Tim Tebow’s journey from 3rd stringer to playoff winning quarterback has obviously been impressive, despite getting blown out by New England this weekend. The odds of taking over a team that is 1-4, bringing it to the playoffs, and winning a playoff game are less than one percent. That’s not an exaggeration, that’s the actual percentage.
But, while his unorthodox play in an unorthodox offense is somewhat understandably controversial on the field, I can’t quite figure out the controversy around his faith. I think the popular answer for conservatives is to blame the media and their well documented slant against Christians. But, I don’t think that fully explains it here.
For example, Victor Cruz. Cruz is arguably a bigger and better story than Tim Tebow. He was a complete unknown coming into this year, his second season. Last year, he had exactly zero catches. This year he had 82 catches, finished 3rd in the league in yards, and is leading the New York Giants to another potential Superbowl (in media market number one, no less.) He has been a phenomenon. Down the stretch of the regular season, when the Giants had to win, he played some of his best football--including a catch that wound up being the 14th 99 yard play from scrimmage in NFL history.
What does Cruz believe has caused all of this?
A: I guess it is just God-given ability. When I get the ball in my hands I try to make the most out of every play. I try to make the maximum yardage I can get every time I touch the ball. God's blessed me with some ability to do some good things and to be able jump and run and run good routes. It's a testament to God.
That’s three God references in one answer folks. Even “testament” thrown in there for good measure. In fact, this isn’t the most overtly religious I’ve seen Cruz in an interview, and I have never seen one in which he didn’t thank God. It’s usually not a passing mention either, and most importantly—he actually seems to believe it. He wants you to know he’s a Christian, and that God is a big part of his life. Good for him. As much as I hate the Giants (as an Eagles fan), I can’t help but like him. Even though that 99-yard catch was singlehandedly responsible for me coming in second in my Fantasy Football League. (I should have been praying for Fantasy success, I guess.)
Here’s another example—as uncovered by the Blaze this weekend. It is being called the greatest knockout in UFC history. It starts with the knockout, but look at what comes next, at about 15 seconds in.
The winner, Edson Barboza, kneels in the ring, points at himself and his ridiculous muscles and shakes his head no. Then he points at the sky, and shakes his head yes. Then, he does it again for good measure and even mouths the word “nothing” when pointing at his physical strength. He is taking his moment in the sun, and trying to use that to communicate his faith.*
Now, I don’t know how much God intervenes to help you kick the crap out of other fighters, but the point is clear. Whether it’s a UFC fighter, an NFL receiver, or even Albert Pujols who spoke eloquently about his love for Jesus Christ during our 8-28 event---public displays of faith have always been a part of sports.
Why is Tebow so controversial?
*Editor's note: The original video with the 15 second celebration was pulled. THe current video only has a fraction of the celebration.