If some people want to ridicule him for always praying/preaching, fine, but look at this team! They're 7-1 with him on the field and they might make the playoffs after starting off terribly. He is finding ways to win, and something is helping this team win, and it largely has to do with his leadership and his constant fight to win. But again, point is that people should be inspired by his leadership and his actions, not asking whether or not there is truly divine intervention. This will be fun to continue to watch!

    December 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  9. USmellLikePee

    I feel bad for his girlfriend. Tebow is obviously in a Brokeback relationship with god and she will always just be there for looks.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  10. Tony

    Question is, who is the true unstoppable force in the nfl, god or the Green Bay Packers?

    December 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Neither! God does not exist, and "on any given Sunday..."

      December 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  11. Brian

    God thinks about Football?

    December 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  12. janine

    It's 2011 and people are still believing in fairytales

    December 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  13. ThaGerm

    "Is God on Tebow's side?"

    Of course! C'mon, who of us have had an imaginary friend that isn't on our side? I mean, if your imaginary friend is NOT on your side, now is a good time to seek counseling.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  14. SportsLogic

    How many of you people actually watched the game? If you want to talk about miracles, lets talk about the 3 50+ field goals, not Tebows 3-22 >100yrd 3 quarter performance... This is not a pro QB. He's Rex Grossman 2.0.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  15. popcorn


    We hope you got ass kicked by Ghost of Nebuchadnezzar. THE GAINTS. I will be laughing if the GAINTS BEAT THEM and tim comes home crying. CRYING..."WHY GOD... WHY GOD?!?!?" God make tim tebow the suckest guy in sports.



    December 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  16. Wendy

    Tebow isn't putting on a display for your foolishness, he's sincere and because of his sincerity, God DOES bless him. God wants us to be people who believe in him and follow after him, and that is what Tim Tebow is doing. Shame on us for not doing at least as much!

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

      "shame on us for not doing as much"

      Speak for yourself

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

      We can't cure the common cold but we sure do KNOW what god wants and thinks

      December 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  17. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Invoking God in football is akin to invoking God in WAR. We suppose God gets to choose which children die in the bombings, and people pray to God that it's the other side's children.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  18. voice of reason

    This is the kind of useless idiotic story that does no good for anyone's religion.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  19. Adam

    When is this silly blog going to leave CNN?

    December 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Lynda33

      When religious people stop acting like idiots.
      Or in other words: not for the foreseeable future.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  20. AcertnChristian

    Psalms 14:1

    December 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Read and study your Taco Bell wrapper.

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

      Deuteronomy 23:1

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

      Right on BROS!!!

      December 12, 2011 at 12:32 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.