My goodness, the Grey Lady is bitter toward Tim Tebow.

I’m not the world’s biggest Tim Tebow fan. His faith is great, but I’m of the opinion that it’s more “par for the course,” and I don’t think it healthy to swoon over someone for simply doing what they ought to be doing. Makes that which is simply right seem extraordinary. If you’re impressed, join him in witnessing to the joy that is in you on account of your faith.

Seems to me that those who don’t care for his religiosity ought to just leave him be—especially those who preach tolerance as the Most Important Virtue and castigate Christians for daring to think some behaviors are wrong (i.e., “being intolerant” of those behaviors).

I’m ambivalent toward his football career. He’s a running quarterback with a flair for the dramatic deep ball, zero accuracy under 15 yards, and a looooong windup that makes him look more like a Major League Baseball pitcher than an NFL quarterback (where have you gone, Dan Marino?). I predict Tebow will have a serious sophomore slump when teams start copying what the Pats did, and he’ll lose the starting job as soon as someone with accuracy comes along. So that’s where I stand on Tebow.

But wow, New York Times, tell us what you really think about religious people and what’s going on with Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos.

You massively misunderstand both in this piece, but sound like one of those know-it-all bitter old spinsters jealous of others’ grandkids.

The Times‘s Harvey Araton condescended to share his thoughts on Tim Tebow’s demeanor and behavior after the Broncos’ bad loss at New England on Saturday. A few examples:

Tebow had been, to Araton’s mind, unduly upbeat during the post-game press conference. He mentioned the name of God once or twice with a thanks and/or praise, and actually said that overall it hadn’t been a bad day. A little while later Tebow came out to meet up with a young man who lives in the Boston area and who had been permanently disabled due to a head injury sustained while playing high school football. The boy and his family were in attendance, presumably at Tebow’s invitation.

Araton reports:

Soon they were all praying together, while a protective cocoon of Tebow’s people formed around the pair, becoming huffy when a couple of reporters stopped to observe.

“Private family time,” one said, which was strange, because the scene was a hard-to-miss public spectacle, like so much of the Tebowing phenomenon, and it lasted considerably longer than any Denver drive.

Take that, Tebow… you’re praying longer than you played football. So nyeh.

“Becoming huffy” sounds like a better description of Araton’s last bit than of a family friend saying, “please move along, no reporters, private family time.” But how dare anyone ask a NEW YORK TIMES reporter to leave something alone?

And Harvey? A couple of people huddled for prayer in an interior corridor of a professional football stadium is a bit less than a “public spectacle,” your discomfort with prayer and demand that all respect your exalted position notwithstanding.

Moving along…

A while earlier, John Elway had walked past the scrum, seemingly paying it no mind on his way to the bus in a long camel coat, a cellphone pressed to his ear. And at that moment, you had to wonder if Elway, the Denver vice president and most famous Bronco of all, really believed — if he ever did — that Tebow could ever be the unquestioned quarterback of an N.F.L. title contender.

Um, Harvey? This.

Yeah. That smarts, eh?

Next up…

While Tebow has made his priorities clear that his faith comes first, Elway’s job demands that Tebow be the analytical secularist and stick to the science of football.

Because the two are mutually exclusive, or something.

Elway’s job demands that Tebow be the best quarterback he can be for as long as Tebow is the Broncos’ starting quarterback. How long Tebow is the Broncos’ starting QB depends on the coach and management of the team, as well as Tebow’s decision to continue playing or retire. If either decides that it’s not working out, well, that one has the prerogative to end it. If Tebow’s faith and charity work prevent him from being the right guy for the job, then the coach and management can go another route—Tebow clearly wouldn’t be devastated considering his order of priorities. Tebow didn’t make himself the starter: John Fox and John Elway did, and Elway has elected to endorse that decision for the time being. Business as usual, really.


On the matter of Tebow’s future as a starting quarterback, Elway has to play God. But even he may be hamstrung by the sheer magnitude of what Tebow has become in rescuing the Broncos from near oblivion earlier this season and driving them into the playoffs and past the Steelers on wild-card weekend.

Plenty of players in many sports have a short period of great success and then fall back to earth. Hard. Plenty of very successful college QBs get NFL starting gigs and fizzle out. Perhaps Tebow will be another. Time will tell. If the Broncos lose their firs seven games next year and it is demonstrably Tebow’s fault, you can be sure the fans will be calling for his head and Elway will have plenty of football reasons to make a change. But while the guy is being unconventionally successful there is no football reason to make the change.

And then on his frequent invocations of God, Harvey shares:

He comes off as exceedingly earnest and sincere, though his religious invocations can have the same repetitive effect of those uttered during a Miss America pageant.

