Denver Christians mourn Tebow’s departure, say they’ll root from afar
Tim Tebow will now be "Tebowing" for the New York Jets.
March 21st, 2012
02:28 PM ET

Denver Christians mourn Tebow’s departure, say they’ll root from afar

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – When star quarterback Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos this week, Denver pastor Jim Mackey signed at the thought that Tim Tebow probably wouldn’t be wearing Broncos blue and orange next season. The Broncos don’t need two star quarterbacks and the New York Jets announced Wednesday that Tebow is now theirs.

“It was a topic of conversation last night,” Mackey said in a phone interview Wednesday, describing Tuesday night services at his Next Level Church.

“It is an emotional thing and a bit more emotional for people who have connected with Tebow’s expression of faith,” Mackey said. “Rather than just a QB controversy, which is not unique in the NFL, this does seem to have hit more of a personal nerve for those in the Christian community.”

Mackey’s church meets Tuesday nights, not Sunday mornings, because Mackey believes Sunday is a day for people to do Colorado things – skiing, hiking and Broncos games.

Tebow, who helped turn the bottom-dwelling Broncos into a playoff team last year, transcended sports with his overt professions of faith and his late game heroics, which led some to believe that God was on the young quarterback’s side.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

Throughout the season, Tebow’s jersey was flying off the racks and “Tebowing” – the act of getting down on one knee and praying while everyone around you does something else – became to be an internet meme and widely recognized symbol. Tebow quickly became the public face of FRS Company and Jockey; for months, it was hard to click on ESPN without hearing his name.

“Tim Tebow seems to have won the hearts of not only football fans in Denver but the people here at large,” said Rob Brendle, pastor at the evangelical Denver United Church. “One of the most exciting aspects of last season was that casual sports fans and those who aren’t even interested in football, like my wife, became captivated by the influence of Tim Tebow.”

“Around the water cooler and in church, there is sadness at the likelihood of his departure,” Brendle said, a few hours before the Jets announcement.

Though Tebow cashed in with endorsements, he also lent his face and celebrity to causes he believed in, many in the Denver area. Like many players, Tebow invited individual fans to his games. In his last game with the Broncos, a playoff face-off with quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, Tebow hugged Kelly Faughnan, a 22-yard old female who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and whom the Tebow Foundation had invited to the game.

Brendle said that Tebow showed that you can be both good at sports and good at giving back.

“It is hard not to cheer for the Christian kid,” Brendle said.

Jim Daly, president of the Colorado Springs-based evangelical group Focus on the Family, teamed up with Tebow for antiabortion Super Bowl ad last year. The spot illustrated how comfortable Tebow is trumpeting his Christian beliefs, even on a polarizing issue.

“I think there is going to be this period of mourning for Tim Tebow’s departure,” Daly said. “I think that that affection that people have for Tebow goes well beyond Denver and his ability to play football.”

Daly says Focus still hopes to work with Tebow in the future.

“Regardless of where he is, he is a national celebrity and it would be great to work with him again – even if he is in New York,” Daly said.

Matthew Ware, Executive and Worship Pastor at Victory Church in Denver, said Tebow fans were hoping for the quarterback to stay local even after the Manning announcement.

“I think most people were hoping for a "both/and" instead of an "either/or" situation,” Ware said. “We love the idea that perhaps Manning could ‘disciple’ Tebow into greatness in the next few years.”

Many believers in Denver will now have to balance being a Broncos fan with rooting for a New York-based Tebow.

“Tebowmania has a magnetism and loyalty that's undeniable,” Ware said. “While most people will ultimately support their home team, once in a while a player comes along that wins your heart. Tebow is that kind of player. He'll have Denver fans no matter where he plays.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Colorado • New York • Sports • United States

soundoff (1,423 Responses)
  1. oneday

    you better study some more know it alls...

    March 22, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      It sounds like YOU are the one who needs to do some studying.....that last blurb of gibberish you posted made no sense whatsoever. Stay in school, ONEDAY....

      March 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • shut up, herbie.


