Tim Tebow: A good example or a turnoff?

Whether you are a football fan or just a follower of the news it is unlikely you don’t know the name Tim Tebow and you don’t know that he is devout in his religious beliefs. He prays consistently throughout every game. He gives thanks to his Lord and Saviour in every interview. 

I am going to be very honest here and tell you that his sideline prayers and constant waxing poetic about religion makes me uneasy. As my middle son said after listening to our Pastor’s over the top evangelistic Christmas service last year, “Is he trying to convince us or himself.” A very interesting question for a teenager trying to find his religious base.

Last week my husband and I got into a spirited debate after watching Tebow run in a touchdown and then drop to his knees in prayers. My husband is far more religious than I. He was raised in the Catholic church by very religious parents and he is a big fan of Tebow and his faith. 

I was raised in a Catholic family as well, just not the kind that attended church. My prayers of childhood consisted less of thank you for a fabulous day and more of, “If I just make it through one more drunken car ride”…

My grandmother, a not so religious woman until near the end of her life (interesting how that works itself out) was a role model to me. She taught me that you cry in private, you pray in private and for the love of all that is holy in this world, politics are of the utmost of all private topics. I adhere to her beliefs. 

I am a religious person. I believe in God. I pray every night in gratitude for all that I have. I pray for the next day and no further because I believe that God wants you to come back to him often and stay in a place of gratitude. I do not discuss my political beliefs with even the closest of friends and you will probably NEVER EVER see me cry. These three topics, life the father, son and holy spirit are to me, private.

Now. Here is where it gets tricky. I judge Tim Tebow for his overt religious behavior. But? If there was a camera on me prior to every game my boys play, you would see me with my eyes closed praying for their safety. Each time one of them goes down on the field you would see me utter something along the lines of “Dear God please let them get up and walk off that field.” After the game, you will find me whispering a quick prayer of gratitude for their safety.

The difference between Tebow and myself is that I do it quietly and privately. As I stated above, I believe religion to be something coveted and private. He clearly believes it is something you make the world a part of. 

Why do Tim Tebow’s religious beliefs and his overt actions of faith make for such a controversial topic? Why does it turn so many off?  Those before him and after will be as devout as he is to God and Jesus Christ. Is it that, for the most part, the others are more subtle in their devotion? A quick point to the perceived heavens above or a quick drop to the knee. Should we fault him his tireless and undying belief that everything in his life is run by Christ? 

Do you champion Tim Tebow’s behavior on the sidelines or do you find it a turnoff? 



  1. Maegan says

    I was raised catholic and taught many of the same things you were re: what should be private and public. Now, I am a Christian and since I became one, I have learned so much. One thing, what that kneeing down business is all about. I thought much of it was hoopla, but I see now that for some, it’s just respect. I’m sure some put on the show, but I think Tebow is the real deal. He is an evangelist (I hate that word, but it is what it is) and he uses Football to spread God around.
    Is it wrong? No. Can it be too much at times? Probably. Do we want to see more of him as just a regular guy? I think this is where the angst lies. We are used to seeing athletes in a (sometimes) negative light. But what if Tebow were the norm and the "gangsta" attitude were more rare, would be mind then?
    It’s a toss-up.

  2. Dad says

    I know that this will be hard for you to believe, but I agree with J. It is refreshing to see someone to be so bold to show his belief in the lord instead of themselves. You opened this can of worms. Remember the saying about religion or politics? Love You.

  3. Julie says

    You really made me think about this one. I truly do believe that one’s faith is private, but that each of us should live out our faith (whatever we believe) through our actions and not by preaching out loud all the time. I don’t follow much of what Tim Tebow says/does on/off the field, but I wonder how much of this is media prompted (whether we see the prompting or not) and how much of this is him just trying to live out what he believes as an example to others.

    We are lucky not to have cameras on us 24/7… but I suspect that if we did (Christian or not) we would also be criticized for what we do or do not do for others and ourselves.

  4. A says

    I think the media blows it out of proportion and intently zooms the camera in for the famed ‘Tebow’ shot when available. I commend a guy who doesn’t care about the criticism for doing what he believes is right/necessary, especially when he’s giving thanks. But why do I only see him ring-less, on one knee, mumbling to himself and Lord when he is asking for something or giving thanks… what happens when he doesn’t play well?