What, cause you to roll your eyes before you mock and deride the one who has faith and is comfortable in it? Perhaps that says more about you than it does about him. I’ll bet Tebow would be happy to smile and pray for you, Harvey. Probably resolved to when he saw your silly article.

Being uncomfortable with them doesn’t make one a hater or a heathen, just one of many who wonder if there is an appropriate time and place and if the football environment doesn’t always have to be one of them. Maybe as part of the growth process, Tebow will figure that out.

You trying to justify yourself now, Harvey? “Iiiii’m not a heathen; Heeeeee’s the one being in appropriate.”

And, Harv, life is the appropriate time and place to give thanks and praise to the One who made it all possible (no, I don’t mean your agent). Contra the shirt so many high school and college athletes wear, football is not life. If Tebow chooses to thank God for the good things in his life with some frequency, and if that seriously discomfits you, get another beat and let someone else cover Tebow. Otherwise, try some of that tolerance you insist Christians don’t exercise toward others.

Besides, It’s not like Tebow is sneeringly telling anyone that the way he chooses to live his life is seriously weird and he should stop it. That would be intolerant. Am I right, Harvey?

Anyhow, one last biting bit…

As he always does, he thanked his teammates for their support and effort immediately after praising God. But one was left to surmise that he, the Broncos’ purported leader, should have been with them late Saturday night instead of in the corridor tending to his personal business, no matter how giving it was.

There are times when duty to team has to come first. Surely one of them is in the wake of lopsided and season-ending defeat.

Hey Harvey— You attend to your business, and let Tebow and the Broncos attend to theirs. Tebow was the only reason the team recovered from their early season doldrums and got as far as it did, and it certainly was not solely his fault that they got shredded in New England. So unless you think he ought to have been on the bus leading the guys in prayer [cue eye roll] I’m not exactly sure what you expect Tebow would have done on that bus for the span of time he spent praying with a kid who probably will never forget that special moment of his life when one of the biggest names in sports, and a genuinely nice, good person, took time out of a very important and difficult evening to pause and truly care for him.

I think Harvey could learn a thing or two about how to treat people and what is really important from observing Tebow rather than the other way around. If, that is, Harvey could get over his own navel.



  • Katherine

    “His faith is great…”

    His faith is centered on a ministry to bring “Christianity” to the Catholic people of the Phillipines.

    • Bruce

      He gets Christ correct and we pray that He leads Tim to the fullness. But at least Tim gets the most fundamental part correct – Jesus is Lord.

  • Del

    Young Tebow fills stadiums, selling tickets and concessions and merchandise. Young Tebow brings in ratings and fans, selling premium advertising rates during Broncos games.

    You can darn well bet that the Broncos management will start their star quarterback! And everyone will work like monks to improve his skills over the summer.

    Meanwhile, Harvey is just mad at all of us for liking Tebow, and enjoying watching him play.

    • Tom Crowe

      Amen, amen, a thousand times amen! (at the risk of vain repetition, of course.)

  • Peregrino

    Tom, I really am at a loss here. I really am not understanding the Matthew 6:5 mantra being repeated ad nauseum. nowhere do the Gospels forbid public prayer or public devotion. What Christ preaches is to not be a hypocrite. It is one thing to pray and glorify God at every opportunity. It is another to do so only when others can see you, and to have no personal relationship with the Divine otherwise. Based on Tebow’s charitable works on game days as well as his family’s work overseas I see zero evidence to implicate him as a hypocrite.
    I think this sadly boils down to the relativist mentality that religion is a private thing and has no place outside of one’s house or church.

    • Tom Crowe

      I agree. It’s really odd. It boils down to people being made uncomfortable by someone else who is comfortable loving God in a public way. They have no basis except, “Stop that. You’re odd. You don’t fit the mold. You don’t worship at the altar of hedonistic society. You make us look bad. We don’t like that. Go away, and for god’s sake stop praying.”

  • Bruce

    Jesus prayed publicly in the garden and on the cross. Anyhoo, the world hates martyrs, which is why they are martyrs. This world and this life is not worth one’s soul. Go Timmy.