      March 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  2. A Jew

    Oy vey! Mazol Tov! Tim Tebow has left! In reality I am an atheist and the fact that religion must become a part of sports like this is kind of sad because we should just let them play the game and not get hung up on the fact that he worships a different god than Tom Cruise.

    March 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  3. oneday

    yeah, god doesn't exist, our moms and dads just had made out and boom here comes me and we, and now we run this thing...we pay our taxes to keep the oxygen flowing so that we can continue on with life...we run this, god is nothing, and an absolute fake...i know im right b/c i know it all...

    March 22, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      The thorazine is in the cabinet on the left.....

      March 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • derp

      "our moms and dads just had made out and boom here comes me'

      The best part of you ran down your moms leg.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  4. Jay

    How does that old saying go,"opinions are like ........, everybody has one!"

    March 22, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  5. oneday

    christians are so stupid and empty minded, they are not like us, we know it all...what i think i know of them (or at least what i have gathered-or seen in action) based on a half hearted one that i know that barely reads his bible, is that they are so twisted and so far from being a know it all...regardless to the stupid/ignorant one that i know, all of them are like that...how do i know???
    b/c i know it all...

    March 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • fail.

      total fail.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      "Brendle said that Tebow showed that you can be both good at sports and good at giving back.

      He showed you can be good at giving back, his less than 50% completion percentage leaves the first item unchecked....

      March 22, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  6. J Hook

    "Tebow, who helped turn the bottom-dwelling Broncos into a playoff team last year, transcended sports with his overt professions of faith and his late game heroics, which led some to believe that God was on the young quarterback’s side."

    If God were real and he was spending his time controlling the actions of a Professional Football Player instead of focusing on the daily death of the innocent and those suffering needlessly around the world... well, I think I would sink into a deep, dark depression.

    Not only do I, as well as a growing portion of America, completely and wholeheartedly reject the idea of a tyrannical, all-seeing, all-controlling dictator floating in the sky, but I am also relieved to the point of "heavenly bliss" that there is not one shred of a shred of a shred of evidence that such a god exists. The existence of such a ruthless, angry, jealous deity would be truly frightening.

    March 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Gavin

      There are signs everywhere for you – that God does exists. Look up in the sky, see the beautiful color at day, or the deep dark at night, look sincerely at the stars, and the clouds, and try to come up with a logical explanation to this question – how were they created?

      March 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • It Could Happen


      Our universe could be a single sneeze droplet from a giant cosmic goat.

      That's just as plausible as your scenario.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • sam

      Read a book, Gavin.

      March 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Ronald Hussein Reagan

      GAVIN, you are philosophicallly illiterate. Immanuel Kant proved to most everyone's satisfaction that no logical proof or disproof of God is possible over 200 years ago. THe Critique of Pure Reason is a good plaec to start your education. He did finally come up with the conclusion that it's all based on Faith so if you prefer not to invest time in educating yourself you can always keep your faith.

      March 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • derp

      "a logical explanation to this question – how were they created?"

      And somehow it is logical to believe that the magic floating space king waved his magic wand and pooofff!!! there was a universe.

      Uh, ok.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  7. Ronald Hussein Reagan

    I didn't know Denver's NFl team was called the Denver Christians. It will make the old joke Lions 12 -Christians nothing fresh again!

    March 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  8. lol

    1. Jesus is the Supreme Cause, and All is from Him.
    2. Kelly Faughnan is a 22-year old female who has a brain tumor.
    3. Therefore, Jesus caused a young lady to have a brain tumor.
    4. Somebody that would give a young lady a brain tumor is a massive asshole.
    5. Conclusion: Jesus is a massive asshole.

    March 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Ronald Hussein Reagan

      You have no background in Philosophy, obviously. Read up on Immanuel Kant and educate yourself.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • no

      all wrong. thanks!

      March 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • derp

      Really, jesus seems like a total d i c k. Ten years ago he gave my mom cancer. Absolutel dickmove.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  9. Cheryl

    Tim was/is "tebowing" to give thanks to the Lord for all he has been given, not to pray for a touchdown. If you wear your christianity out loud and as proudly as you wear all your other opinions, this wouldn't be bothering you so much

    March 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      What if he were a Muslim praying to Allah after each TD? I bet that would change your perspective a bit....

