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. Atheist 1#


    December 12, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  2. Downafewpegs

    This article is intentionally asking the wrong questions in order to create an issue where one doesn't exist. The Broncos believe that they are going to win. They get that belief from Tebow being on the field, personally confident that he is going to win. It's transitive. If Tebow's confidence comes from his faith, then so be it. That in no way translates to "God being on Tebow's side." That's pretty ridiculous.

    In sports, the more confident team frequently wins – provided they can back up their confidence with execution. Tebow presumably gets his confidence from his faith in God. So what? Are we really pretending that Tebow has inserted religion into a game that isn't already saturated with it? NFL football exists to make money from fans, and football fandom IS religion, minus a few theological trappings. It's probably the closest thing America has to religion – closer, arguably, in its fervence than religion itself is in this country.

    Some people have such hatred for religion that they hate people who have religion purely for the fact of having it. I get that. I don't agree with it, but I get it. But I can't honestly say I care one way or the other whether Tim Tebow is religious – or whether he talks about that.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Jake

      Well said and I agree with you for the most part. I disagree with Tebow speaking about his religion during post-game interviews about football though. It is not an appropriate venue for pushing your personal views. I suspect the NFL has a policy against promoting political candidates during such interviews, and I don't see why promoting your personal religious views is any different. In my opinion, they should tell him to stop and fine him if he doesn't (just like they'd do if he said "vote for Perry" or something like that during each post-game interview).

      December 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  3. James

    Are you kidding me CNN? This is one of the top stories today and you put this question onto your little vote section? I don't know what's scarier, CNN actually writing about this or that 27% of people actually believe god actually cares about NFL football. God can't even get you a job to pay for heat and food for your children but he sure is a donkeys fan, what a bunch of f*'n idiots.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • George

      God cares about a lot of things. Why can't he care also about the NFL?

      December 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Jake

      Hey, I agree 27% is scary, but it's a lot better than 90%, which is the number I hear all the time about percentage of people who are religious. The world is clearly moving in the right direction and I bet in the next 50 years, people claiming to believe in god will be less than 10%.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Ellen

      Why then, won't god show any care for all those starving innocent kids around the world, and all the victims of disasters? Seems your god is pretty lazy and/or just doesn't care.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Ellen

      Jake, I hope you are right. People need to get past the old religious stories and work to fix things for themselves. Sure looks like there's no god to do that for them.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Jake

      The world is definitely moving in the right direction. Ten years ago, it wasn't even socially acceptable to be an atheist. Thanks to the anonymity of the internet, people are finally realizing that they're not alone in believing that religion is BS.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  4. Anne S

    And the comments on this site is why I don't read/watch CNN frequently. I have nothing in common with the people that are on here – in belief system,- nothing. The fact is – everything – his success, Brady's failure, they all exist because of God – is He out there handicapping Football – no- but the fact our breath is a direct result of His presence and the fact that there are so many of you who hate Christians and Christianity on CNN makes me certain I don't want to be around you. Thank God the numbers for this network are dwindling....

    December 12, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • James

      We don't like you because you insist on using words like "FACT" when you try to talk to us....it makes you look incredibly ignorant and unwilling to learn.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Jake

      Anne, you're wrong. God doesn't exist. Have you ever even honestly allowed yourself to CONSIDER that possibility? Everything would make a lot more sense for you if you did.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Jake

      And btw, I say that not to be mean, but because I'm confident you'd be better off if you could break free of religion (and I know without a doubt the rest of the world would be better off without religion).

      December 12, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • George

      There is a lot of hate against religion in general and Christianity in particular on these boards. But we need more Christians to come here to stand up for Christ or else their little hate fest goes on unchecked. We need you here. These are more than atheists. These are people with an axe to grind against Christianity, and they attack all Christians who come on here. I'll bet they are quite as scared mice in real life.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Jake

      George, this has nothing to do with "Christianity" per say. This is about all religions and / or beliefs that give you permission to suspend thought and reason. That construct is bad for the world (see 9/11, the holocaust, etc etc etc) and you should be helping us to improve the world.

      December 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Jake

      (Oops, per se)

      December 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • ......

