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. Drew

    I knew this stupid article was coming a month ago. And CNN bit. It's stupid, if there is a god, he doesnt care about football. It's a silly game and no team is more godly and worthy than another that he's going to interfere with the final score. There are people starving, being beaten daily, with no roof to live under. This article is insulting. Tebow's wins have nothing to do with god, but he may have sold his soul to the devil, that or his defense.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Alan

      This does scream for a reexamination of our irrational concern with the supernatural. Why do we so need to lean on such crutches as religion and require imaginary sky friends to be so concerned with our lives? I for one feel that we're hurtling down a track of insanity towards an end where opposing sky friends and their adherents face off with weapons of unspeakable power. Far from messages of love and intolerance. all religions share the same disrespect for other's imaginary sky beings, and offer up various punishments for those who don't follow their own brand. I guess the point I'm getting at is that many have noted here that pretty much every team is full of devout Christians – why favor the Broncos? How about we form an international league that ends with a SuperNatural Bowl, where the winners of Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Muslim and other sub leagues face off in playoffs to decide whose side God is really on?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • notashamed

      John 3
      16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  2. louis

    I guess "GOD" hates the innocent people of Syria.. he must be to busy watching the broncos.. doesn't anybody think before they write anymore?

    December 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  3. Jeff J

    This is possibly the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. I'm sure the Chicago Bears had dozens of players that prayed before the game too. I guess Tebow's prayers count more because he's a quarterback.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  4. Bob

    I was born a couple of hundred years too early I think.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Anne

      I am from three hundred years in the future. We have accepted the fact that Tebow is not favored by God, he is God. This was widely accepted when he won his 68th Super Bowl, most of them in come-from-behind overtime wins. After his 77th Super Bowl win he retired to allow mere portals to play the game. However, he still tosses the coin in the pre-game show.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  5. Mimo

    Let us all hope God is making better use of his time

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

    the heathen have to repent they like their false gods, listen to this footballer.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  7. Radek

    I like Tim Tebow a lot, not just because he's very talented, and expresses his faith without trying to force it upon others; and more importantly he gives a lot back, and does and has been doing for others for a long time. However no, god is not helping him win, and god doesn't have a hand in the goings on of the world we live in today the way people think, since it is not under his rule. If he did, then there would be no need for the last chapter of the bible; but that's another topic.

    Tebow is just a really talented guy; and loves doing what he does. Is he praying for victory, or thanking god for victory when and if he does win? No, no Christian does that. The prayers before a game, or fight (MMA), is the guy or gal athlete of faith asking for a good fight or game meaning, they hope they nor their opponent is seriously injured or killed. Nothing more or less. When they do win, they aren't thanking god for the win, believing god actually cared about them winning a sport. They thank god for their talent that allows them to do and love what they do, and for the game or fight going well, in which both or all people were able to walk away un-severely injured or dead. That's the thing people don't understand about athletes of faith; they aren't expecting god to make the other team lose, and them win.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  8. The Big Fat One

    Wow. the idiocy of this story is just astounding. He's a good football player. That's it.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:03 pm |

      So just what is your idiocy attributed to oh big fat one?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  9. Adam

    The only thing it proves is that God must really hate the Chicago Bears.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  10. ExphDK

    Tebow = Religious
    Rodger = Darwin

    My bet for the superbowl is on science.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  11. ABN

    I agree God doesn’t care about football, but! He does care about all of us and he cares about Tebow. Just because you don’t believe in God don’t knock him for his beliefs. Some people complain about him forcing his religion on other people but we except people forcing gay rights on us such as the California school system. But they will do whatever they can to get the votes they need to stay in office or to get elected

    December 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • streetsmt

      What a lod of crock. I suppose you wouldn't want someone "forcing" your free speech rights on you as well. You make no sense.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      Speaking of the California School system, the word you want to use is Accept, not except.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Erik G.

      As someone working in a California school, I have to say I have no idea what you're talking about! Actually, I think that makes two of us!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  12. if horses had Gods ...

