This past weekend, the Broncos defeated the Steelers in overtime by what has been deemed a miracle pass to Demaryius Thomas. Many thanked God while others “Tebowed” in excitement. Never before has football and religion collided in such an interesting and controversial form. Can you even have a Tim Tebow conversation without
mocking discussing religion? Can “Tebowing” and “praying” be used interchangeably under the guise of sincerity? Critics accuse Tebow of making a mockery of Christianity while football fanatics embrace it. The league is full of outlandish football celebrations, felons, drug users/dealers, etc; a few seconds giving thanks to God after a touchdown doesn’t seem like a bad thing. The politics and contradictions of religion has always been a subject of great critique when it justified violence and non-egalitarian ideals and misinterpretations of biblical principles. Tebow is not exempt from that same criticism. Divine intervention is almost expected when the Broncos play and so is the mockery that follows his humble celebrations.
Tebow has been compared to Jesus Christ on many occasions, to, both, suggest that he is a religious allegory and to rationalize his faith. This comparison was closely analyzed by the Huffington Post after he completed 10 passes. He average 31.6 yards when he passed to Thomas, who was born on Christmas Day. In the final quarter, the rating was 31.6 being the most watched wild-card game since 1988. Additionally, the only interception Ben Roethlisberger threw on Sunday was on 3rd and 16.
During one game, Bill Mahr tweeted, “Wow, Jesus just ***** Tim Tebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is Tebowing, saying to Hitler, ‘Hey, Buffalo’s killing them.’” Other commentators say Tebow should leave “Jesus talk” to preachers and evangelists. Tim Tebow has not suggested that his opponents don’t have a chance because Jesus is a Bronco’s fan. He simply thanks Jesus for his accomplishments. Philosophers such as Nietzsche, Marx, and Kant dwell on the possible consequences of exploiting orthodox religious praxis. In other words, there are consequences to “man-made” gods and the exploitation of such. Using their rhetoric, we should deconstruct these allegorical ideals that aim to paint Tebow as something other than what he is: an NFL quarterback.
This isn’t the first time an athlete’s religion has come into the spotlight and analyzed from every point. So, why is Christianity so offensive now? Is it religious insensitivity because many fans are Islamic, Buddhist, Judaic, Rastafarian, Atheist, etc.? Does his religion matter and could “Tebowing” be considered blasphemous?!