Are Christian Calls for Tim Tebow to Play Football Hurting His Team?

Tim Tebow used to send Biblical messages via his eyes when he played for the University of Florida:

tebow

Now, he’s a third string quarterback for the Denver Broncos, behind Kyle Orton (who’s starting) and Brady Quinn (#2). You could arguably place him #4 behind practice squad quarterback Adam Weber, too.

Fans — mostly Christian ones, I presume — are not taking that lightly.

Gregg Doyel at CBSSports.com explains:

Tim Tebow is a chemistry killer, a cancer, on an NFL team. And it’s not his fault. Honest to God, it’s not.

But it’s the truth. Tim Tebow on your football team is a killer, something that goes way beyond distraction and shifts into disruption, or even destruction.

They love him because he’s Tebow. The All-American boy. The Christian. The WASPiest WASP in this great big WASP nest we call America.

And because they love him in Denver, they hate Kyle Orton. They boo Orton even as he’s throwing for 304 yards — yes, he had a bad fumble — but not just because Denver is losing. They boo Orton because he’s not Tim Tebow.

Tebow’s fans want him to play in the game… despite the fact that he’s not the best quarterback on the team. He’s not even the second best quarterback on the team. But, while Doyel never says this outright, the Jesus People would rather have their team lose with a Proud Christian at the helm than win with anybody else.

Recently, some fans even bought two billboards worth $10,000 pleading that the Broncos let Tebow play. The actual ad isn’t available yet, but ESPN posted this mockup of what it might look like:

They basically want to give Orton one more chance this weekend. If he screws up, though, they want Tebow to replace him. Which, as a sports fan, makes no sense whatsoever. (For what it’s worth, Tebow dismissed the billboard, telling fans to give their money to charity instead.)

Doyel doesn’t seem to care one way or the other about Tebow’s faith — but he implores Denver fans to understand the chaos they’re causing:

Do you know anything about football, Broncos fans?

Apparently not, and you know even less about human nature, because all of this Tebow talk is killing your team. You have Orton being quoted during preseason that he doesn’t care what the fans think, a sensible train of thought for an unappreciated quarterback but a stupid thing to say for public consumption. You have coach John Fox being quoted this week that he didn’t hear the fans clamoring for Tebow on Monday, and even going a step farther and saying the atmosphere was the best he’d ever seen in his 23 years as an NFL coach. That was a blatant lie, one I can’t believe Fox told with a straight face, but he’s playing to his audience. He knows Broncos fans can’t handle or even digest the truth. They want to be lied to, whether it’s Fox telling them they were great on Monday or whether it’s their own heart telling them Tim Tebow would help the team win games.

He wouldn’t, or he’d be starting over Kyle Orton. Don’t you get that, Denver fans? As bad as Kyle Orton may be, as bad as Brady Quinn definitely is, Tim Tebow is worse.

But still they’re clamoring for him in Denver, blind to the fact that they aren’t wreaking change. They are wreaking destruction.

Somehow, I think this mindset also explains how George W. Bush got elected…

(Thanks to Alex for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Charlotte/100001257871259 Jim Charlotte

    I prefer this image of Tim Tebow better. Roll Tide! http://www.thesportsrevolt.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/tim-tebow-crying.jpg

  • Gus Snarp

    It was worse when he was at Florida and playing backup to Chris Leak. Then one had to assume that the calls for a Freshman to start instead of the successful Senior who led them to the championship weren’t just about Tebow being a Christian, but about Leak being black. So at least the racism is out of the picture in Denver. On the other hand, you have Gator fans who weren’t opposed to Leak who may still want Tebow to start in the NFL on top of the Christian fan base, so the noise is bound to be louder.

  • Andrew Wilkens

    The comments of that article are pretty entertaining. These people either didn’t read the article at all, or only see what they want to see. The author explained it’s not Tebow’s fault ad nauseam, and they still attack him for “Tebow hate”.

  • dbsmash

    I think your premise, while not entirely inaccurate, makes some assumptions that aren’t inherently true.  Up to this point, the Broncos haven’t been clear about the depth chart at quarterback, and whether Tebow is #2 or #4.  And I have no clue how you could place a Heisman trophy winner ‘behind’ a practice squad QB.  You can make your claims about why people want Tebow to play, and again I don’t think your premise is without merit, but I think the whole trend is far more easily explained as ‘when times are bad, people always think changing something will fix it’.

    • Kevin S.