      "There is a lot of hate against religion in general and Christianity in particular on these boards. But we need more Christians to come here to stand up for Christ or else their little hate fest goes on unchecked. We need you here. These are more than atheists. These are people with an axe to grind against Christianity, and they attack all Christians who come on here. I'll bet they are quite as scared mice in real life."

      Pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot

      The log in your eye is making you blind.

      December 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Patrick

      @ George
      George, with a comment like that you only prove the Atheist right. Thumpers insist on pushing their beliefs on others. The desire to flood the boards with Christian dogma is just that.

      December 12, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  5. Atheist 1#

    If Tim Tebow beats the Green Bay Packers or wins the Super bowl I'M GONNA FALLOUT AND START SPEAKING IN TONGUES!

    December 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      I'll arrange for you to give a lecture in Nukuʻalofa... Then you'll be speaking in Tonga...

      December 12, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  6. Joe T.

    I think the result of the game is evidence that the good Lord hates the Chicago Bears more than he loves Tim Tebow.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  7. Atheist 1#

    Yeah, Tom Brady's defense has been horrible,and he hasn't done great on with his offensive this season. If Tebow beats the Green Bay Packers I will become Agnostic OR MORE LIKE PARANOID.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Jake

      The chances of the Broncos beating the Packers is even less than the chances of a god existing.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  8. marty

    the article should read "Why Satan exacted his revenge on the Chicago Bears"

    December 12, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Jake

      🙂 Yeah, I had the same thought...the chance that Satan is helping Tebow is exactly equal to the chance that God is helping him...(of course, zero in both cases)

      December 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  9. Nacho1

    I really don't know but I think the Patriots are in trouble next week!

    December 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Nope. The patriots are going to kill god. I feel sorry for the broncos no prayer is going to help them.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • ………

      Patriots will win.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • ………

      Tom Brady has God on his side plus talent!

      December 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  10. joeblow

    You can't SEE them can you?? Prove that you can see them.....

    December 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • HellBent

      Again, turn on your radio.

      You can't see gravity. I guess gravity must not exist. Only in 'theory'


      December 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Nacho1

      Joe..........I see them and I talk to them and they say you are a blind!

      December 12, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Jake

      Hellbent, seriously...I shouldn't waste time explaining something so obvious, but your point is ridiculous. We can prove the existence of all kinds of things that we can't see (gravity, air, evolution, etc). We CAN NOT, however, prove the existence of things that don't exist. That's the key difference.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • HellBent

      Jake – the only point I've made here is that radio waves exist. We have evidence for it and can prove it. What point do you think I'm trying to make?

      December 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Jake

      Oh, sorry, misunderstood (couldn't find the original post referred to). Thought you were trying to make one of the many standard ridiculous arguments religious people make: You can't see gravity and it exists. Therefore, god exists even though we can't see him.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • HellBent

      @Jake – no worries. joeblow's ability to use the reply button mirrors his ability to grasp basic scientific principles, and the disjointed thread isn't all that clear.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  11. nooneknows

    In the few minutes at the end of the game, god decided to let the Broncos win because Tebow is so devout, yet during that exact same time there were thousands of people around the world suffering horrible and brutal deaths.

    Wow, such a god. If you dumb believers would just "think" for a minute, jeez...

    December 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Jake

      You can not ask a believer to think, that is the entire problem. Believers have been taught that it's ok to believe things WITHOUT thinking. That is how they've gotten themselves where they are, and also, why it's so hard to reason with them to help them get out.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Lee

      Believing without seeing is called faith. There is nothing wrong with that. BTW, I don't believe God has given much thought to glorifying this guy via football.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Jake

      Yes Lee, there is ABSOLUTELY something wrong with believing something when all evidence suggests it is untrue. Faith that hard work will pay off is fine – there's reason to believe that is true. Faith in god is not fine – there is no evidence to believe that is true. Faith that flying planes into buildings will send you to heaven is not fine – there is no reason to believe that is true. Faith that by killing millions of Jews, your country will return to prosperity is not fine – there is no reason to believe that is true. Faith is a very dangerous thing the way you define it.

      December 12, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Lee

      Jake – Sorry you're so angry about my belief in God. I can't really explain it, but I do truly believe in God. I know that when I've gone through some very very hard times, my faith has made me able to push forward. I don't understand why that is so wrong.

      December 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Lee

      and Jake – there's a difference between faith in God and insanity. Please don't equate my faith with Adolf Hitler or Osama bin Laden.

