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. Tom

    Do we really think god is looking at the world's problems and saying "you know where I really need to intervene, the Denver – Bears football game". I watched the Broncos beat my team, the Vikings. This does not qualify as a miracle. What is surprising is not that the Broncos won, but that they almost lost to a team with only two wins. This week, the Broncos beat the Bears, who are playing without their starting quarterback and lost to the Chiefs last week. Tebow has a set of strengths and weakenesses which are unusual for an NFL quarterback, so the games he plays in look unusual. Let me see him beat the Packers. Then come and talk to me about miracles.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  2. MiddleWay14

    Nice religious nu+ trolling, CNN. But we all know deep down inside that there is no god (or gods). Reason even eats at the most religious (i.e., delusional) folks from time to time. So, the headline/question is moot.

    The real reason Tebow wins is because he's a monster. Look at him. He's built like a running back or maybe even a safety.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  3. RJ

    Tim Tebow is one repsectable person and athlete. If his belief in an imaginary friend called God helped him, then yes, God is on his side.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  4. Sam

    Lets be honest with each Tebow and Broncos are winning not because of divine intervention. Broncos are winning because Tebow is a decent QB, Broncos defense and special teams are solid. All of this hype is a result of football "insiders" and analysts who said that Tebow will never make it as a NFL QB because his throwing motion is to slow and odd. Now that his winning it must be an act of GOD. Come man look at Tebow's college career – National Champion and a Heisman winner. He's winner games a pro now – is it so odd?

    December 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  5. Catherine

    I don't think God really cares about football or any other sport for that matter. Having said that, if Tebow wants to give credit to God, if his religion comforts him, let him be. It's refreshing to have a athlete that doesn't act like a thug or is full of himself.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • J.S. Morales

      Amen to that.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Chuck Z

      It's EXTREMELY refreshing. Someone who isn't selfish.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Lee

      I agree. It does irk me some when these players get down on their knees and bless themselves. I hope they're praying that no one gets hurt or something and not "Help me to win". Prayer shouldn't work that way.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  6. J.S. Morales

    Of course God does not care who wins a football game. However, if winning football games can get people's attention on God, then that isn't a bad thing at all 🙂

    December 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  7. I Hate Tim Tebow

    Please join the "I Hate Tim Tebow" page. He is a farce! http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/I-Hate-Tim-Tebow/268986726473027

    December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      Someone's a little angry? Don't hate a person just because they have faith in something larger than themselves.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  8. Jeff

    One person who doesn't believe Tebow is getting divine help is Tebow himself, so that should set some minds at rest. The explanation for all of this is really simple. Tebow's 6 wins come against the Jets and 5 lesser teams. All NFL teams are good, but the Broncos have mostly played the bottom half of the league in this stretch. His defense is very good. He's OK – not great, not bad – and calm under pressure. Tebow does not give himself the ball at the end of the game – his defense and special teams do. He has done very well to deliver under pressure.

    It's a wonderful story, but that's really all there is to it.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      As a Christian, I agree with your post exactly. Cheers 🙂

      December 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  9. Ian

    He's overrated. Sorry folks, another phony messiah, he's good enough to be in the pro's but nothing great.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  10. Sarah

    As a fairly religious person I find it to be an insult to my God (and if you are Jewish, Christian or Islamic your God too) to suggest that he/she is influencing a football game. Get over yourself, God has bigger problems on their plate (ie children starving) then football.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • D-man5005

      They aren't saying that he is influencing the game itself, but the individual. If you disagree, then you're essentially saying that God only cares about the suffering, and not the others, instead of everybody.

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

      As an omnipotent being... his can fix it in an instant... except that he/she/it does not. Instead he/she/it watches the children die of disease, starvation... for no reason except for his/her/its amusement.
      Nice god!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • observer

      G-d created the whole universe for a purpose. There is nothing extra and therefore nothing is meaningless. He is involved in everything since the Big Bang to yesterday's game to how the leaves float to the ground. G-d has unlimited energy and it is therefore not a waste of His time to be totally involved in the world which He found fit to create.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  11. D-man5005

    Who are you to bash on someones belief and tell them that God isn't helping them. Maybe he is, how would you know otherwise. I'm fine with people believing what they want, but to go out and bash others as a result is something that I can't agree with, especially when you have no factual argument against it.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Joe T.

