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Another Victory Keeps Tebow In The Spotlight

Even GOP Candidates Court Broncos' QB, But He Says He's Declined The Offers

DENVER (AP) – He kneels in prayer at times when many players would be pounding their chest, and is winning with a style the experts insist cannot work for long.

Tim Tebow‘s formula for success and fame is not typical for the NFL. So, is it a football miracle? Or the perfect blend of luck, timing and big plays? That’s the debate that makes the tale of the Denver Broncos quarterback one of the most compelling stories in America these days.

Hardly anyone stands on neutral ground when it comes to the purveyor of this unorthodox mix of throwing mechanics, big-time sports and devout religion, a 24-year-old Christian who is the subject of comedy skits on Saturday nights and serious sermons on Sunday mornings.

But what most people will agree on is that it’s hard to take your eyes off Tebow these days – a man who unapologetically uses football to take his message beyond the field while also taking his team on an unexpected ride through the playoffs.

“I’m just very thankful for the platform that God has given me, and the opportunity to be a quarterback for the Denver Broncos – what a great organization,” Tebow said after his latest shocker – an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime Sunday to beat Pittsburgh 29-23 in the wild-card playoffs.

The play, according to Twitter, spawned a record 9,420 tweets per second.

Not lost in that flurry was that Tebow threw for 316 yards and set an NFL playoff record by averaging 31.6 yards. That’s “316,” as in John 3:16, one of the most-often cited Bible passages for Christians, the most widely searched item on Google for much of Sunday night into Monday, and the message Tebow used to stencil into the eyeblack he wore when he played college ball at Florida.

Not that referencing the Bible or thanking God is anything new in sports. After NFL games for years, a small group of athletes gather around midfield, kneel, hold hands and pray. That devotion has been largely ignored or even criticized by media and fans.

“The thing with Tebow is that he seems more genuinely religious than most athletes, who seem to be religious to win games,” said Clifford Putney, author of the book “Muscular Christianity: Manhood and Sports in Protestant America, 1880-1920.”

That might help explain why Tebow’s gestures are not being overlooked, but part of an ever-growing sensation. It started building when he won the Heisman Trophy and two national titles at Florida, though he was steeped in strong religion well before that – born in the Philippines to missionary parents.

More recently, he introduced mass culture to the art of “Tebowing” – kneeling on one knee, elbow perched on the other, fist to forehead – while chaos is erupting around him. The practice now has its own website, with pictures of people Tebowing in a research lab, in front of the Sydney Opera House, in front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, etc.

Entertaining as all that has been, it has made fans and the media rethink the way they judge and cover their sports stars. Reporting that a player was including the Lord in his postgame analysis has long been widely thought of as trite and inappropriate, something to simply skip over when typing in the quotes.

Tebow’s five fourth-quarter comebacks and his four overtime victories – each more improbable than the last – and his steady, genuine, yet somehow unassuming insistence on bringing God into the conversation has forced an uncomfortable question upon those who want to make it only about what happens between the lines.

Does God really care about football?

“Not one whit,” said Joe Price, a professor in the religious studies department at Whittier College. “But does God care about people who play football? You betcha.”

In a sports season filled with unsavory stories – NFL and NBA labor wars, child sex abuse scandals at Penn State and Syracuse, and a baseball MVP accused of using steroids – Tebow is seen by many as a sports star who really could be a role model, contrary to what Charles Barkley or anyone else might say.

136612048 8 Another Victory Keeps Tebow In The Spotlight

Tim Tebow receives high fives from fans after the Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 8, 2012, in Denver. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

But the Tebow angst still exists, in large part because there is seemingly no way to analyze what he does on a football field without religion seeping into at least some part of that analysis.

Opine about his unorthodox throwing motion – widely derided by scouts and coaches and seemingly more suited for tossing a boomerang than a football – and the quick assumption becomes that you might not like him because of his religious beliefs.