      December 12, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Jake

      Lee, I'm not angry. It is dangerous to believe things just because someone told you it was true. A lot of terrible things have happened and continue to happen in our world because of people who don't think. Religion by itself is not necessarily harmful, but the mindset required to suspend logical thought and believe in religion is the same type of mindset required to do unthinkable things like fly planes into buildings.

      December 12, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Jake

      I'm not trying to be mean Lee, but the thought process required to believe in god is the same as that required to allow Adolph Hitler to do what he did. You choose to believe something that doesn't make any sense simply because it makes you feel better. I'm not suggesting that you intentionally would do something as horrible as the holocaust, I'm just saying that people who believe in religion are susceptible to doing things blindly that may be terrible.

      December 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Jake

      Osama bin Laden did what he did because he believed it was good according to god. I'm not saying you have or will do something so terrible, but I am saying that you are using the same thought-process that he used.

      December 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  12. ROSE4U

    I know Tim shies away from from it, but I want to thank him 4 being a such a positive role model for kids. In these times when it seems every young man is doing bad stuff with their pants hanging low, Tim is not afraid to be himself, speak openly about what gives him strenght and help his teammates. We need more Teabows in our country, God bless him.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • James

      Does Tim Tebow wear a purity ring?

      December 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • nooneknows

      I know rose4u shies away from it, but I want thank her for being yet another brainless lemming.
      May you get a clue someday.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  13. Orchid333

    I'm sorry, but this is just dumb. Oh, wow, he's won some games and it's great that he has more faith in a "god" who he thinks controls his ability to win instead of having faith in himself or his hard work and ability that's simply paying off. If it were "god" making him win, wouldn't he win EVERY game, EVERY time? Wouldn't "god" make those less-faithful lose all the time? No. The Denver Broncos are my favorite team, but I just want to puke every time I hear about Tebow's preachings. I appreciate people who work hard to earn what they have, not people who say some ghost in the sky is controlling it. You watch, as soon as he loses he'll fall to his knees and wonder what sin he committed that made "god" hate him. Pathetic.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  14. James

    Why does God Hate my Jaguar's so much?

    December 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Joe T.

      It's because Jack Del Rio touches himself at night.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  15. Nick-o

    Just wait until they play against some actual talent before rushing onto the bandwagon. Bears no cutler, no forte...dolphins. C'mon man, really!?

    December 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • James

      Was cutler playing? I thought he was injured.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  16. David


    December 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  17. Vandalay Industries

    Why does God hate the Dallas Cowboys so much?

    December 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Because of George W Bush... either that or because of Rick Perry...

      December 12, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • derp

      Because Jerry Jones is one of Satan's minions. Look at his face, it looks like my skrotum, only a demon has a face like that.

      December 12, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  18. erny

    Many youngsters have come to know Jesus Christ because of Teabow, I wholeheartedly believe this. Just like with king David, God takes those that are overlooked or not the first choice of man, and turns them into greatness for His glory.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Exactly! They are faking miracles to get more followers, so they can inst_tute a theocracy in America

      December 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Nick-o

      It's Tebow, teabag!

      December 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  19. Sam Yaza

    This is all psychology nothing more, it is a swindle. You pray like sh_t for the first half then Tebow falls to his knees then, you start to play good people freak out lose confidence because “there is No way you can fight god” all this is, is the effect of moral on a group of people. It is faith. But if Tebow does lead his team to the superbowl then two things would be wrong: one he does work miracles and he is evil for using it one a football came win there are suffering people in the world. Two the evangelicals are just trying to take over Americas real pass time for more convert it’s just another step toward making America a Christian nation, this is exactly what those terrorist do. They put people in in power and the spot light then fake miracles and change definitions to god, we seen this in the boy scouts, alcoholics anonymous, Congress and even the white house, “look daddy faith in God can even tear down the berlin wall” never mind it was already one it’s way down the evangelicals and Reagan just stepped in to take the blame. Kind of like how Israel said god was responsible for the fall of Babylon.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      your taught these methods in Jesus boot camp, ass well as how to fight a war with believers of other faiths.
      They are Terrorist

      December 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  20. me

    yes. god cares about football.. more so, god cares about the denver broncos. *facepalm*

    December 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47
About this blog

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.