Sunday, December 18, 2011

God's Quarterback

He had his detractors.  Some people said he just didn't have it in him to be a good NFL quarterback.  But then a miracle happened.  He took over as starting quarterback for a hapless team and led them to victory.  That's right, Kyle Orton and the Kansas City Chiefs won against the hitherto undefeated Green Bay Packers today in Orton's debut as the Chiefs quarterback. 

And then there's Tim Tebow.  Alas, after an impressive six consecutive victories, Tim and the Baby Jesus were powerless against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.  To be honest, with the Patriots ahead by 11 points with about eight minutes left to go in the 4th Quarter, I envisioned Tebow running the ball into the end zone for a touchdown, followed by a 2 point conversion to put the Broncos within 3 points of the Patriots.  Then Matt Prater would kick for a field goal to tie it up with under a minute to go to bring the game into overtime.   We would then see another field goal by Prater to win the game, just like the Broncos managed to do in their previous two games.  But this time it was not to be, as the Patriots scored another touchdown to give themselves an insurmountable 18 point lead.

This year has probably been the first in a long time where I really paid any attention to NFL football and watched the Jets and the Giants on a regular basis.  I had heard of Tim Tebow last year.  I knew that he was an openly evangelical Christian who liked to brandish Bible verses on his eye blacks when he was the quarterback for the Florida Gators college football team.  While he won the Heisman Trophy, he also had his share of doubters and detractors who claimed he wasn't quite NFL material.

So, when Tim Tebow took over as quarterback for the Denver Broncos after achieving a dismal 1-4 during Kyle Orton's tenure, the time had come for him to prove if he had the goods.  His first game against the winless Miami Dolphins set the pattern for many of the Broncos victories to come, a come from behind effort in the 4th quarter to tie the game followed by a field goal winning kick in overtime. 

As an atheist, I was somewhat conflicted about Tim Tebow.  I would be less than honest if I didn't admit that part of me (as well as quite a few other atheists) wanted Tebow to lose more than he won because a lot of Bible thumpers would claim his winning streak was the power of God at work.  Indeed, I remember reading the comments thread to an article in Yahoo News (and curses for my not preserving the link!) and one commenter even went so far as to compare Tebow to the scientist Stephen Hawking.  I don't remember the exact words, but it was something to the effect that Tim Tebow was in such great physical shape because of his belief in Jesus Christ, whereas Hawking, an atheist, had a shriveled body that was confined to a wheel chair.

Then I read this article about Tebow's pastor.

Tim Tebow’s pastor, Wayne Hanson, says he knows why the Denver Broncos are 7-1 since installing Tebow as quarterback – it’s the player’s faith.

“It’s not luck,” Hanson said according to TMZ. “Luck isn’t winning six games in a row. It’s favor. God’s favor.”

Hanson, who runs the Summit Church in suburban Denver, said the Broncos wouldn’t be winning games if God hadn’t decided to reward Tebow’s religious beliefs.

I guess God liked Aaron Rodgers better, with the Packers having won 19 games in a row.   And God's favor was apparently absent when Tebow and the Broncos faced off against the Detroit Lions and the New England Patriots. 

That being said, a part of me couldn't help but root for Tebow as well, seeing him as something of an underdog.  As I mentioned above, he had his share of critics who claimed he wasn't quite ready for prime time because his passing stats were mediocre.   Regardless of his skills as a quarterback, what is undeniable is that the Broncos are 7-2 since he became their starter and the Broncos managed to salvage what had been a horrible season.  

Many of the Broncos games would be broadcast here in New York (though oddly, today's game wasn't), and to watch them come from behind time after time was a fascinating spectacle.  Unfortunately, one of those victories was against the New York Jets.   Even my wife found herself getting caught up in the Tebowmania.  Last week, we were watching the Broncos play the Chicago Bears.  Without Jay Cutler, I fully expected the Bears to lose.  With the Bears ahead 10-0 in the 4th quarter, my wife was fretting that Timmy wouldn't be able to pull off a win.  I told her, "Honey, this is what's going to happen.  The Broncos will score a touchdown and then tie it with a field goal.  Then they'll win it in overtime with another field goal."  And sure enough, they did.

Personally, I really don't care how much Tim Tebow parades his religiosity on and off the field.  It's his right to do it, regardless of how I feel about it.  I wonder though if he ever prays to Jesus to cause an opposing player to miss a field goal or fail to complete a pass.  Seriously though, when the Broncos win a game, it does not validate that Christianity is true, just as their losses do not invalidate it. 

That being said, I'll make this wager.  If Tebow can lead the Denver Broncos to three consecutive Super Bowl wins (one Super Bowl victory for each part of the Trinity!), I will become a born again Christian.   Sorry, one Super Bowl is just not enough for me.   I can't just make such a major change in my life on a whim!  So I can enjoy the atheist life at least until February of 2014.

There are two more games left in the regular season for the Denver Broncos.  Next week, they play the Buffalo Bills, who appear to be caught in free fall, having lost their last five seven games.  I don't think Tim Tebow will require any divine intervention to defeat them.***

The last game of the regular season, however, should be quite interesting, as the Broncos will find themselves facing the Kansas City Chiefs once again.   When they last played each other on November 13, the Broncos easily dispatched the Chiefs 17-10, having never lost their lead throughout the entire game.  But on New Years Day, Tebow will be matched against his former teammate Kyle Orton.  If Orton and the Chiefs can pull off a win against the Raiders next week, he will be going up against the Broncos with something he hasn't had all season, a two game winning streak.  That should definitely give Orton the confidence he needs to take on God's quarterback.

