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. Rick Martinez

    Seriously people especially those of you who are believers. You really think that GOD if he is the Almighty would spend his time or effort making sure that Tim Tebow wins as opposed to helping stop that man that just murdered that 7 year old girl or help prevent any of the other horrible crap that goes on in the world especially on sundays.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Carolyn

      No kidding! If there is anything I despise it is athletes on the field raising their hands heaven-ward or crossing themselves after they make a touchdown or hit a home run or any other such. ARE YOU KIDDING?! Athletes already think of themselves as Gods and get treated that way by most Americans. Disgusting. They are nothing but big walking blocks of testosterone. God is NOT intervening and is probably not watching you either. Get a life outside your bubble!!!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  2. J.R.

    What a way to cheapen God by siding him with .... Football? Ugh. Please ... God has nothing to do with Tebow's success. The success of your marriage, how well you'll get along with your in-laws this Holiday or your math test on Tuesday. He doesn't care about your petty little needs, ok?

    December 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • streetsmt

      The what does he care about???

      December 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Jon

      Actually, God doesn't care about any of those things either... anyone who voted yes to a football win having any relation to god what so ever, your an idiot, and I find your stupidy humorous yet annoying.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Mike K

      It's not about football... it's about the sheer number of people talking about God, and the vehicle He is using to accomplish that.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  3. Steve the Goat

    I hope Tebow (notice how that's rather close to teabag?) gets hit by a church school bus.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Not Nice!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  4. GAW

    I thought God was a Steelers fan?

    December 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  5. alloco

    The simple yet difficult thing to understand about Mr. Tebow is that he LIVES the believer's life, the others do not. What it means to live a "believer's life" is that you are living your life according to God's word (bible) but not just on Sunday, but every day of your life. A true believer does not live like and angel one day and then curse, use the name of God in vain, get sloppy drunk, the rest of the week. But you who do not believe will not understand. The carnal or humanistic mind cannot understand the things of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14

    December 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • DeeNYC

      Maybe God loves him because he's secretly molesting little boys in locker room. God really likes that.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  6. chicken flippers

    It is rediculous to pray to God or any God to win a game. That is the wrong way to pray and is abusing prayer. Pray that nobody gets hurt, pray that everyone goes home safe, but dont pray to win. God does not work that way.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Chad

      Does anyone watch his interviews? He has repeatedly said he doesn't pray for wins, he prays for strength and mental resiliance. He even says he knows that God isn't interested in the outcome of a football game and who wins or loses. The media does the man a disservice with these cutesy articles that propogate the myth that he somehow thinks God is a football fan. The man just doesn't quit, inspires his teammates and happens to have a heck of a kicker on his bench. All you judgemental anti-religion nuts need to relax a bit.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  7. john doe

    Some people are easily impressed . The Bronco's wins were not miracles nor astonishing ,they were hard fought nfl games. To think God favors Tim Tebow is a spit in the face of every starving child , every person fighting a deadly disease and every victim of a natural disaster. To those who claim to believe in a higher power thats your choice I just think you would consider that there are greater needs for miracles outside the football field . I don't consider a team barely winning a game divine intervention especially when the offense has to be modified because of the qb 's limited talent.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Aron

      I'm an atheist, but I'm also educated enough to know that everything we know (or think we know) is pure speculative thinking. But, to argue your point, IF God did exist... do you think it would be more benefitial for him to be helping starving children... or using an icon like Tim Tebow to "draft" more believers so they believers could help more starving children. As a decent human being, I like helping people in need but as a father I take exponentially more pride in watching my kids help people in need. Maybe that's Gods intention with Tebow!? Draft more believers so "he" can create a more loving and responsible human race!? That is... if God really does exists.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  8. mdn

    I think the real question is weather Tebow or anyone claiming piety is on God's side. There is God's side and the Devil's side. There is no Tebow's side.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  9. God

    Yes...I care about the outcome of football games, yet allow genocide to occur all over the world.

    The same reason I care about a speck of dust in the grand scope and scale of the universe, to impregnate a virgin and to allow myself to be tortured.

    I DO fancy and love the hipocracy though....

    December 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  10. HotAirAce

    I do not know who Denver is playing next week but I'm going to place a bet on Denver to win. There is no way any god (if one existed of course) would allow this atheist to benefit from his support of Tebow! If I do win the bet, I will be donating the proceeds to RichardDawkins.net.

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

      awesome! 🙂


      We are ALL African! 😀

      December 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  11. WhatWhatWhat?

    Invoking god to help win a game violates the christinsanity belief system, doesn't it? Isn't that tempting god? What if everyone who's competing tries to invoke god? Does he pick who he likes most? Does that mean that unbelievers never even stand a chance? It's the stupidest thing a christian can do to show their ignorance of themselves and their delusional beliefs, purely moronic.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    "A fake Jesus Christ account, @Jesus_M_Christ, tweeted: "I think Dad loves @TimTebow more than me." "

    As opposed to the real Jesus Twitter account??

    December 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Jesus

      Even I have learned you need to be quick to adopt new social media or you end up having some poser use your name.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  13. RichWW2

    Dear CNN,
    God does not care about sporting events, big math tests, your dog's health, etc. Please don't write stupid articles like this ever again.


    December 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  14. John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

    Tebow just has played some great football last 6 and has a great team that works very well together as a team.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm |

    I love that all the commentators who kept saying he doesn't belong are proved wrong.

    I think the Florida NFL team (Jaguars) were idiots for not signing up Tiebow as he would of put people in their empty seats.

    In God You Trust.... Heck No In Tiebow We Trust..... 🙂
    Seriously the man is a honest christian person with ethics and in football that is hard to find these days! He could get the National Felon League nice again unlike the dog killin Vic. (God will settle with him in the future as he body slams him to he ll like Vic did his dogs)

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

      I think calling him honest with ethics is good enough. Take the christian out. It offends non-christians because the implication is that they are somewhat worse.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • God

      I also punish people who type in all caps and those that spell names incorrectly.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • God

      and Justin Bieber fans.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  16. ABN

    louis it's obvious you don't !

    December 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm |

    I would say its more the athleticism and talent that was given to Tebow by God.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • streetsmt

      ... you mean given to him by his Mom and Dad.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  18. Akakakakakak

    This article is just so bad. My god, just quit. Just quit now while you're ahead. Stop writing and go back to the cave from which you came.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  19. Expat

    I suppose there'd be a lot less talk about Tim Tebow if he twice had wild, drinking parties with underage girls present (like another quarterback). Or, if he shot himself, or was belligerent, abusive, etc. I'm not such a religious guy, but I'd much rather my daughter hook up with someone like Time Tebow than many of the more "flamboyant look-at-me" types in professional sports.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  20. Flip5

    God should get back to work on the important stuff and stop fiddling with football game outcomes. Plus, it's not very sportsman like of him.

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


      December 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
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