Defend him as a winner who cares less about conventionality and depends more on moxie than mechanics – well, then you must be drinking the Kool-Aid, a Tebow fan because you’re in line with his Christian beliefs.

PHOTO GALLERY: Broncos 29, Steelers 23

“I still have doubts about him as a long-term answer, as I think most reasonable people do,” said radio host Sandy Clough, who has been manning Denver’s sports talk shows for more than 30 years. “Does one game, if he plays well, not only invalidate his play from the other (bad) games but anything anyone’s ever said about it? Well, no it doesn’t. It’s all part of the mix. It’s a fascinating mix. He’s the toughest player I’ve ever had to analyze, because there are all these extraneous factors you have to bring in.”

Sensing the excitement and loving his message, Tebow is also being courted by Republican presidential candidates. The quarterback recently told The Associated Press he’s been asked by more than one of the contenders for his support. He wouldn’t name names, but did say he’d declined the offer.

“I think you have to have so much trust in who you support, just from product endorsements to endorsing a candidate because if that person or company does something (bad), it reflects on you,” said Tebow, who’s a pitchman for Nike, Jockey and FRS energy drink.

Tebow has, however, placed himself in the political realm before – two Super Bowls ago when he starred in a Focus on the Family commercial with his mother sharing the story of how she gave birth to him in the Philippines in 1987 after spurning a doctor’s advice to have an abortion for medical reasons. After being criticized for that ad, he didn’t do an encore and instead tries to toe the line of showing his religion without shoving it down people’s throats.

That hasn’t stopped people from mocking him – and worse.

After Tebow was particularly bad in an ugly loss to Buffalo on Dec. 24, comedian and talk show host Bill Maher sent out a tweet that basked in the QB’s misfortune, blaming Jesus for the loss. “And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler `Hey, Buffalo’s killing them,'” Maher tweeted.

Maher, in turn, was roundly ripped for the post.

Less toxic was the recent skit on “Saturday Night Live,” where “Jesus” materializes in the locker room with an actor portraying Tebow, admits he is pulling some strings during these Bronco games, then after being told the New England Patriots are next on the schedule, suggests Tebow substitute his playbook, “the holy Bible,” for one with some Xs and Os.

The “SNL” Jesus also concedes that he, personally, prays to the Broncos place-kicker, Matt Prater, whose excellence has defined what the Tebow sensation has been about for most of this season: a bunch of teammates, motivated by a less-than-perfect leader who never gives up, coming together and picking each other up when the going gets tough.

A great story line that has held most of the year.

The twist on Sunday, though, was that for the first time this season, it could reasonably be argued that Tebow was a one-man show. In the win over Pittsburgh, he completed five passes of 30 yards or more. And with his defense struggling, he threw a perfect strike for the game-winner to receiver Demaryius Thomas, who didn’t have to change his stride and, thus, ran untouched into the end zone.

“He was the same Tim, calm and collected,” Thomas said. “He took it one play at a time and was in the huddle and said, `It’s either we win or we go home.'”

By EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • TGC

    Here’s an idea…maybe, just maybe….all the “experts” don’t really know what the hell they are talking about! Maybe, Tebow is developing in a fine NFL QB. Maybe the experts are wrong….as usual. As for the hatred, roaches never like to have the light turned on….just by living the life he has chosen to live, Tebow has turned the light on a lot of roaches lives, and they don’t like it one bit.

    • REP84

      Yeah baby, you got it right for sure!

    • NYS Parkie

      I don’t know what his skill set is. I like him for his honest and civil ways. That he believes in a higher being, as I do, is just a cherry on top. This is the type of man one wants his kids to follow. Not some loud mouth flamboyant good off that has sired 5 kids with as many women.

      • Steve M.

        I agree!