      If God is helping him win football games then yeah, I'm going to bash you and your God because if your God was loving, he wouldn't care about some stupid football game and would focus on helping people who really need it. I will bash that God and the person who believes in him because that God is a jerk.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • AndyB

      Saying that you don't believe god is helping someone win football isn't bashing anyone else's beliefs. It's stating your own.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • D-man5005

      @Andy B, I totally agree with you, but there's a ton of people here talking about how dumb it is to believe in any sort of God. I'm saying that's fine to think, but don't go out and bash people because you think it.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  12. C

    The medias coverage of Tebow is becoming by far the most annoying thing about him.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  13. Ted

    Anytime someone attributes their success on the field/court/ice/whatever to god, I think, "in the overall scheme of things, does god really give a flying fig who wins a feakin' game?" No.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  14. R. T.

    The whole thing is funny, seeing as how god(s) doesn't exist.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • sunshine2345

      How can you neglect the God who loves and created you? He is real, and you know it.

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

      How can you neglect the uncaring void in which you dwell? It's real and you know it.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  15. Rick1965

    I don't know what the fuss is all about...everyone knows God's favorite team is The Saints!

    December 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  16. Wendy

    It rains and shines on everyone. God allows everyone to experience failures and successes. He does not show partiality, but He does answer prayer, too. Maybe God wants to bless Tebow with wins to show He's active in his life, or maybe God is working on Tebow's character and will allow him to fall after going so high in order to teach him humility. God cares more about our hearts than our worldly successes. Just read Jesus's teachings in the Bible - you'll start getting the true message.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  17. Craig

    I have to say, I'm a Christian, and any talk about Jesus is good discussion. And it's fine that Denver is winning some games, which by the way I don't credit God for. What's dangerous about this is, when Denver loses a game all the attention he's gathering now is going to turn into all the atheists says, "See? Told you God sucks." I'm glad anyone is a Christian and I'm glad people are talking about it. But crediting a winning streak with God is not wise. It's dumb luck.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Dood

      Agreed! Good points!

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

      Dear Craig,

      I am a Christian myself, so I hope I can comment on your remarks... You cannot use words indicating that you believe in God and in luck in the same statement. They are kind of mutually exclusive...

      December 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Wanda

      I have to agree with this one. God is everywhere all at one time. Football is just that "football" just like God is God the highest above ALL things. Tim Tebow is a disciple of God and everyone would know that if they read his story of how the doctors advised his mother to abort him because he would never live a life of normal quality and she being a Missionary in the Philipeans refused knowing that God had a purpose for this soul. God's purpose is being fullfilled within Tim's life by having world wide attention – just like all the prayer chain emails that are sent out daily through the world wide web – God's way of letting ALL know that he is real, the only way, truth and the light. It's God's way of spreading his will throughout our Country that is filled with horrible prophecies that have already come to pass. Fires, Earthquakes, famine, decease, people killing one another, on top of having a President who is none other than a Non-Christian running our Country. Tim continues to let his light shine for God, hopefully it will catch on to what we know as "Life" today for their may not be a tomorrow. The Lord is coming again soon – he's being very patient giving everyone the same chance to decide where they want to go – eternal life in the fire pits of Hell or walk in Glory and have eternal life in Heaven.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • AndyB

      don't worry, I'm pretty sure atheists already see this whole thing as one big joke.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  18. Mitch Valdez

    God: Why is it so hard for you to believe? Is my physical existence any more improbable than your own? What about all that hoo-ha with the devil awhile ago from that movie? Nobody had any problem believing that the devil took over and existed in a little girl. All she had to do was wet the rug, throw up some pea soup and everybody believed. The devil you could believe, but not God? I work in my own way. I don't, I don't get inside little children; they got enough to do just being themselves. Also I'm not about to go around to every person in the world and say, 'Look it's me, I wanna talk to you.' So I picked one man. One very good man. I told him God lives. I live. He had trouble believing too, in the beginning. I understood. I'm not sure how this whole miracle business started, the idea that anything connected with me has to be a miracle. Personally I'm sorry that it did. Makes the distance between us even greater. But if a miracle helps you believe that I am who I say I am... I'll give you one. A good one.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Rick

      Mitch, I'm begging you ... please get some therapy ... quickly.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  19. edvhou812

    I like Tim Tebow. Seems like a great guy, and it would be great if more people were like him. However football is a team sport. It's unfair to credit these wins to only Tim Tebow when Denver's defense has forced some key turnovers in some of these close games.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  20. syrik

    dumbest thing I've read in a long, long time.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
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