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. myklds

    God starting to manifest his power to his faithfuls.

    Unbelievers should be careful they asked for.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • myklds

      Am I (for) real?

      December 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • TR6

      It is very difficult to not laugh at your drivel when televangelists and mega church pastors are never incinerated by bolts of lightening

      December 13, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • myklds

      It reminds me of some people who call me names while accusing me of hi-jacking names here.

      Some people just can't help themselves to throw sh!ts when they're full of it.

      December 13, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  2. O.S. Bird

    Like I said. Insanity.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  3. Raj Alexander

    I am just having a field day laughing at all the secular media trying to make sense of this.Look if God can use a stable surrounded by a few sheperds as a platform to bring forth his son he can still use an insignificant game of football and a deficient quarterback to serve as a platform for people to hear his Gospel.My fellow christians, rejoice, we serve a mighty God and may Tebow always succeed in his Kingdom work! Blessings.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • O.S. Bird

      By the way, would Jesus approve of your laughing at your brothers? You should be ashamed and repentant and ask forgiveness.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Barb Brennan

      Thank you Raj, I am with you...

      December 13, 2011 at 1:03 am |
  4. O.S. Bird

    God favors one football team over others... Insanity. Complete and total insanity.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • myklds

      God hears humble prayer.

      December 13, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  5. George

    Studies have shown that the religious, as a group, are happier than atheists.

    December 12, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      and language has shown happiness means contentment, when your happy chances are you have delusions they’re not going to trade the rationality for delusions. Once you obtain knowledge it is very hard to lose it. God did nothing but bring them pain so of course there unhappy have you read some of those things in the bible?

      December 12, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're the exception, Porky.

      December 12, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • Recovering Christian

      Where ignorance is bliss, 'Tis folly to be wise. –Thomas Gray

      December 12, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
  6. Tebowite

    Your FAITH in the Almighty rocks!!!
    Love ya!

    December 12, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  7. i am second

    2000 comments and counting. It amazing how many people feel the need to state there is no god. I have never seen a comment disbelieving the talking duck from Aflec or geico. The fool has said in his heart there is no God.

    December 12, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Agree belief in something makes it real. if its real to you then it is real. if you want to believe there is no god cool that’s what you believe, but if you want to say that you believe is some 8 year old spoiled brat who wants everything to go ous way or the world will be undone, a giant spaghetti monster, or Tebow. That’s cool two. Just because someone made Miku Hatsune doesn’t mean she’s not real or toping the charts

      December 12, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • The Catholic Church holy Rome Vatican

      Of course the Afleck duck isn't real. that's dumb! no wonder you think god kills people and let's people win football games at the same time.

      December 12, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • TR6

      the fool in his heart has said there are not UFOs

      December 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  8. lowhitak

    Having a belief in God and Jesus means that you as an individual person will strive to be a better person. You will take responsibility for your actions. You will try to be a better person inside and out. So yes, if someone is truly committed to any religion that emphasizes doing the right thing by yourself and other people, then your success will be due to your faith. God's personal involvement has nothing to do with it.

    December 12, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Jake

      Your point is basically that religious people tend to strive to be better people and take responsibility for their actions, more so than non-religious people, right? If so, I strongly disagree. In my experience (and this is a generalization, but true), atheists tend to be smarter, more independent and generally "better" people who take personal responsibility for trying to make the world a better place. I haven't seen ANY religious people take responsibility for the atrocities religion has caused our world (9/11, holocaust, etc).

      December 12, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      not true I’m the slightest, your religion is pure evil. No offence

      December 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      typo i'm=in

      December 12, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  9. Tr1Xen

    Well I guess all the teams I root for are screwed then.

    December 12, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Jake

      Mine as well. We've never won a superbowl despite the fact that we're in a pretty heavily religious area...further proof there is no god.

      December 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Go Pats!

      December 12, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Yeah!

      "Go Pats!"

      Yeah – RIGHT ON!

      Go Pats!

      December 12, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  10. Recovering Christian

    Of course, God had everything to do with it, and the thousands of hours of practice that Tebow put in had nothing to do with it.

    December 12, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  11. mikeb

    Tim Tebow is using Christianity as a cover. In reality, he is the Anti-Christ. My proof; he's left-handed.

    December 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Jake


      December 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  12. Reality

    Will someone please end this significant stupidity!!!!


    December 12, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • .........

      Do reality a favor and hit report abuse on all his bull sh it

      December 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  13. ernieb28

    According to your CNN Poll on if Tebow's success is related to his belief in God. As a way of saying it...if you don't believe that he is operating under God's favor you are a spiritually blind fool! It's not luck...it's not to say that Denver is going to the Super Bowl and he will be named the MVP. It will be as God will it to be. How far have we sunk as a nation that we have forgotten God Almighty and the victories in our nation's past! The Bible says for the nation that forgets God will be turned into hell....look around folks are nation is not as it was a decade ago let alone a generation ago. It's time the blinders came off that God has left up to us, our own freedom of choice!!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Jake

      God has nothing to do with our nation. Our founders were predominantly atheists.

      December 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Jake

      (And in case it's not as obvious to you as it is to me, most of the terrible things that have happened in the last 100 years have been caused by religion, or religion-based thinking.)

