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The Tebow Manamana

English: Tim Tebow, a player on the Denver Bro...

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Anyone who pays any kind of attention what so ever to football (or religion) is aware of Tebow mania. The legend of Tebow began at Florida University, where he had a stellar college career that included a national championship. As a second year pro, he took over as quarterback of the Denver Broncos early in the year, and lead them to 6 straight wins, a playoff birth, and an amazing overtime victory over the Steelers in the first round. He has become a household name in a relatively short period of time.

With Tebow mania comes much praise as well as criticism of the man. People either love him or hate him. Just look at any comment thread that follows one of the gazillion articles about him. The most popular and most ridiculous debate about the man is his faith. It’s no secret that the man is a devout christian. However, he doesn’t necessarily flaunt it anymore than any other religious athlete; in fact, other than giving thanks to the invisible sky wizard after making a play (the phenomena of Tebowing), his interviews tend to focus on football. Unlike former QB Jon Kitna, who spewed his faith forth from underneath his crucifix baseball hats at every opportunity, Tebow really does not push his faith into our faces.

In reality, it’s the overzealous christians in our society who make his faith an issue, not Tebow. To listen to them, one would think that Jesus is his personal Quarterback coach. They blather on about how christ made him the player he is today, rather than acknowledge that his success came from Tebow himself. The bottom line is that Tebow is a dynamic leader, a quick study of the game, and a tireless worker at his craft. He was born to be a football player. The fact that he is a devout christian is irrelevant to his success; It was he who made himself what he is today.

The Tebow phenomena is indicative of one of the core problems that I have with religion. There is a major tendency for most christians, muslims, etc, to attribute the randomness of living to god. There is a disturbing tendency for the deeply religious to throw one’s hands in the air while screeching “GOD, MY LIFE IS IN YOUR HANDS” and letting an imaginary being take control of their lives, rather than taking responsibility for their own actions, and doing what can be done to have a good life. While Tebow may give props to god for some help, I’m betting he understands that he’s the one responsible for his success.

Love Tim Tebow, or hate Tim Tebow; it doesn’t really matter to me. My only wish is that we leave his faith out of it when debates about him crop up. I would rather talk about whether or not he can sustain his success on the field(which I think he can). His religion is his business, not ours.

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  1. carvingoutavoice
    January 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Great article, Hat. You made me realize that I have a bias against him that’s poorly placed. You know there are few things I can tolerate less than a proselytizer and the very mention of Tebow garners a very negative reaction from me for just this reason. But you’re right; it’s not Tebow himself that tends to make a big deal about his faith; it’s everyone around him, from the media to his Christian fans.

    I’ve always found it ironic that my all-time favorite football player, Troy Polamalu, is a deeply faithful Christian. I found it easy to reconcile this about him because while he does thank God a lot, he doesn’t push his religion on others nor does he have a “holier than thou” sort of attitude. In fact, he’s one of the most humble athletes and people I think I’ve ever seen. He also pays his success forward and works tirelessly toward making the world a better place in many non-faith-based ways. I respect his spirituality and the way he uses it to keep himself real and down to earth.

    Other Christians have much to learn from such men. I hope they’re taking notes.

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    • January 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      Thank you love 🙂 Like you, I had an extreme Tebow bias because of his beliefs (his part in the dismantling of our beloved Buckeyes in the BCS title game didn’t help), and like you, it took me a long time to figure out that it was the media and christian zealotry that was using Tebow to shove their agenda down our throats. His actions are no different than any other christian athlete, with the exception of Jon Kitna or athletes like Kitna.

      If there is to be conversation about a Tebow or Polamalu in sports, then let’s leave the conversation to what they bring to the game. If there is to be conversation about their faith, let’s leave that to the proselytizers on the 700 Club, or the Republican Party 😉

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  2. January 14, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Regarding Kitna, I believe the NFL stopped him from wearing the hat, but I believe it was because he wasn’t wearing NFL marketing.

    Back to Tebow, I wonder if he would have gotten so much attention if the Broncos didn’t go on a winning streak?

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    • January 14, 2012 at 11:16 am

      I think he would have. There was so much publicity about him coming into the NFL to begin with, that his failure would have been equally as publicized as his success.

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  3. January 14, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Great article. I was admiring your writing skills more than anything. I understand your wanting to separate his religious beliefs from his work. However, I think his belief in God throws gasoline on his competitive fire. I guess the typical response would be, “Well whatever works, whether it’s God or Red Bull.” 🙂 I definitely understand the “God helps those who help themselves mentality.” Having done plenty of swimming in the mainstream American Christian culture I do confess having been naive and irresponsible and hiding behind my beliefs to avoid reality. Tebow seems to use his beliefs to propel himself. Just a thought. Thanks Hat.

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  4. January 14, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Thanks Tim. I would agree that his faith does tend to fuel his competitive fire. However, I also think that the media and hard core christians make more out of it than he does, and that’s a shame. He’s a devout christian, we get that already. Now leave the guy to his beliefs, and focus on how remarkable of an athlete he is. It’s sports, not the Hour of Power for crying out loud.

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