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. Jimbo Billy Bob



    December 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Joe T.

      Let me help you with the good Lord's work and I can help you beat your wife!

      December 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  2. Mary

    God does not forsake those who first give honor to him. Thats why Tebow is blessed whith success.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Whaaaat?

      you are crazy ma'am. Then all poor starving kids around the world deserves such a bad life? The God you worship don't like poor people and is not fair. Get your things straight please

      December 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  3. Sam

    Miami, Oakland, KC, NY, SD, Minn, and Chicago. With the exception of NY Jets and Oak Raiders the all of the other teams are below .500. Tebow is a decent QB but I want see how he stacks against Brady and NE Pats next week, I'm pretty there will be no divine intervene against the Pats.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  4. Not Now John

    Football is all about handling pigskin. Pigs are unclean to millions of religious people and filthy animals to everyone else. Do you honestly imagine that God is involved in such things? Football might even be a sin.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  5. James

    It's like God made every team suck or inconsistent this year and got Peyton Manning hurt just for tebow could win!

    December 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • James


      December 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  6. M. Roy

    Dear athiest,
    One day you will die, like all of us will. When you do, and you haven't accepted Jesus as your Savior, you will find out that being an athiest wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Christians are not perfect, but we are forgiven. Everyone has sinned and comes short of God. Jesus said,"The only way to the Father is through me", therefore give yourselves to Christ today and you will see Paradise. It is a FACT that Jesus died on the Cross for all of us!

    December 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Harry Wortz

      What if an atheist was once a believer who back slid? Once saved always saved.

      The "Rule of Thumb" comes from the Bible and tells us that it's ok to beat our wives just so long as the rod is no bigger around than our thumb.

      Leviticus tells us that it is ok to own slaves.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Say that again, this time with a classic southern evangelical drawl. Oh, come on, humor us.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Kevin

      Sorry, M. Roy. its not a fact at all, infact he didnt even die. its not a sacrifice if you get to live forever as a god.

      whats really messed up is tha tyou beleive a god had to sacrifice himself to himself for a rule he made. why not just forgive? why require an immoral blood sacrifice to forgive people for being how he created them?

      or perhaps its all BS (which all evidence points to).

      also if there is no adam and eve (which is a proven fact) then there is no original sin and therefore the entire story is bogus.

      congrats on being tricked your whole life and not taking 10 minutes to consider if it was true or not.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Rhett

      Faith without works is dead. How can the whole once saved always saved hold true. What if Hitler was a believer and then did what he did?

      December 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • AndyB

      Dear christian,
      One day you will die, like all of us will. When you do you won't exist anymore and you won't be concerned about your afterlife anymore.

      December 12, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  7. Tim

    Tebow says: “We’re a team that keeps the faith,”

    Faith is the license believers give themselves when reasons fail.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  8. SeanNJ

    A recreation of my post-game watching experience yesterday:

    Tony Siragusa: "Remarkable turn of events today, and another astounding fourth quarter comeback. How do you explain it?"
    Tim Tebow: "First, I have to give thanks to..."

    December 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      I changed the channel, but I'd be willing to bet I can finish his sentence anyway.

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

    There's a lot of laughing and choking up in heaven... I wouldn't stop giggling while thinking: Bunch of idiots thinking that I'm concerned about an useless game where guys making millions keep touching their butts and using drugs.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  10. Ken

    Yahweh is the reason for everything!

    December 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • really?

      he is not the reason for all the trouble we have here.......man has created his own HUGE problems.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  11. JBHedgehog

    Famine, drought, pain, disease, depravity and politicians. Gawd doesn't take care of these things first and the it's suggested that Gawd is a football fan instead?

    Wow...this is an incredibly slow news day indeed.

    Hey CNN, please concentrate on real news. That, or it's time to head over to NPR.org.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • J.W

      Football is way more fun than any of those things.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  12. PraiseTheLard

    Yet another idi0t savant who believes in fairy tales...

    December 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  13. Common

    The defense held the Bears to 10. The kicker knocked in 2 FG from OVER 50 yards. The Quarterback or his praysers had ALMOST NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WIN.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  14. Harry Wortz

    Just as many don't want to see public displays of affection there are many who don't want to see public displays of religious rituals.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  15. Tom from Atlanta

    This is an idiotic head line

    December 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  16. Whaaaat?

    Christians talks a lot about Jesus but... they know nothing about him nor use him as a spiritual role model that's why we are seeing all the mishaps from protestant leaders. Jesus focused in a spiritual message not in wordly things. He never sided with the politicians, religious leaders and sports of his times. He only came to do two things... and I encourage Christians to find out what was that?

    December 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Devin

      I believe that was to love God, and love your fellow man as you would yourself.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Patrick

      I’m pretty sure that loving other men the way I love myself at night is a sin.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  17. M. Roy

    Dear Sarah,
    God loves you even though you don't acknowledge HIM. If you look into this like you do your chemistry tests you'll find that He does exist. As a scientist, you have to have an open mind. Try opening your mind to Jesus, you'll see it's better then any experiment you ever conducted.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • TBN

      An open mind is different then an empty mind.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Ron G.

      @M.Roy, I agree with you. The study of science is just trying to figure out God's work, period!

      December 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  18. Luis f.

    So if he doesn't win the Superbowl does that mean that God has something to do with it, because I bet you all religious people will claim that God had something to do with it if he does. It only seems fair to use the same rational for both options.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • TBN

      God is responsible for all the good in the world and man is responsible for all the evil... Didn't you know?

      December 12, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  19. Faithful

    Tebow is on God's side...

    December 12, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  20. Arbour

    Many people posted here do not believe God prefers one football team over another. I agree with that. But that does not mean God would not do it for a higher purpose – namely honoring one faithful servant of His, and draw people to Himself.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Lowe

      Drawing people to himself? God is that insecure? So this is nothing more than self-publicity, a little omnipotent ego massage?

      December 12, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Guest

      If god relies on parlor tricks to win converts (which is what rigging a game ultimately is), he/she/it isn't much of a god. What's next, helping the faithful win in Vegas?

      December 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • nympha

      Lowe, so when you need a hug, you are displaying your ego?

      December 12, 2011 at 2:11 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.