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. Packer fan

    "Tim's my favorite, I think he's swell ... the rest of you can go to hell." -GOD

    December 12, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  2. m

    Since there is no "gawd" that is not the reason for Denver winning. It comes down to simple tactics and and offense that goes back 50 years in time that teams defenses aren't designed to handle. Additionally the Denver defense is solid and able to keep games close. It all comes down to making football plays on the field, nothing more.

    What is even worse about this situation is how we constantly have religion tossed in our faces. The right wing complains about "agendas" of other groups on abortion, gay rights, welfare, etc yet the infrastructure exists Tax Free and with no controls on how they interfere in peoples lives. When religion has to play by the same rules as the rest of society and pay it's way then maybe I will be "less loud" on my objections of them throwing it in everyone's face. The whole Tebow Religion escapade is just another example of people trying to force a fantasy down our throats.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Pastafarian


      December 12, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • RFBJR


      Ya, I noticed that someone has a gun to your head while you are reading this article.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  3. cuso

    Did anyone commenting on this actually see the game yesterday cause I did. The last two minutes the bears laid down for the broncos. They just let them walk down the field and score. Then just to make sure the broncos could tie it Marion Barber runs out of bonds to stop the clock. Sorry the NFL is fixed just like the NBA.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • ????

      Really? It is easier to believe that God created the universe than to believe that the NFL or NBA is fixed. Yet, you don't believe in God, but you believe pro football is fixed? Of course, you can back up that statement with "evidence". C'mon man!

      December 12, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  4. TheTruth

    Right, with all thats going on in the world...middle east, climate change, people who are sick, dying and more...I'm sure God gives a fly F*#k about Tim Tebow! Look at all the misery out there....come on people get with it...think before you speak!
    Now the only thing T-T has going for him is his faith in working hard. He believes that by working had he will 'grab' God's eye and have him help...but come on...if there really IS a God, who is supposed to be love...maybe he's missing alot or just looking the wrong way!

    December 12, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • For “God’s Quarterback”

      TheTruth, You are an a$$.. No more need to be said..

      December 12, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • if horses had Gods ...

      Seriously .. For “God’s Quarterback” ?! Who's the a$$ here? What "the truth" said is completey reasonable.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  5. Mark

    LOL funny how people who have never played at a professional level don't understand the psychology of sports which can be used in everyday life. I am a christian but I was also a professional athlete, the confidence needed to compete at a professional level be it in sports or work comes from whatever works for the individual. Basic psych classes teach you that if you mope around whining and not doing anything to fix the problem, you wont fix the problem. Think about it, how is your day if you are around a bunch of grouchy people versus how is your day if you are around happy people? I know that was a simplifyed version but time and space don't allow for a complex version.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Winning is a Mentality

      Do you think it is coincidental that people who don't believe in God are typically whiners? Man, talk about victim mentality. Most of the God haters that read this post are some of the most negative, miserable, cynical people you would ever listen too. Watch the responses to this post and see them get all upset and boo hoo hoo.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  6. J-Nel

    I appreciate Tebow's faith in God, and certainly believe that God is glorified when Tebow turns praise to Him after a win. All that said, I do NOT believe that the Denver Broncos are "God's team" or that Tebow is "God's quarterback." God is not for a certain football team. I believe Tebow is being blessed, and nobody can deny the fact that they are winning games in miraculous fashion. I would like to point out that Tebow's greatest witness is that if he were to have a career ending injury tomorrow, though he would be crushed because he no longer got to play the game he loved, he would be the same man and praise God in the same fashion he does after victories. Tebow does not simply love God because he is winning games, Tebow loves God because of the gift received in Jesus Christ. Win, loss, or death, Tebow will proclaim God's glory.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Pastafarian

      Yes, a craeer-ending injury followed by Teblow on the news praising god for his other plans would really seal the deal for making a believer out of me! What a bunch of ridiculous rationalization. Tebow has been winning due to a combination of hard work, a good defense, a couple of very long field goals (no credit to the kicker, of course) and plain old luck. If he feels the need to give someone else the credit, that's his choice. But I'd prefer god put his awesome powers to some more useful work – like saving starving children in Darfur, for example.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Jesus was Right


      Didn't Jesus prophesy that there would be war and famine in the end times? I’m just sayin' it shouldn't be a surprise. And by the way, if you believe in God, which I know you don't, then you believe in the devil, too. One is about life, the other death. So, which do YOU choose, life or death? And by the way, no choice is an automatic choice for the death, there is no neutral in this spiritual war. So, which side...choose now...death is coming, my friend.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  7. Observer

    So God decided to answer the prayers of the Christians on offense and fail the prayers of the Christians on defense.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  8. TPF

    Just talked with God, and he said he doesn't even like football. The media is a joke on this topic. He also doesn't like the media.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  9. Franky

    I'm sorry people are f'ing stupid ...