  • Context

    Troy Polamalu, an Orthodox Christian, is widely regarded as one of the best safeties (and, indeed, defensive players) in the NFL today. He is known for making the sign of the cross before every play, is soft-spoken, and very devout. If asked about his faith, he will gladly share a conversation with you, either during an interview or a personal conversation. He goes about living his faith – publicly, yet humbly, even during games – and excels at his job in the process. You would be hard pressed to find a negative viewpoint, much less several, about Troy’s “faith on the field.” Kurt Warner, a star quarterback who has since retired, tended to be a bit more vocal about his Christianity. Like Tebow, he would often give thanks to God after a victory or award. However, by almost every metric available, Kurt is a better NFL quarterback than Tebow (thus far in his career). Because he combined values, character, AND athletic ability, you will likely not find many articles from the past that insulted Kurt’s “faith on the field.” Tim Tebow receives a paycheck from the Denver Broncos to play the position of quarterback. Most NFL analysts agree that while “he just wins games,” there are 52 other players on the roster who also deserve credit; and when studied on their own, Tebow’s game mechanics are severely lacking. This isn’t a “pile on Tim for daring to be Christian” issue. Tebow seems more concerned with the constant outward displays of his Christian faith than he does with improving his techniques as a quarterback. This is where most criticism comes from. It is wonderful that he is a good Christian, but being a faithful person is not enough to protect you from criticism at handling a secular profession in a mediocre fashion, no matter what it may be. Even Kurt Warner has publicly stated that it’s time for Tim to quiet down and live his faith more by example and less by words. Matthew 6:5 is relevant in this case.

    • Tom Crowe

      I disagree, Context. He is paid by the Broncos to be a quarterback, but unlike baseball, football contracts are not guaranteed. Thus, if the Broncos feel that he is performing inadquately, regardless of the reason, they can cut him and not be responsible for the contract. They can cut him for drug abuse if that comes up. They can cut him for failure to perform to expectations. They can merely bench him. They don’t own him, and he is not defined as a person by his occupation. How much time he chooses to devote to improving himself in his occupation is up to him first, his employer second. If they don’t like where he draws the line, they can fire him. Whether Tebow is capable of improving as a quarterback is also a separate question. But what is not in question is that Tebow views his faith and spreading the Word as more important than playing football. If Kurt and Troy choose to do so in a quieter manner I don’t fault them for that, but likewise I think they should let Tebow express his faith as he sees fit up until the point of it becoming publicly offensive (which I don’t think anyone can argue it is). Perhaps they merely are not as comfortable in doing so more publicly or perhaps it is not their style. Fine. But that doesn’t make either of them THE model and Tebow a pharisee or hypocrite.

    • Joe M

      Context. Did you watch the games? He didn’t “just win” games by praying. He did so by completing clutch passes in high-pressure situations. The Broncos were 4-12 last season. They went 8-8 and made the play-offs this year, in large part due to exceptional plays made by Tim Tebow as a quarterback (running, breaking tackles, throwing the football accurately, etc.). Maybe if a staff were more dedicated in their scheme and player selection to the spread option offense, they will do better with running QB. — You and Harvey Araton have missed the mark in regard to what the secular objective of the NFL is. That is to make a profit. And I would put Tim Tebow’s jersey selling capability up against Troy Polamalu or Kurt Warner any day. A lot of people want to see Tim Tebow succeed. They think it’s a much improved example for a professional athlete to be dedicated to helping others and giving thanks to God. Contrast that with the egomania, troublemaking, womanizing, etc. that many other pro athletes are known for and how society looks past that because they are, as you say, “good at football.”

  • Scott

    Matthew 6:5. Enough said about Tim Tebow.

    • Tom Crowe

      Scott— Really? Enough said? You’re as smug as Harvey. Yes, we ought not to be like the hypocritical pharisees who were “whited sepulchers” (Matthew 23:27) and merely did outward deeds with no inward disposition of praise or follow-up charitable deeds that grew from their pro-forma religiosity. They were professional religious without being truly Godly. I don’t think you can make the same case against Tebow. He chooses to use the position his abilities have afforded him to “give an account for the joy that is in [him]” (1 Peter 3:15). I can’t imagine how what he is doing is harming anyone, and if his prayer and praise is sincere then it’s not a hypocritical thing.

      • Francine

        His actions go against what is taught in the bible. Do you believe in what is written or do you not?

        • Tom Crowe

          Francine — I thought I presented evidence that they do not, so now I’m wondering if you only believe the portions that you choose to read and then only abide by the interpretation you give those parts you choose to read. ——— Related question: do his actions offend you or misrepresent Christ or otherwise harm people? If not (and I believe you would be hard-pressed to show that they did), then I believe your insistence that he stop it based on your interpretation of a given passage or two is more representative of what the pharisees did when they heaped up rules upon the people that had some basis in some Scripture passage but were distorted and actually harmed the faith of the people. Stop being so pharisaical and rejoice in the Lord’s goodness with him and me.

