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. Presian

    Tebow is mentally ill.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  2. Joe

    His name should be Mebow.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  3. steven harnack

    So he thinks that acting like the Pharisees is a good thing? He's not mentally sharp enough to figure out that the bow in his name might have something to do with Te-BOWing? Yeah, what a role model. More proof that every god is a reflection of the person's imagination. His god is a football fan.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  4. Gator Fan

    I'm not a religious man... But I do remember one service I attended. The guest preacher told us that his sole mission in life as a christian (not a preacher) is to spread the word of God. When asked what he was doing on flight from Florida to Dallas, he said "Spreading the word of God... but since I'm here I might aswell fly to Dallas"... maybe this will help some of you understand where Tebow is coming from. Christianity (especially Southern Baptists) are a secret club (like some view the Jewish Religion)- their mission is to reach every Man Woman and Child in the world with the world of Jesus. In fact, that was the mantra of the church... Every Man Woman and Child...

    April 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  5. BoredSecurityGarud

    Best part will be when he finally realizes religion is fake and it's all a lie. Bahaha

    April 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  6. Nick

    Hey Tebow, try reading this passage from your beloved bible –

    Matthew 6:1 Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • stephen

      But at the same time, Jesus did tell his disciples to go out and spread the good news. That seems to imply some kind of public preaching. The bible can be interpreted so many different ways based on which passage you decide to use.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  7. Thor

    At least he is a good role model. I wish people would have complained as much when i**ot Vick killed dogs for fun. This is one of the problems with this country. We tend to glorify gang members, people with an IQ of 4, and anybody misbehaving.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • CosmicC

      I'm not sure a football team is a gang. He's clearly not misbehaving. so that leaves....

      April 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • steven harnack

      What, were you in a coma? People DID come down on Vicks, and rightfully so. This guy here is just a twit.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  8. maggotfist

    meine Männlichkeit ist in deiner Mutter in den Arsch, T E B O W

    April 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • maggotfist

      Weiter werde ich ihn in den Mund gelegt

      April 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • shagahwin

      HAHAHAHA!!!! Thank you for that...it made my day.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  9. D

    D-bag does as d-bag is, I guess. *sigh*

    April 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  10. Elliot

    Nobody will even know who Tebow is in a few years after everyone realizes he is just a 3rd rate football player that will never amount to anything other than pandering to the sheep that eat up all the religious hopla just like they do when it's spewed from the scam artists on TV who end up getting caught with trannys and smoking meth.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  11. t.sarcastic

    If this guy what anymore egotistical he could be The Newtster's running mate.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  12. Barry G.


    You're a good man.

    You're a great athlete, an excellent role model, and most importantly, a faithful Christian.

    I'm proud of you.

    Keep up the good work and keep the faith!

    –Barry Gaynor

    April 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Shaggy

      Actually he's a lousy NFL QB, with a sub 50% completion rate. But it is true he has been brainwashed and home-schooled by a religious extremist for his whole life, so I guess that makes you happy.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • freedomfromfear

      Barry G. Good post!

      April 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  13. Ron

    There are some people that mock Tebow then there are those of us who mock the bandwagon Tebow fans and those people who somehow think God cares about the outcome of NFL games.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  14. Insert Annonomous joke here

    Tim Tebow is so 2000 and late.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • davetharave

      Do you really believe that's how anonymous is spelled ?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    Its amazing that we celebrate the public displays of faith by a young multi-millionaire who has done nothing else except to contravene Christian teachings and made himself the focus of a discussion of faith rather than God, and ignore the work being done by others who have walked away from the limelight.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Gators Fan

      You are so wrong! This guy goes on missions around the world preaching the word of god. Despite thousands of women that would bed him in a second, he is a self proclaimed virgin who is saving himself for marage... He takes every oppurtonity to spread gods word?

      The pawnbrokers society of USA said that Rick from the show PAWNSTARS did more to advance the pawn business and image of pawn shops than the last 30 years of advertising had done.... I would argue that Tebow has accoplished a similar task for the christian faith.. You are welcome.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  16. meemee

    Christ did not die for our sins, he only provided a template.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  17. Cary

    Who cares?? OMG why all this press about a stupid quarterback anyways???

    April 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • t.sarcastic

      Because we (the general we) are about as stupid and uninformed as we can possibly be. It takes far to much effort to concern ourselves with something that actually matters.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • boocat

      Because today's media caters to the lowest common denominator....people obessed with celebrity...it's all b.s.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • stephen

      boocat-the fact that you read and left a comment on this article would imply that you are a part of the "lowest common denominator"

      April 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  18. Jess

    You're doing a great job Tebow! Keep up the good work!

    April 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      What good work? Can he do anything without an audience and cameras rolling?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Pay

      I agree... Please keep up the great work, Tim!!!

      April 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • steven harnack

      What work? He's a not very bright kid playing a kids game. Work? He doesn't know how to.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  19. Matt

    How on earth could people hate a young man that tries to live right and follows God? Would they rather he follows in the footsteps of Mike Vick or Ray Lewis or a host of other athletes? Sad.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Tebow makes sure everyone can see him when he gives thanks: how is that living right and following God? True people of faith don't look for a venue where people can see them. No one here has said they want their children to follow in the footsteps of a Michael Vick or a Ray Lewis, so yousr statement is nothing more than a pathetic attack by a jealous wannabe.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • joe

      I admire those who are good (religious or not) and don't feel inclined to let everyone else know how good they are. It's also pretty selfish to feel like you, alone, have the power to channel the heavens for a game.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • t3chsupport

      Lots of people follow their god and no one cares.

      People call him out for it because he makes a show of it, which the bible expressly says not to do. Go pray in public, don't try to make a show out of being faithful just for the benefits of others. He makes a show of it, a huge one, that's his whole selling point. 'Tebowing' is pretty much exactly what Matthew 6 is telling people not to do, in very clear language.

      Not that I expect Christians to read or pay attention to the bible. Who has time to read that when there's football on?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Tim T

      He doesn't make a show of it....the media does you F***ing morons. Get a life and stop worrying about what the media wants to show you

      April 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • boocat

      Read Matthew 6 in the NT and get back to us....

      April 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  20. carlyjanew6


    April 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Hear the truth?

      You really cant be that dumb? Everyone states they speak the truth.. well until u have a site that is "SEE the truth... then your just full os shat

      April 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
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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.