Its rare that two of my passions collide, but we have this wonderful confluence of faith and football with Tebowmania.
For those not familiar with the situation, Tim Tebow is the quarterback of the Denver Broncos, and a devout Christian. This isn’t all that unusual as many NFL players are devout Christians, but Tebow is very public and out front with his faith. He is seen on the sidelines praying before and after games, and famously before the deciding kick of his first start this season. As the team lined up for a possible game winning field goal at the conclusion of the game, Tebow took a knee and closed his eyes. People assumed he was praying. The kick was good, Tebow’s team won and now that pose is called Tebowing. I think he just didn’t want to watch and see if the kick was good, but its taken on a life of its own. There is even a web site called Tebowing where people can post pictures of themselves well tebowing. It’s become a cultural phenomena.
Tebow is a polarizing person because of the way he plays football, and because of how out front he is with his faith. He plays the quarterback position more like a high school, or college quarterback and seems to lack some of the skills necessary to be successful at the NFL level. Yet he is winning game which is the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong in the NFL.
Denver was 1-4 without him and 4-1 with him.
He’s also out front with his faith mentioning it off the top of every interview and talking about his humanitarian efforts, the latest of which is building a hospital for orphans in the Philippines. Being outwardly Christian will always rub some people the wrong way.
I don’t know if Tebow can sustain this success on the football field, and looking at it from a strictly football standpoint, more credit should go to the Denver defense for keeping the team close in game so Tim could work his late gamer heroics. But I don’t have a problem with Denver giving him an extended audition to see just how far he can take them. I don’t have a problem with Tebow being out front with his faith, as long as it’s genuine.
There is a line in The Last Crusade where Indiana Jones is asked if he is seeking the Holy Grail for Christ’s glory or his own. I would ask the same of Tebow. Are you out front with your faith for Christ’s glory or your own? Every indication is that he is genuine and seeking Christ’s glory.
No, the people I have an issue with are those who are trying to connect Tebows success on the football field with his faith. These individuals have put forth the idea that Tebow’s success is God ‘showing himself strong’ on Tebow’s behalf. I find this incredibly unlikely. I don’t think God is really all that concerned with the outcome of a football game. As I said at the beginning of my post, there are devout Christians throughout the NFL, both on the Denver Broncos, but also on the teams the Broncos have defeated. Why would God show himself strong on this one players behalf and not all the rest.
Let me give you an example from Tebows last game, against the New York Jets on national television. Near the end of the game, Tebow’s team is losing, but they have the ball. The Jets decided to blitz, which is a common defensive strategy of sending more than 4 players after the quarterback.The Jet safety took a poor angle, leaving the outside lane open. Tebow saw the opening, evaded the safety and scored the winning touchdown.
We have a decision by the Jets coach, a decision by the Jets player, and a great use of natural atheletic ability by Tebow. Did God reach down and move Tebow past the defense? I doubt it. What was God doing during the play? Probably watching. When did He applaud? Probably during the postgame interview when Tebow gave the glory and thanks to His son.
Tebow has remarkable, God given talent, and tries to show his thankfulness for that talent by openly acknowledging his God. I really don’t think it goes much beyond that.