    • Diff

      TGC, you are a genius. THe experts told us integration would help our kids learn.Now black and white kids are both stupider than ever. Experts tell us gays have a legit lifestyle but they die on average at 44. Experts tell us Lady Googoo and Madonna are stars but they look like a walking VD commercial. Experts tell us Islam is peaceful, that southern whites are bigots, that abortion is freedom to women, etc…..etc…

    • TX Patriot

      He secretly endorses the integrity and honesty of the Statesman, Ron Paul, but he’s too smart to openly say it.
      Can you imagine how they would jump on him for that honesty?

    • Erin Monday

      Maybe the media feels Michael Vick is a better role model or something. Who knows, with them.

    • steve

      Also, people don’t like the fact he is not as talented as some but, still gets great results. Why don’t they like him for this reason? Because they are jealous and they don’t like the fact that if you work hard enough and believe, sometimes great things can happen. Which shows us all that mediocrity can be improved if you put your heart into it. Tom Brady is another example. Who happens to be my favorite. If Tebow wins I hope he wins it all. Just to prove my point. Hard work and positive thoughts bring positive results no matter how much talent you have been given.

      • John 3:17

        “Not one whit,” said Joe Price, a professor in the religious studies department at Whittier College. “But does God care about people who play football? You betcha.”

        Remember this. John 3:16 is Tebow’s favorite verse. But Luke 1:37 says Nothis is impossible with God. And I’m proud Tim always gives Jesus Christ and his teammates the credit first, and in that order. Get’em Tim

    • Mireya Ayala

      For once, I wish that the media would realize that NO ONE is saying that God is necessarily interested in the football game, but that some of the players — like Tim Tebow — are interested in God.

      • Adam Smith

        Personally I don’t know if there is a God or not. Nobody does. But I do admire this young man whose values are strong, humane, and dedicated to being as excellent as he can be and to using his strength to take care of others who are less fortunate. I am not a Christian. But I find the anti-Christian bigots who hate Tebow because of his very humanity and authenticity to be a tad pathetic.

      • steve

        Remember this too. Not any person king, pope, or president has more knowledge than you on God because of their title. Does God really care about football?

        “Not one whit,” said Joe Price, a professor in the religious studies department at Whittier College

      • Jack Daniel


      • steve

        God might like football. Why would He not. Does He help make plays….well you can never answer this question. But, I would think He loves anything we figure out for the good of man. Remember He loves you…so why not?

    • Youngblood85

      The haters ain’t seen nothing yet! Keep rockin’ Tebow!

    • Right2Liberty

      You hit the nail on the head. People hate Tebow because the way he lives his life convicts them. Through no fault of TEBOW’S, he makes them feel bad about themselves and they don’t like that. As a Christian, I should be living MY life like Tebow does. He’s an inspiration to me to walk the walk. I have loved this kid since he played at Florida. He’s a WINNER. On and off the field. There have been (and are) plenty of QB’s in the NFL who have unorthodox throwing motions and they’ve done just fine. Tebow’s only going to get better and better the more experience he gets and especially with the benefit of an off-season of training and promised personal tutoring from John Elway himself. Everybody needs to look out next year. The Broncos will be a dominating force in the NFL. And Tebow will have a long and storied NFL career. Regardless of what the “experts” and haters say. GO BRONCOS!

      • Mikey

        The criticism of Tebow is idiotic. He’s a winner. I don’t care what position he plays, you want him on your team. I’m not a Bronco fan, but I can’t wait to watch their next game.

      • Eric B

        Well said. Tebow INSPIRES people. He makes Christians want to be better Christians. He’s been what I’ve been wishing for in the sports spotlight for a long time. A man who realizes that he has a rare opportunity to use his popularity to bring glory to God and be a proper role model for children and adults alike. Light unto the world and salt of the earth. He’s refreshing. It’s like he’s quitely saying to the country and world “Hey guys, we’re out here too. It’s not all bad.”