    Aaron Rodgers must have Zoroaster on his side then.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • derp

      Rodgers has the force.

      He can kick gods a ss. Tebow has god and lost one game, Rodgers has the force, a superbowl ring and is undefeated.

      December 12, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  13. webo

    I'm sure God loves Tebow. I'm sure God loves anyone taking the time to read this. Having said that, as far a football is concerned, God is not on Tebow's side. God is not on the Bronco's side. God is on God's side. If He's involved, and I think He may be, it is only an attempt to call to each of us to be "reconciled" to Him. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

    December 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Bob

      Read Sy2502's immediately prior post. Repeatedly. 'til you get it, stupid.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • zdjzhu

      I agree, God loves us all and if we take time to just love him and surrender all to him, he is able to take care of whatever we need or want. Tebow has realized his source of help and uses it to his success. If only we could call on him and have that kind of relationship with him, nothing is impossible with God. Tebow give God the glory and do your thing.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • webo

      Concerning Sy2502 comment: The genocide mentioned is the result of man walking away from God in the beginning. God hopes you'll see how screwed we've made it and return to Him.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  14. Sy2502

    Yes I am entirely sure that while god completely disregards the millions of children who starve to death, or die of unspeakable diseases and neglect, he finds the time to make some guy who chases a ball for a living win. I would expect nothing else from the god of love.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • RAWR

      Well said.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • kim

      If you and others would become the Tebow for staving children god would bless you and the project. People starve because of personal choice (theirs or others). We have the technology and resources to end hunger. Greed and sin gets in the way. God alows the Tebows of the world to win and lose then it is appointed for man to die. Then you will see what thinks you did while kids had no food.

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

      I'm not a believer in football, though I enjoy sports. What I do believe in is God's word, and what I can see is the fulfillment of God's word in Tebow's life when he is not ashamed to stand up for his faith in God.
      Joshua 1:8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
      Many of the situations people live in or lack of is because of their decision to not live up to God's law, but you can always choose to make a difference yourself by making some charity to those people in need.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • webo

      The genocide mentioned is the result of man walking away from God in the beginning. God hopes we'll see how screwed up we've made it, in our independence, and return to Him.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  15. Call me crazy

    I don't think God is concerned with winning in sports. And if he were, I think it would take more than prayer to justify him helping you make millions playing a game.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  16. ufadoof

    When Tebow loses, which he will. Does that mean god wants him to lose? Free will? More like free Willy.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  17. Mike

    Have we not heard "God works in mysterious ways?" Come on people, maybe God is trying to spread his word through a football player who has been so devoted to him. Did you ever think of that? Anyone saying this is not possible is not a true believer in my opinion.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Mike

      and another thing....have we forgotten about football great Kurt Warner? He too shared a strong faith and surprised everyone with the St. Louis Rams coming out of nowhere to win the Super Bowl.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • streetsmt

      I'm thinking about it.... I thought about it. I don't believe it.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Noah

      I believe Tebow is honestly a man of God...Does that have anything to do with his wins? I don't know. But if God can use him to bring others to believe, perhaps...Only he knows.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  18. Alan

    This is hilarious! If I were religious, I'd be incensed with the notion that God has nothing better to do than favor one silly team over another. As I am not and actually believe that religion in all its guises is a negative force in our lives, I can't help but look forward to the day Tim starts losing games and all this melts away again, relegated to the insane periiphery with the miraculous appearances of the face of Jesus in various foods...

    December 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  19. Twm

    God is not involved, he should be praying that Praxters big leg stays healthy

    December 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Radek

      Tebow and other athletes who have faith, don't ever pray for victory, or thank god for winning. They pray that the game or fight goes well, and goes well means- both have a good game in which both aren't severely injured or killed. When they thank god for their win, it goes with their philosophy of thanking god for any good accomplishments that come their way. and for the talents that allows them to do and love what they do.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm |


    December 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47
About this blog

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.