Let me start by saying that I am absolutely on the Tim Tebow bandwagon. I’ve been following this guy since college, and while I did agree to some extent with the many analysts who doubted his ability to be a top-flight quarterback in the NFL, I’ve always wanted to see him succeed. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that it is extremely difficult not to root for this guy. He works ridiculously hard, never criticizes his naysayers, serves his community, and…well, wins. He is the epitome of the underdog we all love so much and undoubtedly the inspiration to every Rudy out there waiting for that big moment.
Now that the Broncos have won six straight in crunch time under his leadership, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that he may be the most compelling figure in sports at the moment. Never have I seen so many tweets, articles, and blog entries about a guy who is not even close to being the best player in his sport. Even my friends who have no interest in football whatsoever turn on Sportscenter to watch Tebow highlights. With each unfathomable victory, the legend of Tebow grows. It’s been less than 24 hours since the Broncos’ improbable win over the Bears and I’ve already heard countless analysts and fans attribute Tebow’s unexplainable success to “divine intervention.” One radio announcer I was listening to this morning even went as far as to say that Tim Tebow was the sole reason he decided to start attending church. Apparently, this man was willing to believe in whatever it was that was helping Tebow win.
It is not a secret that Tebow is a devout Christian. His faith has always been at the forefront of any conversation about his abilities as a football player. It is the one thing that seems to polarize the general public about him. And while there are hundreds of athletes who get down on one knee after a touchdown or thank God after they’ve won the big game, there are few athletes who are as open and bold about their faith as Tebow. But whether you love him or hate him, you have to respect a guy who never shies away from what he believes. Especially in an industry that encourages bravado and self-glorification, Tebow’s humility is a rare gem.
But here’s the problem that Tebow presents for both Christians and non-believers. For Christians (myself included), Tebow has been somewhat of a Christ-like figure who fights against the dark forces of evil each week (if you don’t believe me, you should read some of the things people have been tweeting about him). Most of it is in good fun, but I can see how some non-Christians might take offense to the assertion that Tebow is somehow the manifestation of God’s justice on earth. Such claims turn every Broncos game into a test of God’s power and favor (a big no-no).
The biggest issue I see though is not with Christians, but rather with non-believers who may be contemplating coming to faith in Christ because of Tebow’s recent success. All this talk about divine intervention (which makes for really interesting conversation) in the media sells the misconceived notion that God helps believers achieve their earthly goals. While this may be true to some extent, it also puts unguarded observers at risk of buying into a prosperity gospel that preaches success, not Christ, to its followers. I’m sure Tebow would be the first to say that his faith isn’t a product of or a means to his success on the football field. Tebow’s relationship with Christ is the source of his identity and worth whether he loses every game the rest of the season or goes on to win the Super Bowl. My hope is that, even if Tebow does not go on to become the next Joe Montana, people would not relate his earthly accolades (or lack thereof) to his eternal ones.
All this to say, I have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for Tim Tebow. I hope he continues to be a light to a world that is now watching him extremely closely. Will I be rooting for him next week against Brady and the Pats? Of course. Will I tweet about the game afterward? Probably. If the Broncos win again in crunch time against our generation’s most iconic QB, will I overspiritualize the win by making some David and Goliath reference? I always do. Is God good whether Tebow wins or loses? Yup.