      • Shane Horner

        “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18). In other words, the closer you walk with Jesus (Christianity at its core), the more the world will hate on you fo the very reason Right 2Liberty stated; conviction. We are all cut from the same cloth, God, thus we all know the difference between right and wrong. Culture is so thick with that which is wrong, so when someone like Tebow comes along and sets a Christlike example, everyone gets defensive. I know because I used to be on the defensive. As for Bronco’s football…WOOHOO!!!

    • lukuj

      Right on! I’m glad he is not endorsing anyone. It would be just one more thing about which he would be criticized and hounded, and some of those hateful people would not support the candidate just because Tebow did. I told my religion class kids on Sunday that Tebow was a person who was suffering without c omplaint a type of modern day relgious persecution, though after Sunday some of those bad-mouthing him may quiet down a bit. Tebow doesn’t care what they say. God doesn’t care what they say. I don’t care what they say. It is blessing to have another excellent role model for kids in the NFL. There are too few as far as I can tell.

  • seanoairborne

    I’m a Texan fan….but,GO,TEBOW,GO!!

    • Steve

      I’m a Steeler fan and I’m rooting for Tim Tebow!! There are things more important than football.

      • steve


      • Sjrago

        I am a N.Y. Giants fan I love my Team BUT GO TEBOW GO

    • lukuj

      I’m a Packer fan, but I love Tebow and hope he continues to be successful – until he plays the Packers, that is!

      • Chris

        Saints fan rooting for Tebow until they face the Saints in the SuperBowl!

    • Kevin Leo Rohr

      I don’t even watch football, but I watch Tebow!

  • danthefan

    there’s a big difference in being a christian and being religious. anyone can be religious, only those accepting jesus as lord and savior can be christians. muslims, scientology, budahism, satan worship, these are some of the religions of the world.

    • Renee Gratza

      Exactly! Its not a “religious thing” it is a relationship with the one & only Jesus Christ : )

  • Blonde Gator

    Tebow wore John 3:16 during his second appearance in the BCS Bowl game. It became the most googled term on the internet.

    As a Gator, I’ve been a fan of Tim’s (Superman wears Tebow shorts) forever. And I can assure you that if the management will get out of his face about his mechanics, blah, blah, blah, and just let Tim be Tim….the results will continue to be spectacular. He’s the hardest worker you’ll ever see, whether it’s watching film or preparing himself physically to knock defenders down.

    Best of everything to you Denver fans, enjoy it while you’ve got it!

    • Chris Murphy

      Good points. His passing style might be unconventional (but that is a bit of an exaggeration as well), but the ball can travel to point A to point B.

      I think that Tebow was given the reigns of throwing the ball on Sunday. He was going against the #1 defense (including the #1 PASSING DEFENSE).

      And what happened?

      He threw the deep pass, short pass and 20 yard play action pass very effectively. In addition, this allowed him to run for another 50 yards too.

      I hope that they let him do the same against New England. They had that game in the bag last time…until the third quarter.

      One thing is for sure: Tim Tebow caused me to become a Broncos fan! I love what the ENTIRE team has done of the field this season!

  • Edgar

    I’m a Patriots fan, but on Saturday nite I rooting for Tim.

    • TomPF

      Me too!

    • Nayeli

      Cowboys fan here: I am cheering for Tim Tebow as well!

      • Toozie

        Cowboy and Steelers fan… a Broncos fan! Go…..TEBOW’S and Broncos!! Nice to have a player who loves God, isn’t involved in shooting anybody or beating his wife or girlfriens, isn’t boisterous or think too highly of himself, not using alcohol or illegal drugs. Just a good clean God-fearing man! Thank God!

  • Wally

    I’ve always despised the Denver Broncos but now I’m a fan thanks to TT! GB2

    • Wally

      For the uninitiated “GB2” (God Bless & Go Broncos) is Tim Tebow’s signature sign off on Facebook . . .

  • Arj

    GaLO-reee, I wonder who JAYsuhz wants TBow to endorse?

