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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Believe in Tim Tebow!

Wall Street Journal, Tim Tebow: God's Quarterback:

This combination of candid piety and improbable success on the field has made Mr. Tebow the most-discussed phenomenon of the National Football League season. Most expert analysts still consider him poor material for a pro quarterback. An inexperienced passer with awkward throwing mechanics and the build of a fullback, he likes to run over defensive players, which is a no-no in the NFL, whose starting quarterbacks are expensive and hard to come by.

But onward he and the Broncos have marched, winning six of their last seven games and now tied for the lead in their division as they face the Chicago Bears this Sunday. Mr. Tebow continues to defy his critics—and to embody the anxieties over religion that are dividing today's sports world and embroiling players and fans alike. ...

In the case of Mr. Tebow, what seems to fuel many of his fans—and to drive many of his critics crazy—is not so much his evangelical faith itself but the equanimity and generosity that his faith inspires in him. Can he really mean it when he says that football isn't that important to him, that he cares more about transcendent things?

While at Florida, Mr. Tebow became well known for spending his summers helping the poor and needy in the Philippines. He also spoke in prisons and appeared to accept every opportunity to volunteer. He encouraged his teammates and classmates to follow his lead. ... According to the former Florida coach Urban Meyer, Mr. Tebow's philanthropic efforts reshaped campus culture, and for a time, volunteering became fashionable. ...

Mr. Tebow's acts of goodwill have often been more intimate. In December 2009, he attended a college-football awards ceremony in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The night before, at another gala at Walt Disney World Resort, he met a 20-year-old college-football fan named Kelly Faughnan, a brain-tumor victim who suffers from hearing loss and visible, continual tremors. She was wearing a button that said "I love Timmy." Someone noticed and made sure that the young woman had a chance to meet the player.

Mr. Tebow spent a long while with Ms. Faughnan and her family, and asked her if she'd like to be his date for the award ceremony the following night. She agreed, and the scene of Mr. Tebow escorting the trembling young woman down the red carpet led much of the reporting about the event. ...

Mr. Tebow may or may not enjoy long-term success as an NFL quarterback. His current streak will run its course, and the Broncos might well move on to another quarterback, one who is more obviously suited to the pro game.

But win or lose, Tim Tebow will compete hard—and when he's done, he will thank God and remind all of us that it's just a game.

New York Times editorial, Tebowing on the Gridiron, and Off:

As football zealots channel-switch across the grim winter solstice, they are agog at the unorthodox form of Tim Tebow. ...  Tebow, the son of Christian missionaries, shows his faith after touchdowns by going down on one knee before the arena throng and lowering forehead to fist in divine homage. ...

Tebow is lowly rated statistically except in the fourth quarter. Then he delivers miracles after unabashedly citing Proverbs 27:17 to his mates in the locker room: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

National Football League scripture, of course, holds that nothing succeeds like success. Hometown fans rally to this text. Tim Tebow had best run his team all the way into a playoff berth to avoid the turnabout of Proverbs 24:10 — “If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!”

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There was a time when we would call such acts blasphemy.

Posted by: anon | Dec 12, 2011 9:38:41 AM