5280 Feet

I tried to delay this topic. Actually, that’s not true at all. I was never going to address it. Didn’t even feel any real pressure to. I had a couple folks ask me about him on Twitter but wasn’t inspired. And, that’s not because I don’t cover sports or am somehow above a cheap human interest story (I do, and I’m not). But, to me there was no real story in a Tim Tebow song. Certainly not one that had any fresh angle that I was excited about. Now, Egyptian elections? On it.

At some point, however, you can’t be a credible rap news site and continue to avoid such a national event. The David Gergen’s of the world start taking you a little less serious. Bill Kristol doesn’t call quite as often. Serious people look to me for what it all means. To help them make sense of the mysterious world of the National Football League.

I really don’t have the energy to recount the entire Tim Tebow story. All-time great college quarterback at the University of Florida. Universally doubted as an NFL caliber starting QB. 4th string on the Denver Broncos depth chart. As a result of impossibly bad play by the starter, Kyle Orton, a crush of public opinion forces the hand of Bronco management who starts Tebow after a 1-4 start to the season (for my non-sports readers that’s 1 win to 4 losses). Tebow is mercilessly criticized by pundits and performs at a statistically absurd low level. All the while, he leads the Denver Broncos on an inexplicable 7-1 run, in spite of barely being able to throw the ball in a manner that resembles, in any respect, a thrown football. Included in those 7 wins are 5 or 6 of the most improbable comebacks ever seen, culminating in yesterday’s most stunning victory over the Chicago Bears at Mile High stadium in Denver. The Broncos were down 10 with two and a half minutes left and won 13-10.

ESPN commentators, who have been tearing apart his technical ability for months, stared blankly into the cameras postgame. And said things like “wigi board,” “magic eightball,” “floo powder,” and “banana pants.” Actually, they didn’t say “magic eightball.”

Another critical detail about Tim Tebow: he may be the most outspoken athlete concerning his Christian faith that there has ever been. Eye black with bible verses. Kneeling prayers mid game. Heaven pointing. Pro-life commercials. Glory-to-God given before EVERY statement to the media. Every single one.

I have never been a Tim Tebow fan. He was a gator. Who could reasonably cheer for that?

I’m also a little queasy of Jesus cheerleading. Full disclosure, I wore a “Jesus is BOSS” (as in Hugo Boss) shirt in college. I have spent my entire life being roughly public with my faith. I guess in time I’ve been increasingly concerned about what those displays really say to others and about myself. Jesus himself asked us to do our praying in closets, not on corners. And, there is just something too rote about thanking God every single time you open your mouth. I wrestle with how to keep the name of God precious. The Divine is not something to hide. But, it’s also not something to parade, like a float.

What is happening in Denver is fundamentally a sports story. The roster of the Broncos has rallied around a young and relentless quarterback and are outperforming their talent. It’s one of the greatest underdog stories we’ve seen in a while.

It is at the same time a story about faith. Not that God has picked sides in the AFC West. But, that He is our strength in all things. Tim Tebow knows that truth and is unafraid in life and in football.

I am as happy as I’ve been in a long time watching the Broncos be really special at football week after week. I’m also happy that Tebow honors the Lord in it all.

Performed by ipoet. Produced by pumpkinFoot.

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All Things