    December 12, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  10. Mike

    And I believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, etc. People are so gullible in religious 'blind faith'!

    December 12, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • steelerguin

      Pride will get you no where.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  11. Packer fan

    If God is for us, who can be against us ... apparently not the Chicago Bears LOL

    December 12, 2011 at 10:17 am |

    God isn't real, so that makes Tim Tebow is a big fat phony.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • David J

      ROFL! I totally agree with you!

      December 12, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Paul

      Maybe you're not real? Why should we care what you have to say then?

      December 12, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  13. Omar

    We should honestly be annoyed with the media rather than Tebow.

    The fact that Dan Merica actually spent time to write this article is pathetic...

    December 12, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Jim

      Blame Tebow.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  14. Franky

    Yes, god is working his miracles through QB for a game that has 0 impact on the real world? I mean seriously people?

    December 12, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Jim

      I would disagree in your statement that the NFL has zero impact on the real world as it exists in the real world and does impact those around it in many ways.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  15. FreeThinker

    Dear Tim – Since it's clear that you're on the Almighty's direct dial list, instead of praying for first downs, pass completions and touchdowns.. might i suggest something a little more worthy of 'His' time...like saving the 9 Million children under 5 years old that die every whilst their parents are praying to 'God' in one form or another.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • J-Nel

      Tebow is able to use his platform to bring awareness to issues as well as provide resources for such causes. Remember, his parents work as missionaries to help heal the hurt and broken overseas. And though I do not know Tebow's financials, I am sure he stewards what he has been given wisely and much good will come out of what he gives.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • ann

      why would you make any assumptions about the content of tim tebow's prayers? after all you have read or heard about tim tebow you will conclude that he prays for touchdowns and yardage?

      December 12, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • FreeThinker

      Ann – It was a rhetorical statement – There is no god listening to him regardless of what he prays. If there were a god, then these children wouldn’t be dying. Period. You need to wake up and smell what you’re shoveling.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  16. Jim

    No god cares about football. Plenty of atheists and members of all religions have been successful. Its no miracle. If you work hard, are comfortable in your own skin, and have a positive outlook on life you should get results.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  17. Scoop

    I certainly beleive that this kid is bringing something special to the team, but if you want to follow the line of logic that God is intervening, you must come to the dark conclusion that God was responsible for the injuries Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Fred Jackson and Adrian Peterson.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  18. dave

    this is rediculous, why do people insist on discussing the man's personal belief's, he could believe we were created by aliens for all i care, he does his job, he does it well and he has some special inspiration, that's ALL.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  19. One7777777

    "So whether they are watching because they believe in miracles or because they just like football, does it really matter?"

    Always a cheap shot against Christianity thrown in by CNN.

    Praise God and may people in this country wake up and call out to Him and Jesus today. God is our only hope and salvaton – the only one.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Jim

      The people that watch Tebow for Christian reasons are the same ones who think that Jesus makes his face (that no one really knows what it actually looks like) show up in bags of potato chips.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Pastafarian

      lol. And people like you are exactly why people ridicule tebow.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Godfrey

      "The Lord says He can get me out of this mess, but He's pretty sure you're f&$#ed."

      – Braveheart

      December 12, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  20. ron

    Maybe at halftime God can take a minute to cure my dying wife. I know it's a lot to ask.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Franky

      No, no, he's got to punish Bill Belichick for cheating first.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • FreeThinker

      I'm so sorry for you and your wife. I can't imagine what you must be going through – especially while reading such nonsense. Best wishes.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • PushingBack

      I wouldn't hold your breath – God has a lot of games on his schedule. He must have money on them otherwise why would he care? I wonder if he gets involved in soccer too – I see Jesus as the type who would like soccer.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:27 am |
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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.