      December 12, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Par for the course

      So is the less than awful odor of my dog's feces this morning attributable to God, or is it maybe attributable to his diet?

      Is my success in business attributable to God, or to the fact that I am a good worker?

      If you think Tebow's success has anything to do with anything beyonf the fact that he is a good athlete you are the fool.

      December 12, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • TR6

      "The Bible says for the nation that forgets God will be turned into hell...."

      Please explain Swedan

      December 13, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  14. Gary

    God must have a hand in female beach vollyball... I know that watching it causes me to use prayerful phrases like "sweet Jesus... Oh My God, Good Lord," and the like. Not being very religious myself I can only ascribe the hand of God in my perception of the devine in womens' beach volleball.... of course the SI swimsuit edition is a religious experience as well.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Jake

      Holy Jesus, look at that ass...

      December 12, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Par for the course

      Indeed. It's sad how gullible people can be. Do those people who believe God's hand is at work with Tim Tebow think there are no other professional athletes that pray or praise God?

      I think Bible School needs to include a class on logic and common sense for their attendees.

      December 12, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Jake

      You can't have logic in bible school. Religion and logic are mutually exclusive. That is why I think it's incredibly wrong to force religion on children and wrong for Tebow to be pushing religion on his fans (many of whom are impressionable children).

      December 12, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  15. Turp Griswald

    Depends on your definition of 'God'. Is some human-like super-sentient being giving Tebow special powers or luck? Not likely. Is Tebow the result of 'everything' (which is a loose definition of God)? Yes. Before you (or he) credits some diety for winning some games, be sure to credit the Broncos defense. A good defense can make a mediocre QB look pretty good.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Jake

      lol...so if god gets credit for "everything", then I guess everything that happens is to his credit (or fault)? Sorry, there's no god making me type this right now and no god has ever had anything to do with anything I've ever done, so I know for a fact that there is at least one person on the planet that god has not influenced. Therefore, I know he doesn't control everything (or realistically, anything since he doesn't exist).

      December 12, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  16. Juan

    If you were to study how the NT Canon came into being you would see that the fathers of the Christian faith did not pick the books rather they created an offical canon based on the 27 books that were universally accepted by the Christian Church. They weren't stupid and they knew the heretical gnostic forgeries that were popping up. There was never any true doubt. It would be like. The councils didn't choose anything rather they publically recognized what the believers of christ had already accepted.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Jake

      Is the NT Canon a new camera? Have not heard of it but will check it out.

      December 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Troy

      Try checking your facts. Over 500 books were considered for the canon, though most were quickly rejected for reasons of continuity (which apparently was one of the main criteria for inclusion). They were picking the story they wanted, and the majority of the rejected books were NOT gnostic – some were VERY popular at the time, but they just didn't fit the image dictated by church leaders.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • TR6

      “The councils didn't choose anything rather they publically recognized what the believers of christ had already accepted.”

      Lovely fantasy. Care to give some references to published research? Typical Christian blow hard

      December 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  17. Lucas

    Any suggestion that a god plays any kind of active role in football is downright insulting. Do a Google image search for "starving children" and let those images sear themselves into your mind. God won't take an active role in alleviating that suffering, but football? Yeah, he's all over that.

    Every time I read nonsense like this my faith in humanity is further chipped away. It only takes a few seconds to think about the implications of what you're saying.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Jim

      Thank you Lucas, for hitting the nail on the head. I, and I am sure many others, have been offended many times by those who want to give all the credit to God for their win. And I am a believer, too, so it's not about religion with me. It is, like you stated so well, all about the fact that these men are playing a "game"

      December 12, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Jake

      Giving credit to "god" for a football game is no different than giving him credit for healing someone who has a terrible disease or giving him credit for all the atrocities that happen in the world. It's all equally idiotic.

      December 12, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • sam

      Can't wait until someone runs in here yelling "well those children are starving because they haven't accepted Jesus! Until they do, God must watch football."

      December 12, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • TR6

      Have you read the Old Testament? God helped and encouraged the Moses and Israelites to slaughter tens of thousands of people and steel their land and belongings. Of course he would fix football games

      December 13, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  18. Juan


    Who is "they"? The apostles who were murdered for their beliefs? The early Christians who were thrown to the lions and burned at the stake? Are "they" the ones who made it up to control men? That doesn't even make any sense. Imagine me making up a religion and then being tortured and dying for it.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • TR6

      “Imagine me making up a religion and then being tortured and dying for it.”

      David Koresh and the branch dividians come to mind. Besides the bible wasn’t assembled until after Christianity became the official religion of Rome. Typical Christian historically illiterate

      December 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  19. Juan

    Now we're just arguing in circles. I already said that if he's all powerful he could choose to allow you free-will. You saying he already knows what you're going to do is just arguing in circles.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  20. Corvus1

    I think "God" has better things to do than make sure some dumba ss knows how to kick a football.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • TR6

      “I think "God" has better things to do than make sure some dumba ss knows how to kick a football.”

      Don’t bet on it. One of the 10 commandments is “don’t cook baby goats in their mother’s milk”
      Exodus 23:19, 34:26; Deuteronomy 14:21

      December 13, 2011 at 5:11 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.