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. Eric

    I think 8-5 as a starting QB is pretty good and indicative that you're certainly not the worst QB in the league. As a suffering Browns fan I wouldn't mind giving Tebow a shot at the job in Cleveland, it certainly can't get any worse than it has been for the last 13 yrs.

    March 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • But the Problem Is...

      But the problem is that the entire offense has to be changed to accomodate the way he plays. That effects the people you will be drafting and trading for. In effect, you have to buy into a wholesale change of the team just for T.T.

      And then, on the 3rd play of game 4, he gets hurt.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  2. Ridiculous

    Pathetic religious stuff as usual.

    March 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  3. NYC


    March 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Brek

      Love both these guys! Tim and Chris

      March 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  4. Jonathan Michael Brouillette

    Matthew 28:18-20
    New International Version (NIV)

    18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Eucharist).”

    March 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Lost Words

      You appear to be one of those people that expects something to happen to us when we read these reprinted bible verses. What are you hoping for here?

      March 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • boocat

      And Dr. Seuss said "I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam I Am." Now that is moving prose!

      March 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • just sayin

      Praying: 1.Address a solemn request of thanks to a deity or other object of worship.
      2.Wish or hope strongly for a particular outcome.
      Christians walk around life expressing wishful thinking...and they vote... um scary

      March 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Lost Words

      JMB is but a windchime in Christian advertisement(s). He/she says here is this and there is that but has no idea whatsoever as to the reallness of God and God's Kingdom(s),,,, JMB is a perversion of Christian Relativism,,,,,, 🙁

      March 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • just sayin

      Name stealer. I feel sad that you do not hear the voice of God.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Ridiculous

      The words coming from your own delusions. So funny.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Lost Words

      Maybe you can explain better how christianity is relevant today.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • just sayin

      Lost Words

      Maybe you can explain better how christianity is relevant today.

      its not, unless you are ignorant

      March 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  5. Robert

    People made a conextion with Tevow because he is real, an excellent role model, raised by a single mother that was pressured to have an abortion, we make a conextion because he is not a rapist, on drugs, fights dogs and torture them and finally kills them with his own hands.
    We have somebody that our sons can see in sports that is not a ganster.
    The ones that admire them can not understand why Tevow is important. He is a down to earth man.

    March 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • boocat

      There are alot of NFL players that are good people and give to charity and don't have the press following them around to make sure they are seen and they are not seen posturing on the sidelines during a game. Your comment is ridiculous and unfair to the players that are good people.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      His father and mother were missionaries and his father is still a respected church leader today.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer


      When boiling it down to its' very simpleness, there are but 2 types of people. One is Slaves and the others are Slavemasters. The scale of balancing slaves and slavemasters leaves very few slaves upon the one end of the fulcrum's pottage. Wat too many slavemasters and far too little slaves! Gotta turn the wheels of leveraged constrainabilities around and bring the slaves population up a wee bit,,,, 🙂

      March 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Doug

      Your comment highlights why many of the other players in the league are so resentful of Tebow, and why many fans are sick of him. The majority of the players came from humble backgrounds (and many were raised by single moms, while Tebow actually was not). Most of the players have worked incredibly hard to get as far as they have. Many of the players have been incredibly generous with their time and money. Indianapolis actually name their children's hospital after Peyton Manning, but we are not constantly bombarded with stories about all the visits Peyton has made.

      Yet somehow we hear story after story about how Tebow is a hard worker, overcame adversity, is kind, etc. Manning is a far better player, famously hard working, and incredibly charitable, yet doesn't have the over-the-top ridiculous passionate fan base of Tebow. Many players have overcome far greater challenges than Tebow. So why all the attention and love for Tebow? The obvious difference is that Tebow is so outspoken about his religion. For non-Christians, the implication that being outspoken in your faith makes you a better person or more worthy of adoration is offensive.

      March 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  6. Leucadia Bob


    March 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  7. Travis

    Richard, I don't think Colin was saying HE could prove existence of God... he's saying God could. And his point is that making someone burn in hell because they chose to not believe you existed, when you've never shown your face, is pretty heinous.

    March 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  8. Todd E.

    I am indifferent to Tebows public displays because I do not know what is in his heart. Jesus says in Matthew 6:5 that when we pray we should not be "like the hypocrites" praying "...on the street corners to be seen by men." So, if he is praying publicly just to be seen by others, then he is a fraud. If his heart is genuine, then he is merely misguided. Public displays are not necessary because God sees what is in our hearts and knows what we need before we ask Him.

    March 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • GodPot

      And God knows Quarterbacks "need" touchdowns on Sundays. And much like running from a bear, you only need to pray slightly harder than the other quarterback because you both can't win...