    • R2D2 Manning

      @ Arj:

      …um, maybe the Sylvan Learning Center? After all, if you can’t spell names like “Tebow” and “Jesus” correctly, then maybe Tebow’s endorsement will encourage you to seek some assistance.

  • Rupert Pupkin

    When I look at Tim Tebow’s performance on the field, I see Steve Young. Who among you is going to argue that Steve Young didn’t have a “formula for long term success”?

    • Scott

      I like Tebow, but comparing him to Steve Young? The Hall of Fame QB? Slow down a bit please.

      • Bobby Boucher

        I agree with Ruppert.

        Have you ever seen Steve Young during his first few years in the USFL and at Tampa Bay?

        Tim Tebow has better stats and a much better record over 14 games. It took a while for Steve Young to mature into the player that we came to admire during the 1990s.

        Tim Tebow was thrown into the fray for three games during his first season and 11 games this season. He has done well despite not practicing with the first string offense until the 6th game of the season.

      • Kenny West

        I commented that I think TT looks a lot like Steve Young below. Steve patiently played backup behind a QB at San Fran with a totally different style for years – Joe Montana. How many times did we hear “Young will never replace Montana,” or he’s “unpolished,” etc? The how many times after Joe moved on did we hear “Young to Rice – Touchdown!” TT is off to a much faster start than Steve Young – As Howard used to say, “He could go all the way.”

  • Gary

    What Jesus is interested in is people coming to Him. Tim Tebow is bringing people to Him by what he is doing on the field. Simply AWESOME!!!. Thank you Jesus and the Holy Spirit you in dwell in us.

  • james

    Why do you call Bill Maher a comedian? Has he ever said anything that was really funny?

    • Sjrago

      Bill Maher is not a comedian,

      he is the court jester,

      nobody is laughing with him they are laughing at him,

      All he is, is a fool on TV

    • Bobby Boucher

      Bill Maher is just a jerk. His comedy is limited to making fun of anyone who doesn’t agree with his liberal fanaticism and anti-religious extremism.

      Only a jerk would stoop so low as to make an Adolf Hitler/Satan joke about a guy because of his sincere religious faith.

  • Joe

    “So, is it a football miracle? Or the perfect blend of luck, timing and big plays?”

    First, allow me to correct your poor grammar: “So, is it a football miracle, or the perfect blend of luck, timing, and big plays?”

    Second, allow me to suggest that Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos may be very talented.

  • Kenny West

    The so-called “experts” who say this “cannot work for long” apparently never saw Steve Young of the 90s SF 49ers play. His style is almost identical – a strong running back playing quarterback, always a threat to run, able to turn a busted play into big yardage. Plus the kid is just plain good at it – and he will only get better,

    He’s bringing back some excitement and fun to what has become a rather dull game at times. His religion is his business – It;s nice to see a good kid make it big,

  • len

    i loathe football, but like Tebow. Let the man be who he is without over analyzing it.

    • Apachecav

      Len I am with you I don’t just dislike football I don’t just hate foot ball, I loathe Football…. But Tim Tebow I like, Stand strong Tim, Stand Strong!

  • ross norris

    What a great debate about how we believe and who we believe in. This young man has character and is demonstrating a quality not seen much in our society. I beleive you win or lose as a team. Tebow is the QB, but without a team he could not succeed. I like what he does off the field as well. His concern for children is stellar. He causes me to ask myself, am i doing all i can do to demonstrate my love for my Saviour?

  • manlyva

    What people don’t realize is that Tim gives thanks whether he is successful or unsuccessful…which is a consistent trait of his faith. Reporters only report what they want, politicians tell you one thing and then do another, Tim is what is right in America. I’m not saying he isn’t without fault, his faith tells him he is a “sinner”, but he strives to become better and gives his all when it comes to the task at hand. Luck? Big Plays? Devine guidance? No…But his relationship with God is obvious, talking to him is only natural. Leave it alone and let the man do his thing!

