Whether you follow professional sports or not, unless you’ve been secluded on a space station 500 miles above Earth, you’ve probably heard about Tim Tebow, starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Not since Joe Namath has there been so much controversy over a quarterback. Of course, Joe Namath was the proverbial bad boy and his notoriety well known. But Tim Tebow is the clean-cut, straight-laced kid with the warm smile; a likeable guy who believes in God and isn’t afraid to exhibit his beliefs.
Statistic wise, he’s ranked well below a half dozen or more other quarterbacks in the NFL. When he has a good game, his performance is extraordinary, and he literally performs miracles. But when he has a bad game, it’s usually pathetically bad. For reasons no one has been able to explain, Tebow Mania is sweeping the nation, and even those who know little about football seem to be fascinated with him and cheering him on.
I’m a huge San Diego Chargers fan. The Denver Broncos are in the same division as the Chargers so we are huge rivals. For as long as I’ve been a Chargers fan—nearly 19 years—I’ve been a Bronco hater. The Chargers didn’t make the playoffs this year so they’ll be watching the Super Bowl on TV just like the rest of us—most of them anyway.
So, when the Chargers were eliminated from a playoff spot, I had to decide which team I would root for in the Super Bowl. If you’re not cheering for someone to win, it makes the whole event rather lackluster. Mostly because of Drew Brees, former Charger quarterback, my first choice was the New Orleans Saints with the Green Bay Packers second by a hair. As far as the Denver Broncos were concerned, I wanted them to be crushed. At least that was my initial reaction. But then something strange happened: I watched Tebow play and was bitten by the same bug that was infecting the rest of the nation. There was something about this kid that just made me want him to win.
After the Broncos beat the Pittsburg Steelers—in classic Tebow style—in sudden death overtime to advance to the next round of the playoffs, the world was just buzzing with Tebow Mania. But there was something even more interesting than the Broncos miracle win.
Many football players apply Eye Black grease under their eyes to reduce glare. During Tebow’s college years, he would write John 3:16 on the Eye Black, referring to his favorite passage in the Bible. In fact, this particular passage is, perhaps, the most widely remembered scripture in the entire Bible. In reviewing the game stats, an astute fan noticed an unbelievable phenomenon. During this game against Pittsburg, Tim Tebow threw passes equaling 316 yards. His average yardage per completed pass was 31.6. And the market share of viewers watching the game in the fourth quarter were—you guessed it—31.6. And here’s the icing on the cake: JOHN Fox is the head coach of the Denver Broncos and JOHN Elway is an Executive VP. Coincidence? I would bet a king’s ramsom that the Las Vegas odds against something like this happening is a gazillion to one.
So what does it all mean? Does God want the Broncos to win the Super Bowl? Has God given Tim Tebow special privileges? Is there a divine message somewhere hidden beneath the hoopla?
John 3:16— For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
As a Christian myself, I can tell you first hand that this single passage—one sentence, twenty five words—defines the entire foundation of Christianity. Could it be that God is reaching out to us? Millions of people caught up in this controversy, those who otherwise hadn’t a clue about scripture or the Bible, read these profound words for the first time—if for no other reason than curiosity. But they read it. Throughout the Bible, Jesus Christ preaches to all of His followers that we should spread the Good Word. Perhaps God has decided to offer some assistance.
Things that make you go, “Hmm.”