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. Shoop

    Does anyone else here feel closer to god when watching him play? Because I sure do. An you people that say well other players in the NFL are just religious as Tebow why cant they have the same effect, well is any other player as outspoken about god like Tebow is? No. Maybe God is using him to get a message across? Theres more to this then what people think....Think about it.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Christophorm

      The thing about Tebow and this Bronco Team is they are haveing fun now...and as for Tebow ...he could walk away from football and be happy with that.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • streetsmt

      That's why Charlitans exist. They know that all they need to do is be loud, and the sheep (I mean shoop) will follow... And maybe give them money.
      Be a student of human nature. Open your eyes.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      Is that what god is doing now? Using Tim Tebow as his mouth piece? I can see it now...First Moses, then Jesus and now Tebow.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  2. DK in VA

    Yeah, some supernatural being (if one existed) is going to influence football games because some guy preaches about him at times. The scary thing is there are likely a lot of people who believe in that before they believe in evolution, science, etc. The dumbing down of America by religion.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  3. James

    Lets not forget that Mr. Tebow is not saying that God fixed the game for him. He is praising God for giving him the ability to help him win the game. There is a big difference between the two. Tebow has never come out and said God made the safety fall down so my guy would be wide open. God does not care about the game. It is the media and the people that add comments that God is only helping Tebow. That is not that case and we should stop labeling Tebow as anything other that what he is, a strong Christian that plays football. Whats great about this is when he loses he will still not lose his faith in Christ but his fans will lose there faith in him.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  4. Dan

    This is one of the dumbest articles that I have read in a long time. Go Patriots this weekend!

    December 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Christophorm

      Patriots will probably win but we thought the Jets would crush them.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Rob

      agreed, dumbest article ever! The question on CNN "Is the success of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow attributable to God?" would be better asked as "Is the failure of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow's opponents attributable to God? Why in the hell doesn't anyone look at it that way? Oh, wait, that is because it would portray god in a bad way.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  5. mightyfudge

    No one knows what happens when we die, and anyone who claims such knowledge is a liar who probably wants your money. In this case, the price of a football ticket or jersey...

    December 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  6. Christophorm

    WEll let's let God speak Fot Himself..He says He lifts one up and brings another down..makes one rich and another poor..He uses everybody ,some as vessels of Honer and other dishonor.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Christophorm

      *Honor nor Honer

      December 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I've fixed a few other errors:


      Well let's let god speak for himself. He says he lifts one up and brings another down. Makes one rich and another poor. He uses everybody, some as vessels of honor and other dishonor.

      You are welcome!

      December 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  7. Rich

    I didn't go through all 33 pages of comments to see if this was already said, so forgive me if this is a repeat.

    Just for the record, Tebow himself has stated that he thinks God has better things to do than worrying about a football game. If you want to fault Mr. Merica for postulating (and including similar theories from others) in his article that God may be helping Tim Tebow win football games, have at it. I agree that it's a ridiculous notion. But, there's no basis for attacking Tebow on this. His only active role in it is that he wears his faith on his sleeve, and that's his business. He's not asking anyone else to join him, and he's not claiming God somehow caused Marion Barber to run out of bounds.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  8. Avser Bastian





    December 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  9. Jason

    This is a little bit of a stupid discussion. Tebow believes in God (as I do as well). However it is unlikely that God is taking the time or cares what the outcome of a football game is. Maybe I am wrong. My opinion is the Tebow believes in God. The Broncos are winning. Those two facts are probably not connected.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  10. Haree

    Whether Tim Tebow is having a great year or the worst year of his life in football, God is in his heart and in his life. Tim may thank God for his success, but he is also a mature Christian who undertands that God works in the darkest of times as well. Tim knows that though he is a gifted athlete, this ability comes from God and can be taken away at any moment. That is why Tim Tebow worships God, not football. Readers just need to study his life's journey and faith commitment to understand Tim Tebow and the relationship he has with his Lord.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  11. Zues

    God loves Tebow, hates everyone else.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • *

      * (sp) Zeus

      December 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  12. monkey_to_man

    God's away on business

    December 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  13. Steve

    Yeah God is a Bronco's fan....they pray harder and better.....get real CNN!

    December 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  14. stu

    yes, God's on Tebow's side, and against the Christians on the other teams. What a guy!

    December 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  15. City On a Shining Hill

    To all the skeptics commenting here-

    A wonderful movie that came out several years ago was the Disney film "Angels in the Backfield", where two orphaned boys see angels helping the Anaheim Angels play better, as they were losing very badly. Angels (means God's messengers) would come out of nowhere and help the back fielder catch a fly ball he would normally drop, or the pitcher at the end of the film, when the Angels were in the World Series and the final game hinged on his pitch while the bases were loaded, striking out the player while the game is tied. Well, the angels had left, and it was up to the pitcher to deliver the winning ball.

    He did, and the Angels won the series. Sometimes God works in the back ground, and let's us just believe in Him as He works mysteriously in our lives. We see God at work all around us. Just look at the stars at night. (Psalm 19:1), or the birth of a human baby.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Snc735

      hate to break it to you bub, but that movie was fiction.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • ProperVillain

      A) That movie was a total work of fiction (I hope you realize this) and B) I'm not a skeptic, I'm a realist. In the final analysis of things the results of a game (game...you know, something that is done to kill time) means nothing. These athletes are not curing cancer, they are not bettering society. They are playing a game for the amusement of the masses. I'm positive God has a lot more to do than influence the outcome of a game that really doesn't matter. The fact that anyone is even bringing this up or debating it shows how out of touch Americans are with reality and how petty, trivial, sports obsessed, and arrogant we have become to even think for a second that God feels a GAME is important enough to require his influence. Seriously, it's just beyond ridiculous...

      December 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • HellBent

      Did Tebow's angels have the day off in that game against Detroit?

      December 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  16. ProperVillain

    I thing G*d has other things to worry about other than the outcome of a game that, in the end, means nothing...

    December 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  17. Jonathan

    It's not God, it's the Brocos defense. Without a great defense Tebow couldn't win a game.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  18. AcertnChristian

    "I believe everything comes from nothing." say it and you will be allowed to exersize your freedom of relgion in America.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  19. mountaindawg

    God doesn't care about football. Come on people. Is he the only Christian in football? No. Let's see Denver play someone worth a crap, who can score more than 10 points, before we christen Tebow "god's qb". AFC West is horrible. Chicago had their two best offensive players out. Jets had to fly to Denver for a Thursday game, short week, and they're overrated. I can't wait to see them play New England, Pittsburgh, or Baltimore. They are going to get lit up. How about Green Bay? GB would destroy them.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  20. cmc

    Even if there was a God, I doubt the outcome of football games is anything she/he'd be concerned with. If this guy attributes his wins to his God, does he also attribute the losses? I can just hear it now, "we got our butts kicked thanks to God".

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


      December 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • fortunecookie

      Tebow (as with all of God's true faithful) does not expect or ask for anything so unimportant as to win a football game. He simply asks God for strength and guidance, and gives thanks for the ability to play. And if someday he is not able to play, he will thank God he can breathe. And when the time comes he no longer breathes, he will thank God for Heaven. I have no legs, but I thank God I have friends.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:41 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.