      March 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Amber

      In regards to that bible verse: Men were praying just to be seen as "hey we are men of God, look at me look at me I should get credit for it". You are taking that bible verse way out of context. Tebow has always been a man of God and has always shown that, I had the pleasure of hearing him speak a couple of weeks ago. He puts his faith and family above all else. Faith, Family and Football and he said if that gets out of order than he said there is something wrong with that picture. He loves Jesus and is not afraid to show it. He himself said "Jesus love and saviour is the most free gift, why are we not advertising it more?" . He will always pray in public it there is no shame in that.

      March 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  9. GatorFan86

    One thing I have figured out is that CNN.com is viewed by a bunch of Godless, heartless, people. I can't believe how cold, ruthless, and down right mean you people are. YOU say God doesn't exist, YOU say that praying is rediculous, well, prayer, and belief brought Tim into this world and it will see him through. What have you got? NOTHING! I feel sorry for you people because you have NO compassion or feeling. You're bitter because a young man isn't in the news for abusing women, doing drugs and getting caught. Tim Tebow is the kind of man that families should want their sons to be. Slam him all you want. He knows where his future lies and its not in the NFL! God Bless! Go Gators! Goodbye Manning and Elway, you're dinosaurs and we all know what happened to them.

    March 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Leucadia Bob

      Life had many roads and paths, but none of them lead to the afterlife. You are here, you are now. Live in the moment. If there is a GOD, and nobody that is alive knows who or what this being is, it will be revealed to you when you die. Don't give into the false fear that your religion has brainwashed you with. Enjoy life now instead of being afraid of getting into heaven. You can believe in anything to be a great football player. Honestly I think the best ones simply believed in THEMSELF.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Be Specific

      Are you addressing everyone on this blog? If not, be more specific. I'm godless, but none of the other things you are accusing everyone of being.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • boocat

      Guess you missed the page in your bible that reads "judge not, lest ye be judged."

      March 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • just sayin

      He lacks talent and his prayer did not help him. Eather god does nto exist or god really doesnt care for Tebow

      March 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  10. Yosemite Sam

    When Manning retires he will always be connected to two things.

    Ryand Leaf & Tim Tebow.

    March 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  11. Dave

    God giveth and God taketh away ;o)

    March 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  12. Leucadia Bob

    This is so friggin stupid. Seriously, you formed an attachment with Tebow because he is a fellow Christian? How "wear it on your sleeve" weak can you get? You need a guy that plays some exceptional football, but comes up short on the miracle to raffirm your belief in your religion? You morons-always looking for miracles. Just live and enjoy life. Life itself is the miracle you retards.

    March 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  13. pat carr

    Christians were hoping that Tebow would throw the ball so high it would bounce off Yeah-Way's Heiney!

    March 21, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  14. Jonathan Michael Brouillette

    1 Corinthians 1:22-24
    New International Version (NIV)

    22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    March 21, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Mat 6:33 Before looking elsewhere seek firstly the Kingdom of God while Luk 17:21 says that people will say here it is or there it is but alas, The Kingdom of God is INSIDE YOU God does state that together with Him we are laborers and even GOD"s Buildings where He and His subjects reside within our bodies, the Buildings of God 1Cr 3:9

      March 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Smurf This

      ...And pappa Smurf declared to all the Smurfs,
      bring me lots of smurfberries, lest ye all go hungry.
      And the smurfs complied and all had happy little blue tummys.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Smurf This,,,,,

      A moot point is noted,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, 🙂

      March 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  15. David

    I don't care where he goes... just don't got to the Giants or the Jets. This guy is NOT an NFL QB. THis is a TERRIBLE trade for the Jets. I hope it falls through.

    March 21, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • The Dude

      He has no arm.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • boocat

      Looks like it's a done deal with the Jets. As a fellow NYer I totally agree. I was hoping for a Tebow-less NFL season.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  16. The Dude


    March 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Colin

      Love this post. Eveybody should listen to it. It is funny as hell and makes some good points.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Phil Stedje

      Why do so many people think that the "fundamentalist so called evangelical Christians" represent all Christians. I have NO interest in the fundamentalist Christian theology. They are so far away form Jesus' teachings, it is pathetic. Jesus would not agree with their theology. I personally can't stand Tebow's so called theology and I think most of the main line Christians might agree with me. Why is it that nearly all of the evangelical Christians hate President Obama and think that he is not a Christian. Unbelievable! It seems that they are a very low information population.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Godless

