University of Southern California

Center for Religion & Civic Culture

Does God believe in Tim Tebow?

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Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has always been very open about his Christian faith, but after leading the team in recent comeback wins for the Broncos and a rise to the top of their division, people are wondering: Is God on Tim Tebow's side as well?

Earlier in the fall, Tebow's habit of praying on the field became a verb - "Tebowing" - and an internet meme sensation. It's not the first time the Heisman Trophy winner has mixed religion and football. While playing at the University of Florida, where he won two national championships, Tebow used to inscribe Bible verses in his eye black paint, a practice the NCAA banned in 2010, known as the "Tebow Rule."

Now playing in the NFL, Tebow has people wondering: Should religion and sports mix so openly? If so, is God helping him and the Broncos? And most important - the Denver Broncos sit atop the AFC West with 8-5 record, winning their last six games in a row, but does Tebow even have the passing skills to be a great NFL quarterback?

  • The ABC news program Nightline aired a report last night about how Tebow has been an inspiration to people and his team, despite all the controversy.
  • Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times questioned Tebow's skill level and his mixture of religion and football. "It will not be a failure of Christianity if Tebow fails as a quarterback. I’m not sure the pro-Tebow crowd gets that," he writes.
  • ABC's morning talk show The View discussed Tebow's skill and religious beliefs during one of their "Hot Topics" sessions.
  • USA Today reported that Tebow isn't the first, nor the last athlete to display his faith on the field. "Athletes have been thanking God longer than they have been thanking mom," Reid Cherner writes.
  • The New York Times examined the controversy that has erupted around Tebow. "In the past three weeks, he has become the most discussed and most polarizing figure in sports, strange territory for a replacement player on a last-place team," the article stated in early November.
  • Fox News featured a story about different religious communities - including Jews and Muslims - in Denver's metropolitan area embracing Tebow, even if their beliefs do not line up with his.
  • Bleacher Report columnist Eric Ball sees religion as a key motivator for Tebow. "You don’t have to care about religion to be a good football player, but for this particularly player it really motivates him. Why can’t he give credit where credit is due?" he writes.
  • Former NFL star player Kurt Warner told The Arizona Republic his advice for Tebow: "The greatest impact you can have on people is never what you say, but how you live...The words can come after."
  • Pastor Wayne Hanson, who runs Summit Church in Castle Rock, CO, where Tebow's dad often speaks, told gossip website TMZ that God is actively intervening in Denver Broncos football games, because of Tebow's strong faith. "Luck isn't winning 6 games in a row. It's favor. God's favor," he told TMZ.