Why All the Focus on Tim Tebow?

The brilliant journalist Tom Junod tackles the question of why so many Americans are transfixed with quarterback and one-man-spokesperson-for-Christianity Tim Tebow and writes that, without the Christian storyline, Tebow would hardly be the athlete people are making him out to be:

… [Tebow is] strong, so he can shot-put and corkscrew the ball all over the field, but he often looks like he’s throwing the ball away when he’s not, and he avoids interceptions by coming nowhere near his intended receiver. It would be tempting to say that none of this matters to the legions he has inspired, but of course it’s all that matters: Because Tim Tebow is a religious figure rather than an athletic one, the limitations of his talent wind up testifying to the potency of his faith. The fact that he’ll be almost comically inept for three quarters and then catch an updraft of mastery in the fourth serves to demonstrate not that he’s a winner but that Jesus is — and, above all, that Christianity works.

“A lot of questions about Tim Tebow have been answered here today,” intoned one of the announcers at the end of Sunday’s game. But that’s not true; and as long as the central questions of Tim Tebow’s career are also questions about Tim Tebow’s faith, his games will be national events. But one day they will be answered, and my guess is that they will be answered by the law of averages more than they will be by laws suspended in answer to Tim Tebow’s prayers.

My guess is that that Tim Tebow’s success rate in the NFL will always be erratic.

Christianity’s, too.

Tebow had four interceptions in a Buffalo Bills blowout this past weekend.

The aura is fading.

By the way, none of that is “proof” that god doesn’t exist. It’s proof that Tebow is human and just another quarterback who had a brief “hot streak” this season.

Unless you’re FOX News and you want to spin it that way



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.diannaeanderson.net/ Dianna

    Four inceptions?

    WOW. ;)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Fixed! Thanks.

      • Anonymous

        Gee, you’re not perfect. Does that mean that you are a Christian?

  • http://twitter.com/CoboWowbo Cobo Wowbo

    I wonder if Brad Stine has evidence to back up his claim to the existence of god…

  • Anonymous

    As much I find the whole Tebow drama humorous, I would love to see him get out of the spotlight for a while.  He’s no miracle NFL player and I’m tired of always having his name injected into the media.  Bad press is good press, people.

  • Joolz

    I’m in the UK and have only heard of Tim Tebow due to atheist blogs, from which I’ve gathered the gist of what he’s about.  The funniest thing I have read about him was on Bruce Gerenscer’s blog – Fallen From Grace – when he referred to what Tim Tebow does as “public evangelical masturbation”. 

  • http://twitter.com/SnowCrystalGirl Maia Ritchie

    Y’know, I always heard that FOX News was uncool, but…I never really considered it to be true. Jerks. >.>

    On another note, I actually found that bit about God having to explain why Kim Jong-il didn’t get into heaven kinda funny.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728100712 Clint Ballard

    He didn’t even really have much of a hot streak.  Yeah they won games, but it was because of a very stingy defense and a strong running game; for decades the formula for success in football.  He has yet to put up good numbers as a passer. That’s why the Broncos pretty much decided to run the ball FULL TIME when he first became the starter. When you look at the facts, he only managed to eek out wins against shit teams, while the good teams have had their way with the Broncos.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      Good point. Tebow did not have a hot streak, the Broncos had a hot streak; and the evidence is that Tebow was not the reason for it.

    • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

       And some of their hot streak wasn’t due to the Broncos doing something right to much as their opposing team doing something wrong.  Marion Barber running out of bounds is one example.  If he’d let himself be tackled in bounds, it’s very unlikely the Broncos would have had a chance to score again before time ran out.

  • Anonymous

    Steve Douche. 

  • rhodent

    Here’s why I really don’t understand all the attention paid to Tebow.  Here’s a list of all the records broken by Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers’ starting rookie QB:

    1. Most passing yards by a quarterback in debut game (422)

    2. Most passing yards by a rookie in a game (432)

    3. Most passing yards by a rookie in a season (3,893)

    4. Fastest player to throw for 1,000 yards

    5. First player in NFL history with at least five rushing touchdowns and five passing touchdowns in his first five games

    6. First rookie in NFL history to throw for 10 touchdowns and run for 10 touchdowns in a season.

    7. Most rushing touchdowns in single season by a quarterback

    Now, here’s a list of the records broken by Tim Tebow:

    1.

    So why is all the attention on Tebow?

    • Anonymous

      Because Tebow is a member of a persecuted minority? White male Christians?

    • Amers

      If you are missing the info on Cam Newton, who set many records while losing games, you are not watching the same sports news I am.

  • Luver2005am

    Neither man nor god shall judge Tebow in the end…ultimately it will be mightier than both…. VEGAS BABY!

  • badassmother

    The whole Tebow mania thing has turned from just being about his religious, to being a religious belief in itself.

    I actually had a conversation at a xmas eve party with a friend of someone or another who was adamant that Tebow was one of the best QB’s in the league. I actually gave him a list of about 6 or so QB’s such as Aron Rogers, Drew Brees,Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Flaco.. ect and asked him if he would really want Tebow over them. He said without hesitation “yes”. Dumbfounded all I could say was “you would really want Tebow over Rogers, or Brees!? ” When he said yes again I did the only thing possible, and just walked away to pour a new bourbon and stand by the cheese tray.

  • oambitiousone

    Overhead:  if Tebow’s beliefs were sincere, he’d pray after sackings, interceptions, etc. not just when something goes well. (That stopped the Tebow worship).

  • Sware

    Isn’t it funny for a religion that isn’t supposed to worship “false idols” to so rampantly create and worship an idol such as Tebow?

    • Swareno

      If you were a Christian you would not consider the Tebow effect as Worshiping.  So it is funny to you, only because You are mistaken on what we think worship is.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Bill Maher taking heat for Christmas tweet about Tim Tebow

    “Wow, Jesus just f—– #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in
    hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler “Hey, Buffalo’s killing them,”

    Hard to believe anyone could find that offensive.

    • Amesr

      So here is something I don’t understand.  This is what caused the boycot of HBO.  Lots of programming on HBO is not very friendly for humanity.

  • walkamungus

    Of course, Tebow was a national Christian athletic icon before he got to Denver, and he better hang on to that Heisman, because he’s never gonna lift the Lombardi trophy. (As a Broncos fan, I’d like to be wrong about that, but the Second Coming of Elway he is not.)

  • Gerry

    I recommend the soundtrack of  “Book of Mormon” as a healing remedy to all this!
     

  • Dennyatkh

    Since what is either accepted or rejected is not “God” but simply your own or another’s CONCEPT of a possible god
    Isn’t saying you are an atheist OR a theist simply a belief? A guess based upon the impossibility of conceiving something that IF it does exist could not be conceptualized ?

    Thus it leaves us all to simply guessing in a belief system?

  • Anonymous

    Yawn….why are atheists so fixated with theists and running them down? Just accept one another and what you may consider to be their eccentricities.


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