      Recent Heisman-winning QBs include Jason White, Troy Smith, Matt Leinart, Eric Crouch and Chris Weinke.  Winning the Heisman means jack shit when it comes to the pros.

  • Anonymous

    I think some of this might just be Denver fans being really stupid.  The fans and team went through a similar (although not as strident) response a few years ago in demanding Jake Plummer be benched for then-rookie Jay Cutler.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/nightwing1010 Jake Turner

      And who is the better QB? Are you saying Plummer is a better QB the Jay Cutler? 

      • Anonymous

        Over all, definitely not a better QB.  But at the time, Plummer had the team at 7-4 and playoff bound while Cutler was a rookie.   Fans had rested their future hopes on Cutler and wanted to move him in faster than the coaching staff did.  I’m not saying Tebow cannot be a better QB than Orton in the future; I’m saying that he probably isn’t a better QB now, but fans can ignore that when they think they have the next big thing on the bench.  All in all, I think this has little to nothing to do with religion and has more to do with Denver fans being really frustrated by sitting at the bottom of their division.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/mujica.alex Alejandro Mujica

    That last line is a lovely low blow!

  • Feldegast_92

    Wow… Watch the ESPN link, crazy stuff, the white guy defending Tebow looks like a fanatic when another guy shares an opinion that is the opposite of his. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-OLeary/1313741338 Mark O’Leary

    I would be very happy to see Tebow start. I think they should give him a chance. Not every game. Let’s say maybe just December 18, when Denver hosts the Pats.

  • Bronxboy47

    It’s the same “logic” these Christianists exhibit politically:  They would rather see our country destroyed with a Proud Christian at the helm than have it regain it’s strength and stability with anybody else.  If we can’t have it our way, let’s have Götterdämmerung!

  • Anonymous

    Organized sports are as bad as religion to me.  The team will play regardless who is watching and all those fans who think the team cares about them are deluded.

  • Anonymous

    The sad thing is that Orton is actually a darn good QB.  It’s Denver’s awful defense that is killing them.  Fact is that Tebow was never a good fit for an NFL QB.  He simply has the wrong skill set to succeed at that level.  People who actually understand NFL football were pointing that out on draft day.

    • Rex

      I have been watching college quarterbacks move into the NFL for a long time, and there have been many like Tebow; great college quarterbacks who do not have the correct skill set to transition well to the NFL game. Tebow is not NFL quarterback material and his religion is irrelevant in that assessment. I knew that since long before he was a Bronco.

      • Neal

        Steve Young.. Michael Vick.. Vince Young.. Cam Netwon.. Jake Locker.. Blaine Gabbert.. Colt McCoy.. Good to know that you know more than the folks that drafted him, or the majority of draft experts, and the majority of NFL executives, all of which wanted to draft him in the first round or 2, to be an NFL QB.

        Orton is not a “pretty darn good QB” either, he is a below average NFL  QB.

        • Rex

          Vince Young was a highly touted failure like Jamarcus Russel and Ryan Leaf and Todd Marinovich. The jury is still out on Cam Newton and Jake Locker and Colt McCoy.

           Teams will take a chance on someone who is a stellar athlete, or has a great college career, with the hope that they can be retrained to be a good NFL quarterback.

          Sometimes it works (Michael Vick, Steve McNair), and sometimes it doesn’t (Jamarcus Russel, Vince Young, AND Tim Tebow).

          • http://www.facebook.com/nightwing1010 Jake Turner

            Yes Rex Vince failed with his playing abilities right? It had nothing to do with his mental issues. Vince did not have a winning Record either (sarcasm).  Notice that you did not mention Steve Young since he is the closet of the QB’s above to TeBow. 

            Bottom line if Tebow is in that game the ball does not get fumbled while standing there, and he picks up 35 yards or more with his feet. 

            • Rex

              Okay, this is officially really funny as of right now! Steve Young studied under the best QB in thr NFL at that time for 4 years, and then he won 2 rings himself. Let me know when Tebow leads the Broncos to two titles, and then we will talk. You need to remember though that when you are a QB who tries to run against NFL defenses, your career will be shortened when you reach your concussion limit. Ask Steve Young about that.

          • Neal

             You said “college quarterbacks who do not have the correct skill set to transition well to the NFL game.”. VY is not a highly touted failure, in fact is still in the league. had a winning record as a starter, and his skill set was the not the problem, it was mental and emotional problems.

