4 ways of looking at Tim Tebow

The Denver Broncos' unlikely star keeps leading his team to win after win, trumpeting his Christian faith along the way. What should we make of his piety?

From his miraculous wins to his evangelical faith, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is an anomaly in the NFL, and a source of constant consternation for football purists.
(Image credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

On Sunday, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos pulled off yet another improbable victory, this time beating the Chicago Bears 13-10 in overtime after end-of-game theatrics that included an impossibly long 59-yard field goal. But it was just one of many "miraculous comeback victories" for the Broncos with Tebow at the helm. Denver was 1-4 earlier this year when coaches decided to bench the first-string quarterback and give Tebow a shot. Tebow, a college star at Florida whose unorthodox throwing motion is as reviled as his running skills are heralded, is now 7-1 as a starter, and the Broncos are a good bet to make the playoffs. But it's Tebow's character as much as his late-game heroics and unconventional style that has made him an unlikely star. The 24-year-old is a vocal evangelical Christian, known for praying on the field and promising to remain a virgin until marriage. Naturally, commentators are having a field day analyzing Tebow's success. Leaving his athletic prowess (or lack thereof) aside, here are four ways of looking at the NFL's newest star:

The pious optimist: "You needn't be an evangelical Christian (as he is), a seriously religious person, or even a football fan to be transfixed and enlightened by his example," says Frank Bruni in The New York Times. Sure, not everyone can relate to Tebow's fervent faith, but he maintains broad appeal. "He reminds us that strength comes in many forms and some people have what can be described only as a gift for winning." That gift isn't about sheer athletic prowess, "it's about hope, confidence, and a special confidence" that leads a person to persevere. "It boils down to stubborn optimism and bequeaths a spark. A swagger. An edge."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us