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. Brad

    If anyone had cared to apply the slightest degree of rational thought here, this "story" would have never been written, much less actually posted, on CNN.com.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • No one knows the TRUTH

      Since when ar theist rational?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  2. Sam

    1/5 American children with go hungry tonight. But the Almighty is busy watching the Broncos and Tebow win a game.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • HeIsGod


      The time you are using to search the internet is the very time you can use to feed the hungry. God has made a way for you to help out, what are you waiting for?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • TBN

      HelsGod... So your god tortures children just to find out how we react to it... Nice God you have there!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  3. Dave in NYC

    Are you kidding me? Is this a joke? How could CNN do such an idiotic story on such an stupid premise? God wants me to go eat lunch now, so I gotta go. Shame on you, CNN.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  4. Tony

    Tebow?......I think God favors Green Bay more

    December 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  5. Josh

    When it comes to Football, apparently GOD is for the Denver Broncos, and GOD is against the little boys at Penn State.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  6. Rick

    I just want to ask Tim Tebow - does praying with your lips moving put you ahead of the line, in front of the folks who just pray to themselves, without moving their lips? ... and also, do you save the praying with your lips moving for the REALLY IMPORTANT prayers, like, "Please god . make my offensive linemen knock the snot out of the defensive linemen, so my team scores a touchdown."??

    I have no issue with Tim Tebow's faith .. I do however have issue with the fact that he wants to make sure that the entire football viewing public knows it.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • nympha

      Then perhaps we should be offended that you are posting on a public forum. Hypocrite much?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Rick

      This is in reply to "nympha", who apparently doesn't want to give anyone a chance to rebut his/her ridiculous statements, due to there being no "reply" link next to his/her post.

      Posting to a public forum is hypocritical, simply because I don't want to see or hear Tim Tebow espouse his religious beliefs during a football broadcast? With that kind of convoluted logic, you should be a Televangelist.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Rick

      My apologies for the "no reply link" remark - I didn't know that a reply to a post didn't come with a reply link, by default. The rest of my comment, however, remains true.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • nympha

      Rick, I have no control over whether CNN makes a "reply" button available. As for my comment about hypocrisy, if you are posting a comment publicly, then a man can bend his knee publicly. We are all free to express our beliefs and opinions. If you can express yourself then you have no right to condemn another for their expression.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Rick

      My issue is not with Tim Tebow's "right" to espouse his faith - of course he has the right to do it - it's called the First Amendment, which we all have. That First Amendment right also includes my right to "condemn" (your word) him for doing it, so your hypocrisy argument makes little sense. I don't believe the football field on national television is the proper place to "preach". This forum however, is a place to express one's opinion - which is precisely what I'm doing.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  7. jorgath

    Of course God doesn't care about football. He might care about the football players though.

    Tim Tebow's secret is that he believes - not just in Christ, though he does believe in Christ - it's just that everything he believes in, he believes in with everything he's got. And Tim Tebow believes in himself and his team.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  8. USmellLikePee

    If Tebow was a true christian he wouldn't play football on the Lord's day, the Sabbath. He probably eats pork and shellfish too.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Josiah Rosette

      The Sabbath is on Saturday not Sunday. Church is had on Sunday, because of the first day weekm, Jesus rose from the dead..

      December 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  9. timz

    I guess God doesn't have much faith in Tim Tebow because He felt He had to injure Jake Cutler and Matt Forte to give Tebow even a shot at beating the Bears.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • t-bone

      Wow, Tebow didn't win that game are you kidding me, Barber lost it. But I knew ESPN and everyother news channel not from Chicago would be all over it, just exactly opposite of what happened because of the great Tebow, if I didn't know any better I'd think based on what I hear he is the second coming.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  10. HeIsGod

    Of course, Atheists haters are here.....why am I not surprised??

    While they refuse God's blessings, they get mad at those who do get blessed by God.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • No one knows the TRUTH

      Ok you naive little troll.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • TBN

      No,... we get mad at gods refusal to help the starving children of the world and yet he/she/it supposedly gives it to a millionaire sports figure...
      How petty and unsophisticated your god is.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  11. nooneknows

    So god does nothing to help all those being murdered in the same few minutes in this last quarter.

    Wow, what a god.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      Men through Science and technology have created the very weapons used to kill human beings and you want to blame God?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • TBN

      He's omnipotent/omniscient so yes! I blame him.

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

      No, I am not blaming an imaginary deity, no more than I would blame unicorns or leprechauns.
      However, I am also not crediting an imaginary deity for helping to win a football game.

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

      noneknows – So, why are you complaining that god does nothing to help all those being murdered? Again, MEN through SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY has CREATED the very WEAPONS that are being used to KILL human beings. Why not take your complaint to these men?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  12. Rupert

    Thanks for clarifying that the Jesus M Christ twitter account was fake.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  13. Matt

    This is what CNN puts on its website these days?

    December 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Josh

      We should all drop to our knees, and pray a "thanks" to Saint Jobs.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  14. M. Roy

    When we GIVE GOD the credit and not ourselves, great things do happen! Tebow does NOT give himself credit at all. He believes God has given him the strength to play well when it's needed and the team has responded to this also. Yes, God does care and when we glorify HIM, great things can happen. Don't hate Tebow because you don't believe in God or in what Tim's doing on the field. Get over it because nobody really cares what you think anyways! Oh, have a nice day! 🙂

    December 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • streetsmt

      What is it with these people ending their rants with "Oh, have a nice day :-). Is it like going to confession and getting absolved from your previous sentences? You feel good now?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  15. ABN

    Cher Stupid with 2 oo's

    December 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • No one knows the TRUTH

      Good point though....who wants a God who wastes time w/ Football?

      myths, just silly myths.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  16. Rob

    I just want to see if after all the sucess he gives some of the money to help others...I dont care if he talks the talk as long as he walks the walk as well

    December 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Oilfield Outlaw

      He has just built a hospital in PI. Also he funds and runs orphanages there as well.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  17. ABN

    Ol' Yeller U R STUPID!!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  18. Harry Wortz

    Does G_d give Tebow the over/under? If the opposing defensive end tears his ACL while chasing Tebow is this because Tebow prayed for him to get hurt? Seeing that Tebow is 7-1 as a starter, what did Tebow do to make G_d angry for one game?

    G_d doesn't care who wins a silly game.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • M. Roy

      Can't spell GOD huh? Well there, I spelled it for you. Remember how to spell this ok!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Harry Wortz


      Do a little studying and you will realize that leaving the "o" out of G_d is a sign of respect.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  19. Cher

    Yeah, right... Sorry, kids with cancer. You'll have to die. I'm busy helping a rich athlete.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  20. duklips

    How utterly stupid.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:25 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.