            But just to be clear, on a football level, you are putting Tebow in the same category as J Russell and Ryan Leaf, both of whom started for their teams for at least a season and a half, even though Tebow has 3 starts? based on what? a 1-2 record? a QB rating of 80 last season? What makes you consider Tebow a “highly touted failure?

            • Rex

              Highly regarded coming out of college is what I meant. college studliness is not an indicator of future NFL success

  • GDanger

    The disrespect Denver ‘fans’ showed for Orton during the Monday night game embarrassed me.  I’ve been a Broncos fan all my life and have watched the fan base at (Current corporate sponser) Field at Mile High gradually turn into a spoiled, whiny bunch of complainers.  If you’re a fan, be a fan.  Stick with the team and support them through the tough times rather than calling for the next tackling dummy, whether he’s white, black, Christian or otherwise.  It’s the O-line that’s the real problem.

    • Neal

       O-Line didn’t cause that horrible pick or horrible fumble.

  • Anonymous

    It seems the real message here is that if you want to be successful, don’t actually strive to be the best…at anything… just hang a cross around your neck, bible verse reference under your eyes, tell the country about the theocracy that it should be, etc. and voila…you are golden

    • http://www.facebook.com/nightwing1010 Jake Turner

      Yeah do not worry about his record breaking play at Florida. Clearly he is not trying hard at all. Forget all of the players saying that he is working hard in the film room and on the field to get better. Just bash him for being religious and call it a day.  You are and idiot. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/maik.both Maik Both

        ‘And idiot’ = knockout irony in two short words…

      • http://www.facebook.com/nightwing1010 Jake Turner

        Ha added a D to the AN oops silly type O’s 

        • Anonymous

          The general arrogance parading your religion as basis for anything is the reason for my comment.  It’s pervasive in society… certainly not limited to paid athletes.  Thanks for the sweet name call though…just made my day!  ;0)  Does someone need a hug?

          • http://www.facebook.com/nightwing1010 Jake Turner

            Who says my religion? Did I say I was Christian or are you just making the same assumption that the writer of the blog made? No I do not need a hug just tiered of people trying to act smart by bashing someones beliefs. I could careless if he was a buddhist , or Muslim.  I think Atheist have got to the point of being just as visceral with their thoughts as any religious person. 

      • Anonymous

        Clearly, his record in college was great.  Also clearly, someone must feel like he’s not ready for the big leagues.  It’s more of a coaching decision than a religious decision.  Except for his fans, who care nothing about football but for spreading the word of his beliefs.

      • johnlocke

        Based on his college performance, Tim Tebow isn’t going to be that great of a pro player. In college, he relied on his size and be able to run and power through the defense but he won’t be able to do that against pro teams. 

      • johnlocke

        Based on his college performance, Tim Tebow isn’t going to be that great of a pro player. In college, he relied on his size and be able to run and power through the defense but he won’t be able to do that against pro teams. 

      • Anonymous

        In college play, you can get away with very high skill but mediocre talent. Skill can be taught, but talent is something natural. Tim Tebow is likely to be someone like Danny Wuerffel who won the Heisman Trophy and bagged a national championship in college but couldn’t hack it in the NFL. Performance in college is an incomplete indicator of NFL performance. In the NFL, the most important thing is usually speed: agility, running speed, reaction time, and for quarterbacks, throwing speed. Also, in college, teamwork plays a much larger role in the game, as the stars are distributed among a much larger field of teams and there is a smaller pool of stars available (5 years of people if you happen to redshirt a freshman). But yeah, turn on the persecution complex.

    • neal

      Seems like the real message from the Broncos is that potential does not mean anything. Most rational people would believe that Tebow’s ceiling is much higher than Orton’s. The argument that Orton gives Denver the best chance to win right now might be accurate, but it is likely the difference between 4 or 5 wins with Tebow and 7 or 8 wins with Orton, and Orton is not the long term answer, why sacrifice a year of development on the field for a young QB for a chance at 2-3 more meaningless wins?

  • Chad Casarotto

    This is a much more complicated situation than you put forth.

    1) There was a lot of speculation during the offseason that Orton would be traded and Tebow would be the starer. I am sure many fans of Tebow (and fans of the Broncos who legitimately think Tebow is better) feel a bit disappointed that all that speculation ended up not coming true.

    2) It is not crazy to think, especially if you are a relatively casual fan, that Tebow is the best option at QB. He clearly has a very impressive record from college and played fairly well in the last 3 games of the regular season last year. The team went 1-2 and one of those losses was close to San Diego.

