April 8th, 2012
05:22 PM ET

Tebow talks faith during Easter event in Texas

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - After being all football in his last press conference following his trade to the New York Jets, Tim Tebow on Sunday was all about his faith, which he discussed at length with a Texas pastor during an Easter event.

The New York Jets quarterback was greeted by shrieks and cheers as he took the stage on the sprawling Celebration Church campus in Georgetown, about 25 miles north of the state capital of Austin.

After some playful banter with senior pastor Joe Champion - who asked the former Florida Gator to don a football helmet from his alma mater, Louisiana State University - Tebow began answering questions about his faith and how his openness about it has become a frequently dissected topic in sports and society at large.

The Heisman Trophy winner and outspoken evangelical Christian said that he wasn't sure why he has become such a focal point for his faith. Nor did he have an easy explanation as to why Tebowing, the act of getting down on one knee and praying, went viral - with people doing it on mountaintops, under the sea and most anywhere in between.

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"I really don't think that I was the first athlete to get down on one knee and pray," said Tebow, who is known to do so on the football field. "I've actually had the same routine the last several years and, just this year, they started calling it Tebowing. ... I have no idea why."

The quarterback recalled how, during one game last season, a Detroit Lions defensive player stood over him and began Tebowing after tackling him. He said he wasn't sure if the act was meant to mock him, but still called it "flattering" because the opposing player, whether he realized it or not, was praying - something that Tebow believes is a good thing, wherever it's done.

Beyond his exploits at the University of Florida and more recently in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, nowadays Tebow is known as much for his outward expression of faith as for his football.

It began in Gainesville, where he led the Gators to two national championships while etching Bible verses into the eyeblack he wore on game days. In Denver, his jersey was one of the league's hottest sellers, even before he started regularly for the team, in large part due to his immense popularity among Christians.

"I'm just so blessed to have a platform so when cameras are rolling, they can't just turn it off," he told Champion. "They have to hear me say, 'I have to thank my lord and savior, Jesus Christ.'"

But it's also made Tebow a lightning rod of sorts, with some questioning whether he should be talking more about football and less about his faith, as well as a fixture in popular culture. In one "Saturday Night Live" skit, a character portraying Jesus goes into the Broncos' locker room saying he doesn't want to have to "bail out" the team every week and praising their upcoming foe, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, as a "miracle worker."

Tebow said Sunday that he takes the attention in stride, saying that anything that gets people thinking about faith is a positive.

"When it's being talked about, that means it's being contemplated by people," he said. "And that's a good thing."

And believing personally that his fate is in God's hands gives Tebow comfort and joy, he said, and helps him remain optimistic and energized while tackling most any challenge.

As important as football is to him, Tebow said he feels wholeheartedly that following God's path is more so.

"Whatever happens in life - good or bad, whether you're the hero or the goat, whether you like it or not - you know that someone has a plan for your life, and it's a special plan," Tebow said. "When you trust that and you have hope in that, then you have peace in all decisions and everything you do. And it brings a lot of joy to your life."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

soundoff (355 Responses)
  1. SSampson

    Well – I'm an atheist...

    But If I remember bits of the Bible, Jesus wasn't much of a sports fan – He prefered going to wedding and making wine – perhaps Tebow should get on one knee the next time he has a party?? –

    Jesus didn't like swimming either (sport or otherwise) – apart from the occasional baptism, he seemed to prefer to stay above the water...

    April 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  2. peick

    Good for you, Mr. Tebow. You only need fear God, not your detractors.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  3. rae

    Here is the funny thing. Athletes have been praying to God for YEARS and it has never been an issue. Tebow has been kneeling during games for the past seven years and no one cared till recently. Who cares what others believe or don't. It's their choice, their right, and no one should tell them anything different. We are all different. If we were all the same, life would be pretty boring.

    April 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  4. GeorgeBos95

    "...the opposing player, whether he realized it or not, was praying ..."

    Actually, he was mocking Tebow, not "praying". I'm not surprised Tebow can't tell the difference.

    April 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  5. The Kid

    As each of us walks through life, I hope an inspiring event will occur to change us. As always, your bother in Christ, The Kid.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  6. PumpNDump

    I am very confident that Tebow is gay AND a certified nutjob.

    April 9, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • BoldGeorge

      It's interesting to note that you used two words as insult terms against Tebow.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  7. EPAB

    Something about Tebow's mannerisms and behavior make me wonder if he's gay.

    April 9, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • coastlinecascot

      so Athiest are against gays? Wow I thought you guys only label christians as bigots?

      April 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 9, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • Jesus

      `Prayer doesn’t not; you are so full of crap and lies. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs! ..