*** Boy, was I wrong there.  That was probably the worse defeat they have suffered since Tebow took over as starting quarterback.   God must have been resting for the Sabbath.


LadyAtheist said...

Greetings from Colts Country. Apparently the universe has reversed direction.

As an atheist, I can't help but hope that Tebow suffers a serious injury, but I'm too nice a person to hang onto that thought.

As a former Christian, I'm outraged that people believe that God would give a fuck about football. Wouldn't Tebow be more admirable if he would pray for world peace or a cure for cancer instead of praying to win football games?

Tommykey said...

As a former Christian, I'm outraged that people believe that God would give a fuck about football.

But didn't Jesus devote half of his Sermon on the Mount to football analogies? :-)

I wouldn't be surprised if Tebow also prayed for world peace or for someone's cancer to be cured.

As for the Colts, I'm glad to see they finally won one. I can't imagine what it's like to be on a team that loses week after week to be able to go back out on the field expecting to get your ass kicked again. I hope they win their last two games of the season.

Tommykey said...

The funny thing about this post is that I originally intended to write it 2 weeks ago, then last week. Today ended up being the perfect day for it, because the Broncos got their asses kicked and Kyle Orton defeated the Packers. I sense the hand of God at work here! LOL!

Anonymous said...

“He’s telling everybody what they want to hear,” Finley said. “You see him and he’s patting everybody on the back saying, ‘You’re going to make this catch. I promise because God said,’ and he makes it happen. Stuff like that. It confuses people. People that don’t know the game outside of the fans, of course they’re going to hype it up. But guys that see a good player and a good quarterback, they know what kind of guy he’ll be down the road when he gets exposed. Everybody who knows the game knows what kind of player Tebow is going to be.” - Jermichael Finley

It's grossly obnoxious how the sports media is treating Tebow. Did you see Howie Long singing his praises yesterday? It even included praise for Fireproof, allegedly Tebow's favorite movie! I mean, come on! Before the Patriots game, they had the nerve, THE NERVE, to show side by side video of Brady and Tebow throwing a pass and saying Tebow's now has a throwing motion comparable to Brady! Are you fucking kidding me?!! Now that he's lost, they're talking about how great he'll be next year after an offseason of LEARNING HOW TO THROW A PASS!!! Oh, and of course they need to get him proper receivers. Unfuckingbelievable! But of course if you're religious, it's easy to have conflicting ideas co-habitate in your head.

He sucks as a passer. That can't be magically fixed in an offseason. All that option non-sense is just this year's Wildcat. It's a gimmick that good defenses will figure out, and I take issue with saying the Chiefs were "easily dispatched". It was one TD, a result of one lucky pass at the end and unfortunately the D being confused in the first half by this new gimmick (Romeo shut it down after halftime, btw). The Chiefs had no offense that day, something they haven't had for some time because Cassel blows (although compared to Palko he's awesome).

Tebow "works his magic" in the 4th due to other teams letting him. It's the old adage that the only thing a prevent-defense prevents is the team using it winning. Plus, those teams start playing Marty-ball and try to run out the clock and that doesn't work against a strong D, which Denver unfortunately has (and THAT is really why they've been winning - Dawkins leading the D). The Patriots never let off the gas, which you saw at the end of that game. Did they relax with an 11 point lead? No, they charged on for another TD, rolling through Jesus' team like an iron chariot.

Btw, as ridiculous as it sounds, the Chiefs could still win the division. I need Buffalo to take the Christ out of Denver's Christmas next week and San Diego dropping one of their last two. Everyone in the division could finish 8-8, but the Chiefs would take the division with the better division record (if they finish 8-8, they'd be the only team with a winning division record, 4-2). What a SB story that would be, huh? The first 8-8 team to win a SB. Hey, they beat the Packers, didn't they? ;)

Anonymous said...

We watched the second half of the Bronco-Patriots game. My husband resisted at first because he didn't want to listen to a lot of BS about Tebow. I persuaded him to turn on the second half because I wanted to watch the Patriots beat the crap out of Timmy T. Tebow made some decent passes yesterday, but he also made some godawful decisions, such as the one where he held onto the ball far too long and got sacked about 25 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Had it happened to any other QB, it would have been ugly. Since it was God's Own Chosen QB, it was glorious.

Tommykey said...

and I take issue with saying the Chiefs were "easily dispatched".

Well, I did qualify that statement by noting that the Broncos maintained their lead throughout the entire game, rather than pulling one of their come from behind efforts like they did in most of their other wins.

Plus, those teams start playing Marty-ball and try to run out the clock and that doesn't work against a strong D

That's what was pissing me off about the Chicago Bears. They spent the 4th quarter by trying to run the ball and getting shit yardage and totally abandoned the passing game. I sensed that they were more concerned with trying not to lose rather than trying to win. That's why even though they were up 10-0, I knew they were going to lose.

We watched the second half of the Bronco-Patriots game.

Chappy, the way the Broncos have been playing lately, you only need to tune in the last 5 minutes, because that's where the game is won or lost.

Tommykey said...

I need Buffalo to take the Christ out of Denver's Christmas next week

Someone answeres your request PhillyChief!

Boy was I wrong about the Buffalo Bills. They really did kick the shit out of the Broncos. 40-14! The Bills played to win and totally shut down the Broncos in the 4th quarter.