Tebow vs. Brady: For God’s sake, let’s leave religion out of it
By Rick Telander firstname.lastname@example.org January 12, 2012 10:00PM
After the Broncos’ wild-card victory over the Steelers, Tim Tebow Mania has skyrocketed. | Chris Schneider~AP
Updated: February 14, 2012 10:24AM
Pardon me . . .
There, I just Tebowed at my desk. Thirty seconds worth.
I didn’t ask the Lord or Allah or Buddha or even Joel Osteen for help.
I simply took a half-minute to clear my mind, relax, fire up and be thankful that I get to write a sports column in a city I love, on topics that inspire me, with opinions that are worked from six decades of trying to figure out this thing called life.
I even enjoy the negative stuff, like, say, this unsigned note that just came in the mail from a reader, hand-scrawled on yellow legal paper: “Keep the God-damned Money out of it! — That’s what ruined professional sports — YOU JACK ASS!’’
And so we have Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, the muscle-armed, ever-smiling, passing-challenged, “miracle’’-producing “Muscular Christian’’ of 19th century romantic construction, the embodiment of the philosophical ideal of the pious Christian soldier, sincere, gentle, kind yet masculine and ready to kick butt.
Tebow — whose pose while praying before games and sometimes during and after them has become the hottest debate topic in all of America — is taking on the two-touchdown-favorite, 13-3 New England Patriots on Saturday in Foxborough, Mass. Apparently by himself.
Images of St. George or David (after heavy lifting and extensive creatine and whey-powder ingestion) or maybe St. Patrick casting out Irish snakes come to mind.
That the rest of the competent Broncos will play alongside Tebow seems to have escaped everyone.
Indeed, that fact might be irrelevant to a lot of, shall we call them, “Muscular Couch Potatoes.’’
Unbelievably — well, maybe not — 43.3 percent of people in this country believe that Tebow’s accomplishments on the field ‘‘can be attributed to divine intervention.’’
That means those folks believe God put that astounding 80-yard, touchdown-producing Tebow ball in the hands of wide receiver Demaryius Thomas last week for the 11-second, fastest-in-NFL-overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Like a baton handoff from Tebow to an apostle — with Jesus moving the fingers.
This poll was conducted by the website Poll Position, a place that claims to be “a nonpartisan news, polling and social media company whose goals are to engage, enlighten and entertain you.’’
Well, I’m entertained.
Because the kicker is: Only 42.3 percent of those who know who Tebow is think divine intervention does not have anything to do with his success.
That means more people believe the NFL is something like an ancient Roman passion play with hands popping out of the sky to move chess pieces around and turn people into stones or frogs or livers to be pecked over and over than do not.
Should we expect the Broncos to give Tebow two lockers next season: one for him, one for his Special Pal?
And yet, as a passionate Tebow defender said to me the other day, Why does this guy polarize people so much? Forget the God stuff, isn’t he a better role model than the endless stream of arrogant, me-first, whoring-about, drug-abusing stars we normally put on pedestals?
But the God stuff is not just a trapping with Tebow.
It is Tebow.
You know who really thinks Tebow and God walk hand in hand on the gridiron? According to the poll, women, young people between the ages of 18 and 29 and Republicans.
The thoughts come to one: If Tebow ran tent-show revivals, he could rake in millions. (Grinning, big-toothed Osteen, you are practice squad compared to Tebow.) If he ran for president, he could win. If he were to disappear, we would build a shrine wherever he was last seen.
The trouble with the divine- intervention theory is, of course, there are always as many fervid Christians on the other side of the line of scrimmage as there are on Tebow’s. A God that flicks devout cornerbacks in the head so praying tight ends can get past them is unimaginable.
To me, anyway.
The never-closemouthed Charles Barkley said on radio the other day that with the Broncos’ crazy, underdog win over the Steelers and Tebow Mania everywhere, “the national nightmare continues.’’
In short, Barkley said he and many others are sick of the fantastic faith-based goody-ness that surrounds this young man who has made sport and religion inseparable.
Me, I can’t wait to see Tom Brady and mates take on the Broncos.
Not to see Tebow be demolished.
But to see if a running, bare-armed, cheerful, fundamentals-be-damned, totally retro, winning quarterback can beat cunning coach Bill Belichick and suave, classically formed quarterback Brady in a game that is — remember — as vicious as it is pretty.
I don’t think God has anything to do with it. Come on!
But I think secular, nondenominational, nonsectarian, reflective Tebowing, done at the right moments, might be the coolest thing since snow angels.