      April 9, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      Thank you "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things" that you posted the other day. Truly inspiring !

      April 9, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Jesus

      "Alfred E Neuman

      Thank you "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things" that you posted the other day. Truly inspiring !"

      More lies since you are one and the same person using different handles....cough..cough..."just sayin" LMAO! What an idiot.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Snap

      Prayer changes nothing except the prayer. That's a truth you can take to your pastor. He'll tell you the same. The Lord doesn't alter his plans simply because you asked him to. That would make you God, and not Him. Running around lying to people is not going to further God's goals, and it isn't going to bring you glory or any extra praise from God.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  9. John1518

    Fellow Christians: I am not a fan of the movie T1tanic, thus I do not click on news articles about it nor do I post comments mocking and name-calling those who are fans. So why do non-believers feel the need to do that here? I think that, as Pascal said, they have a "God-shaped void" in their heart that they are longing to fill with God's grace, whether or not their pride will allow them to admit it. Please keep that in mind when replying to their venom – God loves them too. We are ALL sinners who desperately need the beautiful gift of grace that God has given us.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:18 am |
    • reason

      Atheists and other non-religious people are trying to make the world a better place by waking people up. If in your heart you want to better understand where they are coming from watch this video:


      April 9, 2012 at 7:02 am |
    • Keys

      Reason: go back and read the dozens of hateful, cruel comments posted by non-believers on this story, then come back and explain how they are "making the world a better place".

      April 9, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • johnfrichardson

      John1518: You are a typical religious imbecile. The blog is ABOUT belied in the modern world and is of great interest to those who consider the American evangelical community and certain other religious sects the source of some serious modern problems. That's why non-believers are here.

      April 9, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Use your brain

      "We are ALL sinners"

      Really? If that's the case then god made us that way. So who's fault is it? Is is the product or the engineer?

      April 9, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  10. 1word

    To the believers, keep believing and don't worry about the nonbelievers. I know that they will get their just due when the time comes.

    April 9, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • momoya

      And just what do you think is a nonbelievers "just due?". If it's eternal torture in a pit of never-ending fire, then that's pretty disgusting of you..

      April 9, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • PumpNDump

      blo me. Lol

      April 9, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • @youignantdotcom

      You KNOW nothing of the sort. Stop being IGNANT.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  11. Marley

    Looks like "Jesus" favors Peyton Manning over Tim Tebow.

    Or perhaps "Jesus" just got annoyed of Tebow?

    Whatever the case, "Jesus" has forsaken Tim Tebow! LOL

    April 9, 2012 at 2:47 am |
  12. mickey1313

    I am so glad this loser is being bounced from Denver, go thank j
    buz for your millions somewhere elts.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  13. Arturo

    Great role model!

    April 9, 2012 at 2:27 am |
  14. Amanda

    New Living Translation – Matthew 10:32
    "Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  15. kajal

    Shut up, Tebow!
    I am tired of watching this useless player use religion as his ticket to celebrity. Whatever happened to old fashioned hard work, ON THE FIELD?

    April 9, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • joe

      Whether or not you like Tim Tebow, what you have to be fair about is that he always has been reported to be one of the hardest working guys. Showing up early, staying late, hitting the weight room, etc. You can question the ceiling of his talent level but you can't question the guy's work ethic.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • @youignantdotcom

      Thats fine, Joe. he is a hard worker...but he is still GARBAGE on the field. You can't dispute that.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  16. Crenshaw

    Tebow is a goober, and he is recieving way too much attention.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:31 am |
  17. Sirned

    So Christians will you demonize him when he comes out of the closet? Most likely. Until he does he needs to make all kinds of money off you drooling fake Christians......

    April 9, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  18. Sirned

    He's a show off Christian who's a football player... And if he chose to pray quietly he'd just be a decent football player...Geez guys I know truely good and religious folks that don't flaunt it for publicity but hey if it floats your boat.....

    April 9, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  19. Fan

    I love TEBOW. He is not scared to express his faith in God. Most people are all apologetic about exercising their religion. How ungrateful can one be , if one doesnt acknowledge and thank one's creator.

    April 9, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • jasperkasper

      Since the 80's,the apologies stopped–and collected, organized with cash to became a very strong voice to shape and influence politics and policies.

      SO now we have Church/ State/sports.

      I like him–a good role model–but when coverage of Easter shows the Pope, etc–but only adds audio when Tebow talks?
      There is a serious problem. JMO.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:29 am |
  20. tony

    My bible says God gave me the Land of Beverly Hills. Move out quietly folks, or the US gov't will give me F14's to help you on your way.

    April 9, 2012 at 12:30 am |
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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.