After another come-from-behind win against the Bears this weekend, Tim Tebow is all the rage on sports radio and TV, on morning shows, and lots of places where football isn’t always a topic of conversation. You can grant that each of the critics has a point. Yes, Chicago running back inexplicably ran out of bounds when the Bears were trying to run out the clock in the last two minutes of the game (my favorite Internet headline: “Jesus pushed Marion Barber out of bounds because Tim Tebow told him to“) and fumbled in OT when the Bears were in field goal position. And yes, the real hero of the game may well have been Denver kicker Matt Prater, who booted a 59 yarder to tie it at the end of regulation and a 51-yard OT game winner (and perhaps the thin Denver air that makes such kicks possible). And yes, the Broncos defense keeps them in games. All true. But Tebow still leads his team — at that point scoreless — to a touchdown and field goal with less than 2 and a half minutes to go. It’s just fun to watch. Watching a Tebow game is like watching an NBA playoff game — you really don’t have to pay attention until the last few minutes of the game.
More reporting on the Tebow-as-Christian “controversy” in the Boston Globe today. My favorite commentary is from David Silverman, the head of American Atheists (and a native of my dad’s home town of Marblehead, Mass.). Silverman complains that Tebow’s praying on the sidelines is “inappropriate. People don’t watch football to watch someone pray.” Apparently, the networks do, however, since they control the cameras and always seem to find Tebow kneeling in prayer at the end of the game.
Incidentally, I don’t know what Tebow is praying for. Is it possible that he is praying that the field goal go through the uprights? Sure, people have prayed for more frivolous things in life, and in Tim Tebow’s life, his occupation is hardly frivolous. It’s also possible he is praying for other things: acceptance of the outcome, glorification of God in all circumstances, etc. I don’t think it is up to us to second-guess the sincerity of his prayers in either event.
Silverman calls Tebow’s conduct “Christian shtick” (I need a referee’s call here: Are atheists allowed to speak Yiddish?), and asks what happens if Denver beats the New England Patriots this coming weekend: “Are they supposed to think that God somehow is a Broncos fan? He’s not. That’s ridiculous.” So Silverman acknowledges that God exists, which I think may put his standing as the head of American Atheists in some doubt. Silverman is certain, however, that that God doesn’t cheer for Denver, or at least, against Tom Brady? He is probably right — since everyone knows God is a Saints fan. But how can we be so sure?