          • Marsha

            Didn’t Jesus say something about praying in private and about avoiding repetitions?
            Matthew 6:6 “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who [is] in the secret [place;] and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
            Matthew 6:7 “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen [do.] For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

          • Tom Crowe

            Marsha— Two things: that was *vain* repetition we were warned against. Which means all repetition isn’t *vain.* Is it “vain repetition” when lovers tell each other that they love each other and value each other frequently? I would say not. What is prayer if not love missives to God? What is public prayer if not an invitation to others to meet the Ultimate Lover of each and every soul? How can repeating that be “vain”? ———— As for Matthew 6:5-7, asked and answered. Read my other comment in this thread about it.

          • Marsha

            Tom, as you state, Jesus did speak of vain repetition. An example would be to say multiple “Hail Mary’s,” which implies that God wishes us to spend our time saying something over & over again or to prove that we our somehow better or more pious by repeating that which He has already heard.
            He did speak of praying in private, by oneself and He was very clear about that. He didn’t offer any exceptions, such as you have. Please refer to the New Testament if you wish.

          • Tom Crowe

            Marsha— As I also pointed out, saying “I love you” over and over again in true sincerity to one whom you love is not “vain” repetition, but quite understandable repetition. Do you disagree? If you agree, then please explain how addressing the Mother of God with the words of Gabriel multiple times so that one might consider what they mean for her, for us, and for our salvation, and coming to more deeply and truly appreciate the love of God for us expressed in those words is “vain” repetition. Further, if Christ told us to pray in those particular words that he taught us that we know as the Lord’s Prayer, or the Our Father, ought we never to say those words over and over again? Or would that also not be “vain” repetition? Christ and his Apostles said “Do not fear” and “Love one another” many, many times. Were those examples of “vain” repetition? Or examples of non-vain repetition? You might note that I am, in fact, referring to the New Testament. And I’m still awaiting an answer of how/where Tebow’s public faith is in any way offensive or legitimately, demonstrably crosses any bounds of good faithfulness and “giving an account of the joy that is in you,” as we are admonished to do?

          • Marsha

            Tom, I believe my quotes from Jesus are quite accurate. Response to your examples are therefore unnecessary.

          • Tom Crowe

            As do I for mine. But quotation obviously isn’t the end of the question because many people throughout the millennia have read the same text and come away with vastly different interpretations. I was at least justifying my interpretation through logic and human experience. And if we believe that the entirety of the Bible is the Word of God then every passage in the Bible, including those which admonish us to give public witness to our faith, is a word from Jesus. Which is why I’m baffled that you choose only to read only one. Seems more to me like you choose not to respond because you can’t.

          • Marsha

            Thank-you Tom. You certainly have the right to your interpretations. I chose not to respond because the quotes from Jesus make it unnecessary for me to do so. He was quite clear.

          • Tom Crowe

            Of course, Marsha. I wonder, Marsha, how you square what you are so certain Christ was saying in Matthew 6:5 with the Great Commission, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20). After which the Apostles went out and preached and, yes, prayed publicly, converting 3K on the day of Pentecost itself. Were they shut up in their small rooms like you think Matthew 6:5 commands? Or were they being public witnesses to Christ, as he had commanded them? Seems like it would be tough to go and convert the nations if you keep your prayer and praise confined to your small room. And I’m just reading what Christ said and his Apostles clearly believed he meant, there. So far I’m presenting lots of evidence that your interpretation of one solitary verse may be inadequate, and all you are doing is holding onto what you think is the only possible meaning, without considering the context, the audience, and the rest of what we know from Scripture and the actions of Christ and his Apostles. Why do you insist on such a narrow, selective view?

          • Marsha

            Tom, simply because the specific quotes from Jesus don’t adhere to your personal interpretations doesn’t mean that I’m taking a narrow view. Why would I respond to your personal beliefs? I’m not here to be right or wrong or to prove anyone else right or wrong. I’m simply quoting Jesus. You can interpret and expand upon the words of Jesus anyway you want.

          • Lam

            A really quick bible search and I found these:
            “The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night [d]they do not cease to say,
            (Rev 4)

            “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
            1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

          • Joe M

            Marsha. Are you arguing that Christians can never be seen praying publicly or they are violating the idea of Matthew 6:6? — I still don’t get what the complaint against him is here? That he should be more bashful about being Christian? This seems to expose an ugly undercurrent in our society that there are people who pretend to want a happy, tolerant separation of church of state. But, secretly want to eradicate Christianity entirely, wherever it is. Perhaps if those people would air their true feelings as openly as Tebow does, it would be clear to all of us what this is all about. It wouldn’t be the first time in history that a movement attached themselves to that mission.



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