    3) While the coaches are going to be better judges of talent than fans, I can’t see having a problem with fans voicing their opinion. They are the paying customer, and they are paying for entertainment. If they would rather watch their team lose with Tebow than win a couple more games with Orton that is a perfectly defensible choice. The NFL is a game played for the entertainment of fans. It’s not like anyone was predicting this team to make the playoffs with Orton starting anyway.

    4) I really don’t see this as a Christian thing. I am non-religious, and I like Tebow. If I were a Denver fan, I could see myself rooting for him to play over Orton.  At least if you give Tebow a chance and he does poorly, we could hopefully be done with it. The reality is that most football fans would rather watch Tebow because he is a more exciting player than Orton. It is fun to watch running QBs like Tebow or Vick because of the plays they can make with their feet. This has everything to do with football as entertainment and nothing to do with Tebow’s vocal Christianity.

    Of course, I feel pretty bad for Orton since he hasn’t really done anything wrong. He is a mediocre QB on a poor/mediocre team. He won the job, and it is unfortunate that the fans aren’t supporting him.

    • Jimmyrhoffa

      Completely agree with this post. This is not a Christian thing, this is an irrational football fan thing. There are plenty of wacky Christian things to talk about in football (like the stevie johnson tweet from last year), let’s not make things up that aren’t there.

  • Ludovico

    OK, now for the gay angle on this: Tebow should play ‘cuz he’s smokin’ hot! Not as hot as Quinn, so that’s why he should be second, but he’s a lot hotter than Orton or Weber. So, teh gays and Jebus say “Let Tim play!”

  • Ronlawhouston

    I agree with Chad and others that it’s not a Christian thing.  If Orton had won the Oakland game this wouldn’t be happening.

    Besides one argument for Tebow is that Colt McCoy of the University of Texas got drafted 1 year later then Tebow and is playing and doing quite well. 

    Personally, I can’t stand the sanctimonious prick.  But, you never know he could be a good football player.

  • Anonymous

    My family hails from Denver so I hear an awful lot about Tebow.  They (my family) want him to play cause he’s Christian.  As someone who isn’t a football fan but lives in Colorado, I am just ridiculously tired of hearing about him one way or the other.  let him play and suck I don’t care.  Denver Bronco fans just really really REALLY want Tebow to be the next Elway.  So much they think it can be made to happen by the force of their collective wills alone.

    • walkamungus

      “Denver Bronco fans just really really REALLY want Tebow to be the next Elway.” 

      Bingo! It is about religion — ye olde orange-&-blue Broncos religion, that is — as in, when the heck will we get the Second Coming of Elway? Brian Griese was supposed to be The One, and he got a generous honeymoon from the fans, but he turned out to be divisive and not good for the team, besides Not Being Elway. Cutler fell victim to Josh McDaniel’s arrogance (srsly, a rookie coach comes in & wants to replace a Pro Bowl QB with a carpetbagging backup? I think not!). Tebow doesn’t have a very good chance of Being Elway either, but until he’s a regular starter ov er several seasons, we won’t know.

  • Osbornc44

    Just wondering… Do you honestly believe that only the christian community is calling for Tebow? I have been listening to quite a few conversations, and it is pretty apparent that it goes beyond the religious aspect. Most people- christians and non- christains alike- just love his humble nature and work ethic. He isn’t like most spoiled athletes and he has put in a lot of work to get where he is and people notice that. You cant blame people for wanting to see one of the few good guys left in this league succeed… And if you were wondering… No i’m not crhistain, just a football fan.

    • bronxboy47

      Jesus didn’t seem to think public displays of piety were a sign of humility, quite the opposite.

    • bronxboy47

      Jesus didn’t seem to think public displays of piety were a sign of humility, quite the opposite.

  • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

    The problem with liberals, as I see it, is that they can’t go 5 minutes without mentioning some opposite former president they don’t like. What the hell does George W. Bush have to do with this story? A few years back, in the midst of a huge snow storm, I walked into a photo store. We talked about the weather briefly, as Canadians are wont to do, and then the guy said, “Yeah, it’s bad out there, but I’d rather live with the snow than George W. Bush.” Which, as I said to the guy, we as Canadians have to live with the weather every year, but Americans only have to deal with Bush for another few years more. Of course, that was during the time when liberals(even ones in Canada) seemed convinced that Bush was going to engineer a coup of some sort and remain president for life, or some such nonsense. Then I LOLed at him.Whatever the man was, he certainly had an impact, one that I’m sorry to say, Obama never will.


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