  5. Linda Boyles Fitzgerald says

    Good question! For me it’s not too much. It’s his personal way of connecting with a higher power that he believes (in his life) has made things the way they are today for him. And, because of his belief and his strong desire to show his appreciation he has no fear/no reservation about "Tebowing"…just as you say a little prayer (on your own for your guys)…. it’s just his way of making sure all is okay. Does it bother some…yes, sure. Aren’t "some" bothered no matter what "we" do in life? ;-) I don’t think you can please everyone…but I think TT is erring on the side of pleasing the "right" someone!
    BTW: If anyone hasn’t read up on this "kid"…I think they should…he’s truly amazing. His life, his skills, his upbringing, his beliefs, his accomplishments and moral compass are all intact. He appears to be a well-rounded, very grounded young man.

  6. says

    As a non-believer, you would think I would be bothered by his displays, but I really am not. They don’t threaten my own opinions on religion – if anything they reaffirm them! I’m more amused by him than anything else.I think I share your son’s perspective – just WHO is he trying to convince?

    Like you I’ve always thought that your relationship with God (should you choose to have one) is private. But, I know that certain religious faiths rely heavily on proselytizing and converting others as a means of proving their faith. I’m immune so – eh?! I don’t care. However, if even that original NFL Christian crusader, Kurt Warner, is saying you should tone it down – well, maybe Tebowing is getting a little stale already!

  7. says

    I am turned off by his praying on the sidelines, because I think it shows focus and dedication, which is more than I can say for my Chargers. And? He wins. Which, again, is more than I can say for my Chargers. What bothers me about him is his preachiness, like his anti-abortion BS from last year. I don’t mind him being demonstrative, I just don’t want him being preachy and self-righteous. That’s when it turns me off.

  8. Ali says

    I love this post. I’m all for faith, don’t get me wrong. I read a comment he made (it’s all over Facebook today) about ‘if a man loved his wife wouldn’t he say it more than just the day he got married’? And then likened his religious messages to that. I don’t care what a person is talking about. If they talk about the same things over and over and over incessantly, it gets to be too much. Also, I pray all the time, just in my head. I don’t need to stop in my tracks, close my eyes, etc. Plus, I pretty much hate all things Gator-related so that might have helped put a sour taste in my mouth for him too :)

  9. says

    I have never even thought of it as bothersome or offensive or anything of the sort. I think we’re all entitled to our opinion, of course, but if we are all allowed to voice that, why isn’t he allowed to show his faith, you know?

    It’s his opinion just as much as these are ours.

    I think you’re right about the cameras though. He’s living a not-so-private life on the football field and although that’s something he opted to do knowing that publicity comes with it, it’s still a big part of his life, as his faith is obviously. Why should he have to pick?

    To each his own at the end of the day, I suppose. But, just because we choose to show our faith one way and he chooses to show it another doesn’t mean we should judge him for it.

    On a side note: I love that you posted this! This critical thinking of sorts is something I get into! ;)

  10. says

    I have never even thought of it as bothersome or offensive or anything of the sort. I think we’re all entitled to our opinion, of course, but if we are all allowed to voice that, why isn’t he allowed to show his faith, you know?

    It’s his opinion just as much as these are ours.

    I think you’re right about the cameras though. He’s living a not-so-private life on the football field and although that’s something he opted to do knowing that publicity comes with it, it’s still a big part of his life, as his faith is obviously. Why should he have to pick?

    To each his own at the end of the day, I suppose. But, just because we choose to show our faith one way and he chooses to show it another doesn’t mean we should judge him for it.

    On a side note: I love that you posted this! This critical thinking of sorts is something I get into! ;)

  11. Sam Shomi says

    Why are you concerned with his prayers.He was groomed this way by his parents.If you don’t like it simple solution. Don’t watch.I consider him a role model.Lady gaga tells her munsters to abstain she is applauded.Tim tebow is waiting for marriage he is a freak.Leave the kid alone.He is gorgeous sexy and a real man that loves God.God is omnipotent and omnipresent.He can make Tim win and cure AIDS and famine too.I am tired of all the BS on Tim.Let him live his life.

  12. says

    I am a religious person and I believe that religion is a personal thing. It should be done alone or with a small group of people who share similar beliefs. I don’t like it when people are overtly religious, like you, it makes me uncomfortable b/c I feel like they are trying to make me believe and practice their way.

    And to me that is not right.

  13. says

    I completely agree with Mary.

    I am honestly completely turned off by Tebow and his over the top praying. While I will argue for his right to believe in what ever wants, I do not like how he does it. To me it comes off a little self righteous and it just get on my nerves.

    Let’s be honest, if there is a Jesus Christ, do we really think he cares if the Broncos win or lose? Don’t you think he has other things to worry about.

