Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tebow, again

I was watching the pregame chatter before the Monday Night Football game. It was Boomer and Key, CC, Coach and TJ -the ESPN lineup of former players who comment on the games. I thought I was at a revival meeting. They were all believers - in Tebow. Tebow the football phenom who has led his team, the Denver Broncos, to a 7-1 mark since he took over as quarterback. He has turned the ESPN commentators from agnostics to believers in that same time, too. It seems he has converted most of his critics into his fans. Those who were saying he had no chance of making it as an NFL QB are now singing his praises. This past weekend when Denver was down by ten points in the last minutes of the game there seemed no chance Tebow could pull this one out. Even after he drove his team down to the Bears goal line and then threw a touchdown pass into the end zone, there still seemed like he had no chance to win it. Chicago had the ball with under a minute left! All they had to do was run the game clock down to zero and they had it won. But then the improbable happened. Their veteran running back ran out of bounds stopping the clock. With 46 seconds left which in the NFL is a lot of time. Tebow took over. A couple plays later Denver was around midfield - 50 some yards away. They sent their field goal kicker out - a guy named Praeter (no kidding pronounced like Pray to) and he nailed a 59 yard field goal forcing overtime. Then in overtime the same Bear running back who ran out of bounds fumbles! And the same field goal kicker kicks a 51 yard field goal! Tebow wins again! Actually, Denver got the credit for the win. But the way Denver won had people saying things like it was miraculous. And Tebow's fame grew in stature with FOX Sports and ESPN, and others.

While the sports commentators are tripping over their tongues saying Tebow's miraculous run has a lot to do with his fervent faith (not just faith but fervent faith), at the same time, they want to say his faith is not the reason for his winning streak. What is the reason? Well, it's his leadership, his skill set, his belief in himself and .... his fervent faith. While Tebow does not downplay the importance of his faith, he is clear that God is not picking winners and that football is a team game so it is a team effort not just one player. Yet, others are not so sure. Even his own pastor was quoted as saying this week that Tebow is enjoying the special favor of God rewarding him for fervent faith.

Tebow is a good football player, maybe a great one even. He has only played 11 professional games so he has a tiny body of work,as they say, to make a judgment. But, he was a winner everywhere else he has played. Florida won a lot of games while he was their QB and he won the Heisman as the best college player in the land. So he knows how to win football games. He has won lots in a row before. He has always been a team player. There have been other great athletes who were Christians with a fervent faith. Reggie White, Kurt Warner (a pretty fair QB in his day) to name two. Bobby Richardson was an outspoken Christian player with the baseball Yankees in the Mantle era. All these players enjoyed great success. They played on great teams. They also knew great failure on the field, too. They didn't win every game. They had losing streaks. They made mistakes and had bad days on the field. Tebow will too. He is on a great run now. It will come to an end (perhaps this week when they play Tom Brady and the Patriots) sometime. He will lose some, too. He may be the reason for the loss. He will hear his critics loud and clear again. Faith does not depend on wins and losses.