      March 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • daves not here

      He has said specifically that he was praying for defensive goal line stands and missed/made field goals... Just sayin'.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  10. daves not here

    I don't hate Tebow. I think he's sincere in his faith and I like him as a person for his charitable acts and I rooted for him last year because I'm a Bronco's fan. Here's the bottom line.
    1. Manning has done a TON of charitable acts and committed a great amount of money and time into helping those in need.
    2. He doesn't feel the need to do anti-abortion commercials or shove his religion in anyone's face. So if you're looking for another hero you can't go wrong with Manning.
    3. If Tebow were the EXACT same person committing the EXACT same acts of charity but he was a Muslim. Would you have bought his jersey before he even threw a single pass in the NFL?

    I'm so glad this circus is moving to New York. This is football so let's get back to football!

    GO BRONCOS! GO MANNING! Best of Luck to Tebow in NY.

    March 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  11. Jay

    Every knee will bow...and that includes you! Better get right with God now before it's too late.

    March 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      Most of us are not coerced by idle threats of bodily harm. Why do Christians always make their God out to be more petty than even they are?

      March 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Noah Little

      You can tell so much about a person by how their imaginary god behaves.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • derp

      You need to get right with Allah and Mo. Jesus was a fraud. Muhammed is the only way to heaven.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  12. liz

    If you're mourning the loss of an athlete as opposed to let's say poverty, hunger, even Trayvpn Martin's death, you really need to start praying to God for guidence and this time listen

    March 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  13. oneday

    know it all...i'm flawed always getting up from a fall, but i know it all...logic, matter, no equation too small, im confidant in the reality that i know it all...i submit to historical insight and books that i suggest were written by those qualified to enhance my intellect, and i know it all...im so smart that i know god is an invisible made up character and a dynamically stupid concept, all b/c i know it all...i believe in "me" (matter extraordinaire) and dismiss any concept that's irrelevant and unaligned to what makes sense to "me" brilliant yet unstable brain, b/c i know it all...i run this life, i awake, i move, i work, i breathe, i drive, i design, i build, i get paid, i play, i smart, i phone, i pad, i tune, i run this, all b/c i know it all...but what happens when devastation hit, i call it mother nature or even a scientific force that's inquisitively life threatening but im able to identify its development and even its ability, so i justify its occurrence, i lean on scientific logic, i call it bad and become sad and willing to aid, just for a moment then im back to me, b/c i know it all...it will never happen to me b/c i live in the us of a and we are the most brilliant, most sophisticated, most intellectual, most prosperous, most glutton-ized, most universalized, most believe and do what thou wilt-ized, most-most-most and did i say smartest, alive, all b/c i know it all...well when the day comes when your grace runs out and your clock stops ticking (that's if you choose to shut it down, or let it, b/c remember, you run this, you know it all), and your fleshly desires loses its roar and the strong wings that you once had no longer will soar...what about when this thing called life comes to an end, knowing it all will not matter nor will it redeem you...there's no lay over or sleep over when life on earth ends, but then again, i wouldn't know b/c im not an elite know it all...however, one thing is for certain, you will get to meet the One in whom you rejected to know, and in that moment, although you reject Him, He most assuredly will fill you in, and in that set time where there's not stoppage or stall you my friends will most certainly know it all...

    March 22, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Noah Little

      oneday, "one thing is for certain, you will get to meet the One in whom you rejected to know,"

      Who 'dat?

