With each passing week, the question rings louder.
Each time Denver’s second-year quarterback rolls up his sleeves, tightens his cleats and steers his Broncos to yet another improbable win, the clamor builds.
“Is Tim Tebow for real?!”
After six consecutive Denver wins, more people than ever believe the answer is “yes.”
More and more, that belief is expressed through irony. You’ve probably seen the NFL analyst remixes and the celebratory Tebowing in public. If Denver (8-5) beats New England (10-3) on Sunday afternoon, ironic praise will surely pour forth from the masses at historic levels.
And while so many sports fans focus on the Tebow’s outward expressions – the kneeling, the virginity, the gee-whiz vocabulary – Tebow himself seems zeroed in on winning two things – games and souls. For Tebow, achieving the former goal matters only so far as it expands his platform for his main evangelical mission.
After the Broncos beat the Bears on Dec. 12, linebacker Wesley Woodyard told the Denver Post that his quarterback had been giving just about the most reassuring motivational speech possible: “Tebow came to me and said, ‘Don’t worry about a thing,’ because God has spoken has spoken to him.'”
When discussing the Bronos secret to success, Tebow’s pastor was a little more blunt. “God favors Tim for all his hard work,” Wayne Henson told ESPN.com’s Rick Reilly.
It’s seems the question of whether Tebow can succeed as an NFL quarterback has been around for ages. The Broncos’ stunning recent success, however, pushes a truly ancient issue to the forefront: Is there a God who interacts with humans? If so, has that God rewarded Tebow’s faith with football success?
I’m no theologian, but my sports saavy buddy Steve Sullivan graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and has been ordained as Baptist minister. Until the Bears game, Sullivan, who is a self-proclaimed progressive, chalked off much of Tebow’s success to luck. Surely, God’s concerned with more serious stuff than a quarterback’s prayers, he reasoned.