  14. Jessica Charania says

    I think it’s a "big" deal because it’s out of the norm. Does it bother me? No, not at all. To me it’s the same as being bothered by the Muslim women who cover their faces and shop at Wal-Mart. It’s who he is, that’s who they are. Tim Tebow is a wonderful example for our children, his faith aside. He has a great work ethic, is determined to succeed and doesn’t care what people say about him. He does his job, is well spoken and his heart for people is something to be admired. He’s taken so much criticism and he’s handled it maturely and without malice. That can’t be said of too many people today who are in his position.

  15. says

    I’m no Bible scholar, but I was brought up in a religious household and I remember learning a Bible verse as a child where Jesus said we should pray in a closet. Or something to that effect. Ah, here it is: Matthew 6:5-6

    "5: When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.
    6: But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you."

    So, if Timmy is as God-fearing as he proclaims to be, why is he ignoring this directive straight from Christ himself? I’m with your son on this one. I don’t trust anyone who flaunts how religious they are.

  16. says

    You are so spot on. I cringe every time I see Tebow on t.v. and every time they win, I know that the over the top Jesusers are screaming from the mountain tops.

    My father is the most religious person I know. He is also the best man I know. He is also very quiet and never publicizes or pushes his religion on anyone. That’s the kind of Christian I admire.

  17. Sarah says

    I’m not religious, I had a relationship with Jesus Christ at one point but we broke up. I’m happier without him. While in my relationship, it was a private thing – it was never something that I felt I needed to find a television and alienate some people just to shout out what I believed.

    That all being said, Tim Tebow is an amazing football player (he is a QB in my fantasy league) and I’m positive that he’s a hardworking, caring and very loving man. HOWEVER, I personally would not want to be his friend due to his evangelism. I have no room to judge the man for believing in who or what he believes in, but I would not choose to associate with him because of his actions (note: not because of his beliefs!).

    I think that for a lot of non-Christian football fans, he is alienating them as much as he is encouraging those who are of the Christian faith. I think oftentimes it’s "too much," but he would probably say that I sleep "too much," and that my alcohol consumption is "too much," so who really knows?

  18. Victoria Landingham says

    freedom of speech and religion…i love the little bible beater who can run the ball like jesus but throw like mary……teehee….teebow….PEACE OUT xoxox

  19. Sara Catron says

    As a Christian, political fan, and person I am only fueled by Tebow’s display of affection. My biggest frustration with myself and fellow Christians is the timidity we have that keeps us from sharing. I realize there are many Christians that sharing is unnecessary, but seeing my life before and after my knowledge of Christ should make me want to "out" what Jesus can do in every way possible, even if it meam dealing with the persecution and jealousy that poor boy is dealing with.

    Acts 20:24

  20. says

    Okay, I couldn’t stop thinking about this last night and I had another thought: What if Tebow didn’t play professional sports? What if his job was in your office? What if he was the accountant down the hall?

    Would it be acceptable for him to drop down on his knees and praise God in the hallway every time he successfully completed a project? The books balanced! THANK YOU JESUS! Payroll went out on time! PRAISE THE LORD! Would you be inspired by that? I think you’d find it disturbing and possibly report him to HR.

  21. says

    Kalisa – as an accountant, I am now dying laughing at this! Why, yes, yes, there are times when I do Praise The Lord that I’ve balanced spreadsheets from Hell :-)

    It’s an excellent point even though it making me giggle incessantly. This kind of public display of prayer & honoring God is accepted in the sports world but would absolutely not fly in the office.

  22. Victoria Landingham says

    its sports….many and i say many do a vulgar dance in the end zone and the field is full of the F*ck Bomb. so Tebow prays…let the man pray…it is his born right. and as far as the NFL and players words go….lets just say he won’t be paying a fine:) let the "bible beater "be and if that is the worst words we have for him…..well he is doing just fine:)

  23. says

    Your grandma and I would get along just fine. I share her views completely. You know, as far as Tebow goes, I do appreciate him being a good man and good role model. I do, as this isn’t commonplace in the NFL. So, I do congratulate that.

    It’s the extreme to which he does it that irks me. Anything of a sensitive subject to any extreme is going to unnerve, annoy and create controversy within people. I am tuning in to watch football, not to watch someone worship their God.

    To each their own, I suppose.

  24. says

    I don’t like that he is so public, but only because it seems somewhat artificial. I am not religious myself, but many people I love are, and those that are more public about their faith at least seem spontaneous and honest about it.

  25. Wes says

    I love this Catholic Christian business. Get out your history book and flip to the 16th century. This is just Antisemitism; certainly any church that respects Jewish customs can’t be "Christian".

    As for Tim Tebow, his conduct appeals to those who are Evangelical and looks like "a show" to those that aren’t. It’s an ineffective tactic – which is a shame because he would stand to be a lot more influential if he thought more about creating interest in his religion rather than sticking the fish in the window.

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