      Agdistis, Ah Puch, Ahura Mazda, Alerich, Allah, Amaterasu, An , Anasi, Anat, Andvari, Ansshar, Anu, Aphrodite, Apollo, Apsu, Ares, Artemis, Asclepius, Athena, Athirat, Athart, Atlas, Baal, Ba Xian, Bacchus, Balder, Bast, Bellona, Bergelmir, Bes, Bixia Yuanjin, Bragi, Brahma, Brigit, Camaxtli, Ceres, Ceridwen, Cernunnos, Chac, Chalchiuhtlicue, Charun, Chemosh, Cheng Huang, Cybele, Dagon, Damkina, Davlin, Dawn, Demeter, Diana, Di Cang, Dionysus, Ea, El, Enki, Enlil, Eos, Epona, Ereskigal, Farbauti, Fenrir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigg, Gaia, Ganesha, Ganga, Garuda, Gauri, Geb, Geong Si, Guanyin, Hades, Hathor, Hecate, Helios, Heng-O, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Hestia, Hod, Hoderi, Hoori, Horus, Hotei, Huitzilopochtli, Hsi-Wang-My, Hygeia, Inanna, Into, Iris, Ishtar, Isis, Ixtab, Izanaki, Izanami, Jesus, Juno, Jupiter, Juturna, Kagutsuchi, Kartikeya, Khepri, Ki, Kingu, Kinich Ahau, Kishar, Krishna, Kuan-Yin, Kukulcan, Lakshmi, Leto, Liza, Loki, Lugh, Luna, Magna Mater, Maia, Marduk, Mars, Mazu, Medb, Mercury, Mimir, Min, Minerva, Mithras, Morrigan, Mot, Mummu, Muses, Nammu, Nanna, Nanse, Neith, Nemesis, Nephthys, Neptune, Nerhal, Ninazu, Ninhurzah, Nintu, Ninurta, Njord, Nugua, Nut, Odin, Ohkuninushi, Ohyamatsumi, Orgelmir, Osiris, Ostara, Pan, Parvati, Phaethon, Phoebe, Phoebus Apollo, Pilumnus, Poseidon, Quetzalcoatl, Rama, Re, Rhea, Sabazius, Sarasvati, Selene, Shiva, Seshat, Set, Shamash, Shapsu, Shen Yi, Shiva, Shu, Si-Wang-Mu, Sin, Sirona, Sol, Surya, Susanoh, Tawaret, Tefnut, Tezcatlipoca, Thanatos, Thor, Thoth, Tiamat, Tianhou, Tlaloc, Tonatiuh, Toyo-Uke-Bime, Tyche, Tyr, Utu, Uzume, Bevus, Vesta, Vishnu, Volturus, Vulcan, Xipe, Xi-Wang-Mu, Xochipilli, Xochiquestzal, Yam, Yarikh, Yhwh, Ymir, Yu-Huang, Yum Kimil, Zeus ?

      March 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      Well, so far, ONEDAY, science has been responsible for inventing ALL of the major technological advances that you use everyday and take for granted. Religion has been reposnible for


      No technological advances, no medical breakthroughs, no dscoveries or useful technologies, nothing to improve the human condition or increase our lengevity.

      If it were a matter of science being pitted against religion, in football terms...science would take religion back "behind the woodshed".

      Nice poem though.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  14. Bob

    CNN and Tim Tebow both suck donkey schlong.

    March 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Then why are you even on this site?

      March 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • hahahahaha

      HA! Nice... been a while since 'schlong' was used by anyone!

      All those folks drinking the jesus juice, please relax. Not everyone has your beliefs, and just b/c you believe something doesn't make it so. The only thing we know for certain is that we don't know everything for certain. Praise Allah :^P

      March 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  15. Fr33th1nk3r

    Based on all the press he gets, an outside observer would think he must be some important politician, world leader, scientist, official, tragedy-survivor, or SOMETHING NEWSWORTHY. Then you read deeper and find out....he is a mediocre (at best) NFL QB, whose entire claim to fame is that he wears his religion in his eye-black and has made a ten o'clock spectacle out of himself advertising for God.

    Jeez, there are people on the news for rescuing people from fires, braving the apartheid in Syria and getting killed to bring us news, people doing great things speaking out against oppression and cruelty.....and then you have Little Tebow....who is famous.....for being a Christian. He is kinda like Paris Hilton– what was it he is famous for again?

    March 22, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Notairchboy

      The difference is Paris Hilton begs to be in the spot light. Tebow was praying during games when he was in college no one cared but once he got to the NFL the media is the one that made a spectacle out of him as you say. Plus for years players have looked up to the sky or rasied their hands to the sky and done what appeared to be thanking God after plays and for some reason it is top news because Tebow does it in his own way.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • James

      "whose entire claim to fame is that he wears his religion in his eye-black and has made a ten o'clock spectacle out of himself advertising for God"...