      ha ha, awesome

      March 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      Proof for Jesus
      Let me start out with two disclaimers.
      One is that I use to be a sceptic of the Bible. It has been due to my reading and research that I have lost much of my scepticism. I have taken both Greek and Hebrew (although I sucked at them and I have barely used them since the courses were done, I wished I had taken more history courses instead)
      Two, I am not trying to convert anybody here. I am giving you my intellectual reasoning as to why I trust the Bible as a source for historical authenticity.
      The gospels are true. There are many eye witnesses that wrote about Jesus from the New Testament and this does not include Paul.
      Matthew was a disciple and an eye witness to the facts of Jesus ministry.
      Mark was Peter’s Scribe (Mark incidentally helped write 1 Peter as well but not 2 Peter as you can see by Peter’s poor Greek grammar) Incidentally Mark may have been an eye witness himself as there is evidence from the early church leaders that Mark was the boy who followed Jesus and it was his parents house that the last supper was held in.
      Luke was trained Greek/Roman physician who understood modern concepts of historical writing methods. He researched and interviewed eye witnesses from the life of Jesus, including Jesus’ mother.
      John was a disciple and a eye witness who writes 60—70 years after the fact with the purpose to give more information about the passion week.
      The book of James is written by Jesus’ half brother who was a sceptic of Jesus during his earthly ministry.
      The same for Jude.
      So from the bible there writings from at least five eye witnesses. As for discrepancies between gospels they are not there. They are simply the same event with different details highlighted and remembered due to authors being different people. They all line up when you study them.
      And my favorite gospel, the book of Luke / Acts (they are one book). Luke was trained Greek physician / historian who gathered eye witness accounts of the events that happened. One of these eye witnesses was Jesus' own mother, Mary.

      The Christian Faith is based on historical truth with historically real people based in historical situations.
      Just because Dan Brown writes a fictional novel it does not make it real. Do some real research and don't rely on the not so funny comedian Bill Maher for your facts.

      Try even reading national geographic.There are no credible archeologists that deny the existence of Jesus.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      Phil Stedje,
      I am a born again Christian and I will hold my nose and vote for Obama because he is the best man for the job.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Ridiculous

      "There are no credible archeologists that deny the existence of Jesus."

      So what does that prove? That you can associate someone to a position you have in mind as "god"? A person exists but what does that tell you – yes that a man once lived. Not a god.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      The opening first 30 seconds the "Jesus" starts out by saying "I am not real, a fitment of your imagination to make you feel better."
      I am simply saying the evidence is overwhelming that Jesus was real man and there are many eye witness accounts that talk about what they and other eye witnesses saw.
      Start out by reading the 33 years of Jesus' life in Luke and in his second half of his writings the next 33 years of church life in Acts.
      Before you make any claims or refute any claims read and study first.

      March 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • toby

      If the evidence were overwhelming, then how do you explain the massive conspiracy that must exist and is keeping the evidence hidden?

      March 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • J.W

      Christianity was a threat to the government's power.

      March 21, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      Conspiracy? Yeah, right.... So is the moon landing and 911 and Jesus.

      Please do share your conspiracy theory with us all.

      March 21, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  17. MennoKnight

    I like Tim. He is a great guys but did you all know that Aaron Rodgers is a devout Christian too? A few hours before each game he prays with his accountability partner and pastor. He is very active in his church, and he has strong family values.
    And he chooses to live his life by St. Francis of Assisi, who said, ‘Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words."

    And his is willing to use the words of Faith when he is asked. He has written for and spoken at many Athletes in Action events. To me he is the better example to follow, but then again he wasn't home schooled so he knows what the real world is like and how to better witness to the world around you.

    March 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • boocat

      As a Packer fan, yes I know about Aaron Rodgers and I have greater respect for him than I ever will have for Tebow.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • J.W

      Jason Terry is obviously a Christian, and it truly was a miracle that the Mavericks won the NBA championship last year.

      March 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      MennoKnight – It takes many different types of witnesses in the world. Perhaps each man is doing what they are called to do but have stylistic differences.

      March 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • toby

      Has the bar been lowered for miricles these days?

      March 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  18. Colin

    Which of the following is the most barbaric act imaginable, that only a sick psychopath would condone?

    (a) Cutting off the hand of a thief
    (b) Hanging a convicted killer
    (c) Torturing and burning a woman as a witch; or
    (d) Burning somebody for all eternity, simply because they do not believe something you could easily prove to them, but choose not to?

    March 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • richard

      Really Colin you can prove God, go ahead I dare you try and prove him, and please do not say something stupid like, Oh the sun comes up everyday

      March 21, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Wait What?

      Richard...i think you misunderstood that...all those things he mentioned are in the bible...several times, and worse...hes not trying to prove god exists, but to point out the terrible acts that the bible allows.

      March 22, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Doug

      Colin - apparently you are too subtle for this audience. Rather than simply revealing himself, God has supposedly decided to keep himself hidden and than damn you for all eternity if you don't decide to believe in him.

      So Colin's point is that we called the Taliban barbarians because they harshly treated criminals, yet we accept a God that would sentence people to an eternity in hell just for not believing in him. And then we are told that he is a loving God.

      March 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  19. pat carr

    Chri$ianity – the Best B$ that money can buy. I believe in God! Send me Money! The Lord needs your cash!

    March 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  20. Dipsh!ts

    Huh...yeah....Peyton Manning is a Christian too...sooo.....yeah.

    March 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • UhYeaOk


      March 21, 2012 at 4:08 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.