  • lukuj

    Just reading these comments shows us how this young man has brought people together, even dedicated fans of other teams. That alone is a positive thing he has accomplished and something of which God would approve.

    • Justme

      Well said, Lukuj!

    • Carol

      I agree completely he has brought people together, unlike Obama the great divider.

    • Eric B

      Beautiful acknowledgement. So indicitive of Christ and his purpose. Jesus is going to bring one of two reactions: 1) foaming rabid anger and disgust. 2)honor and brotherhood. There’s no in between. Only Jesus causes this kind of anomoly.

  • happyday

    Why not take him for what he is: a fine young man who happens to believe in God Stop all the analysis and let his Christianity go for what it is…..him! Back off and let the game go forward.


    Your job Tebow is to get your team as far as it can go and win a Super Bowl, when you have done that then as a american citizen take your chances and make your dream life miserable by going on about politick, your choice.

    You would be smart to do as you are and just play ball.

  • R. Crawford

    Go Timmy Go!!!

  • Casey Storm

    The Bible says darkness does not understand light. Maybe God does not care about football, but He does care about people getting to know Jesus and Tebow’s platform strengthens every time he wins. Tebow reflects the light (Jesus) and it is not surprising that many don’t understand.

    Tebow has publicly stated that his first priority in life is NOT football. Maybe God cares about football now because He knows that the more notoriety Tebow gains, his influence on the Kingdom of God only increases.

    • JoeB

      “Not lost in that flurry was that Tebow threw for 316 yards and set an NFL playoff record by averaging 31.6 yards. That’s “316,” as in John 3:16, one of the most-often cited Bible passages for Christians, the most widely searched item on Google for much of Sunday night into Monday,”

      Would there be that many searches on “John 3:16” if Tebow had lost???

      • G Scott

        Also, it is notable that Pittsburgh had the ball officially for:

        Time of Possession 31:06

  • John Schuh

    Tebow reminds me of Lou Gehrig as an athlete. Lou strong, with a good batting eye, who worked very,very hard to learn his first base position. He also adjusted his swinging style to raise his batting average. No power hitter has ever hit most consistently than Gehrig. Tebow has that same work ethic. If he gets to stay the course, he will get better technically. Another thing he seems to share with Gehrig. He is a hard man to bring down, and fierce competitor.

  • Dave

    A while ago, Bill Cosby dismissed the critics by comparing Tebes to Joe Kapp. I’ll listen to the Cos.

    • Dave

  • Nate

    Hey I’m a 50 yr old Chiefs fan but cheering on Denver and TEBOW all the way!!! Also my 16 year old daughter sees a shining example of a dedicated christian guy. And no they dont all have to be pro athletes, just true to Christ.
    I do hope they go all the way!!!!!!!
    316 very appropo!

  • Plausible Paul

    I’m a Bears fan but did not mind losing to Tim Tebow. I’m a fan of TimTebow. Wish him and the Broncos the best of luck. We need more Tim Tebow’s in sports and in the world.

  • OldAg95

    Lost in most commentary (but not to Tebow) is that what has developed with Tim is highlighted numerous times throughout the Bible when God uses ordinary men to accomplish extraordinary things defying the “logic or expectations” of man so that through it He will be glorified. Moses (murderer, afraid to speak in public), David (adulterer, murderer, etc), Peter (hothead), fishermen, tax collectors, etc.

    What is really funny is that the focus on the New Testament (Tebow) has taken the focus off the Old Testament (the Defense). OG can’t hold a candle to OT and the group led by Dennis Allen, Von Miller, etc (biased as I am an Aggie) is a prime example of Old Testament vengeance, aggression, and domination as inspiring as the New Testament side of the ball!

    Actually, what you have with the team is the perfect combination of the judgement of the Old Testament combined with the inspiration and hope of the New Testament. And that makes for some exciting storylines.

    Disclosure: No, Tim isn’t a messiah and the professor said it best, God doesn’t care about football, but he dang sure cares about all of those that play it.

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