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. Erik

    He believes in Jesus Christ. Good for him. Atleast he is trying to be a spiritual man and do what is right. And everyone prays for success. Why are so many people hating on this man? I don't understand what the outrage is about. I have never been a fan of Tebow or disliked him one way or the other. But everyone does have a right to voice their beliefs, if you disagree, that's you, so what. Let the man play and I hope he gets better and better because he wasn't given a fair shake at first anyway....Tebow has heart and I am actually starting to become a fan...that is until they happen to play the Falcons..Peace

    December 12, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • George

      The atheists on here are very vocal and hateful of all people of faith.

      December 12, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • ufadoof

      Disbelief does not equal hate.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  2. rSmith

    @Sid Airfoil, What a great way to sum up Christianity! Anti-human is a saying I've never heard, but will start now. Christianity is not pro-human. It's exactly the opposite. The word Christian means "Christ follower", that being said, whoever calls themsleves a Christian gives up their rights and "humanness" to follow a gracious and good God whom they owe everything to.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  3. mlb127

    So--God hates Marion Barber????? So----How much much food has Timmy given to Somalia????What will people say when his pregnant girlfriends come out(it will happen,a young guy with too much fame and fortune)The nfl is the very definition and example of what is wrong with society.God cares as much about littlle timmy as he does about charles manson.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  4. Rick

    HAHAHAHAHA what an naive, blinded article. If there was a GOD you Christians are dumb enough to think he would let MILLIONS of children starve but HELP some steroid pumped LB playing QB win a fricking game of football? Yea, your god is saying "screw famine, Tebow is playing today!"

    HAHAHAHA you christians are so lame.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Baxter

      It's alright if you don't have God in your life. Why do you feel the need to insult those that choose to? A bit insecure in your lack of faith? Let go... Let God.

      December 12, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • satanlovesvulva

      To Baxter: Why don't you answer his Rick's question?

      If there was a GOD you Christians are dumb enough to think he would let MILLIONS of children starve but HELP some steroid pumped LB playing QB win a fricking game of football?

      So Baxter, what about that? Does your god let millions of children starve, but helps out those million dollars athletes? Why do millions of children starve, can you answer that Baxter

      December 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  5. Cooper Union

    I am surrounded by frickin' idiots!

    December 12, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  6. Deb

    Hang on. It's a game. He's a professional athlete. He's not the only one winning these games. And if his receivers were not dropping the passes, the Broncos' score would have been higher. He's winning now. And he'll lose some. Regardless, he will stay positve and religious. And football will go on. No need to dis him, no need to dis religion, no need to dis the Broncos. Just have fun and call it a day.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  7. John the Baptist

    God doesn't care about all the terrible things going on in the world, he cares about Tebow making a touchdown.Wow, your god sucks

    December 12, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  8. Waiting_His_Return

    You people are pathetic. Tim never said God was helping him throw the ball or the receivers catch it. He is just thanking the creator of the universe that he is able to perform as he does. Does God help him? Yes. By giving him an inter-peace no matter what happens. Would he still thank God if he played bad? Yes. Because if you’re a Christian you wake up thankful for the new day and whats to come. Must be terrible to live such a cynical life. Get God. Get Peace!

    December 12, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • ufadoof

      What was that bit in your good book.......ah right.......“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. " You called yourself pathetic. Must be terrible to live such a cynical life.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  9. gwen

    Thank Marion Barber if anyone lol

    December 12, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  10. Sara, Wisconsin

    Somehow all a little far fetched. The legendary Green Bay Packers team spirit and teamwork does just as well.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  11. Baxter

    Tebow was asked about this very subject. He himself said God doesn't play favorites in sports. He said that his faith in his team and their will to win and never give up, is the basis for their success. The media, again is trying to build something that the participants don't want attached to them.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  12. Hmmmm

    sometimes i ask myself........"What would Tim Tebow do".......then i remember i hate the Broncos

    December 12, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  13. chris

    players have been pointing to the sky for years. after games players from both sides gather to pray. why is it now that liberal nutjobs are against it?

    December 12, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  14. Wunderland

    What a sad, shallow article – God is on the side of everyone who wants Him to be there. The sad thing is when – not if – the Broncos lose a game, Tim will still acknowledge God is in control and accept the outcome because his faith is real. The media and most of America will announce that "God has forsaken Tim" and then actually question where God went....

    December 12, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  15. James

    I guess the KC Chiefs must worship Satan, that explains it...yeah that's the ticket.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • BigJohn4USA

      No, that would be the Raiders

      December 12, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  16. JL

    Maybe the Broncos and Tebow have benefitted from negative and excessive publicity. If we treated them equally or ignoired them , this would probably not be happening. Reality may be spiritual but it need not favor Denver or Tebow.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  17. Tars Tarkas

    These morons actually believe that God is taking sides in a football game? Christ was all about humility, and this is the WORST kind of arrogance!! Come on, somebody man up and kick the crap out of these donkeys!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  18. satanlovesvulva

    Are you people blind? Did you not see GGGGOOOOODDDDDD!!!!! pushing and pulling marion barber out of bounds so that God's chosen one "Tim Tebow" can have some time left for the game winner, just like the Almighty planned it. Did you not watch as the Mighty Yahwe striped the ball out of marion barber's hands? What game were you people watching? Just before Tebow headed in for that game winning drive, I saw from the sky, a dove was descending on Tim and a loud voice said "this is my beloved, this is my chosen one". Wait you guys did not see that either? I got to cut back on that vulva, it's making me see things.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  19. Prescott

    The focus should not be on the idea that God is making the Broncos win. Rather, the focus should be on Tebow's relationship with God, and God's promise of success to those who follow Him. The first Psalm says "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night...and whatever he does shall prosper."

    Tebow does not have to win the Super Bowl - or even get there - to prove that he is a successful young man who attributes that success to his faith in Jesus Christ.

    God is not winning those games: Tim Tebow and an inspired Broncos team are. But God is doing something that is more important than any sporting event: He is blessing the life of a young man who acknowledges Him in all he does.

    True Christians also show their faith by how they lose and how they face failure. Tebow will be able to do that as well.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • James

      Very well said. I agree with you 100%.

      December 12, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Terri

      AMEN TO THAT PRESCOTT !! To God be the glory great things He has done in the life of Tim Tebow and will continue to do. We as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus must continue to hold Tim up in prayer. Last night's game was AMAZING!! You go Tim Tebow and keep lifting of the name of JESUS, that name that is above all names, we have your back !!!

      December 12, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  20. Rachel

    I think it's hysterical that since that looney tune, Bill Maher, made fun of Tebow, he's had a winning streak.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • gwen

      Bill Maher isn't a looney tune you doodie head

      December 12, 2011 at 9:33 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.