      OK...it has nothing to do with being the winningest QB in college football history and being a true leader. National Championships 2x, First Team All American 2x, Heisman Trophy 1x, AP Player of the Year 1x...he wins and leads his teams...that built up a huge following of Tebow fans. Then in NFL he takes over a 1-4 team and ends up winning the division and beating the Steelers in the WildCard round...yes he had help...every NFL player does...but he led and helped them win when it counted most (game on the line 4th Q or OT). So no you are incorrect sir, his ENTIRE claim to fame is not his religion, but thanks for trying.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • daves not here

      it's not the pointing to heaven or even tebowing. It's the 3:16 on his eye black. Thanking Jesus for every insignificant thing and his active involvement with POLITICAL groups like Focus on the Family.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  16. Big Al

    And Christians can't pray without Tim Teblow there to act as a medium?? Really?! Are you that shallow and simplistic to base your spirituality on a football player (and a cr*ppy one at that)?? Conversely, is that the only reason you have to root for an athlete....his pretentious trumpeting of religious rhetoric??

    March 22, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  17. Atheist more selfless than most Christians

    Can someone explain to me why Christians think it's ok to pray for football games and touchdowns. I mean, really! The Christians who think that this guy's praying fanatacism is something to look up to should really pause and start questioning their own definition of Christianity. I wish we could stop confusing prayers with wishing wells.

    March 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Alex

      Exactly. They'll pray for a winning touchdown, new iPads but will make damn sure gay people can't marry. That's modern Christianity for you.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • IfOnly

      They're only following the bible. It literally states that if you ask of him your wish will be granted. Is it any wonder they're brought up to believe in this idiocy which leads to a lifestyle where they pray for anything and everything?

      According to Christians, atheists have no morals. Atheists start their morning by punching a toddler in the gut, slamming doors on the elderly and kicking people in the shins.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • James

      Tebow doesnt pray to win the games or for TDs...if you've ever heard him pray it's usually 99% of the time...no matter what happens on the field I pray that we glorify and honor you God and he prays for the safety of the players playing the game. Not I'm not saying he's never prayed for an outcome to go one way or another...I think we all get caught up in things like that and ask God for his blessing...nothing wrong with that...but people need to know that Tebow's prayers are usually not superficial like that.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • VanHagar

      @Ifonly...where in the Bible does it "literally" say that? If you want to make fun of Christians, try a little harder–you don't have to misquote the Bible to do it–there are plenty of other reasons (unfortunately)...and I say this as a follower of Christ.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  18. JMan

    Freethinker seeking reasons, you are a d bag. Get a life.

    March 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Another

      JMan: What a clever reply. idiot.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Freethinker Seeking Reason

      JMan, why don't you actually follow through on my points and then TRY to defend Tebow's association with Focus on the Family. You can't, or won't, because you would look like a fool doing so to anyone who supports gay rights, women's rights, freedom FROM religion, etc.

      March 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      Jman, you and Shane should get together after mass this Sunday and have a brainstorm. Between the two of you, maybe you can come up with something worth reading....

      March 22, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  19. Jeb

    God is clearly as tired of Tebow as Denver is.

    March 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  20. Freethinker Seeking Reason

    Tebow's profiteering off his pro-Christian big-otry makes me sick, but his association with the vile ho-mophobic hate group Focus on the Family makes me even sicker. Focus on the Family actively (and LOUDLY) promotes anti-gay bullying by pro-Christian zealots in schools to the point that gay students actually commit suicide over it. Look up the stats in Michelle Bachmann's ultra-conservative district in Minnesota and how the nutty school board prevents teachers from even helping gay students.

    Of course, this pro-religiosity article by CNN doesn't even mention Focus on the Family's ho-mophobic death march, nor even the war on women's reproductive freedom rights, in a bad light, merely calling them "polarizing". CNN, until you call these hateful people out for what they are, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. Religious delusion is an American epidemic, and the news media keeps feeding this mass psychosis all the way to the bank.

    I pity the New York fans who now will have to put up with this extra special brand of crazy.

    March 22, 2012 at 4:59 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.