(Photo: Reuters / Rick Wilking)
Sports media types are running out of superlatives in describing what it is exactly that makes Denver Broncos phenom Tim Tebow tick, especially now that the team’s latest victory over the Chicago Bears was the most improbable yet.
An irresistible force of nature … divine intervention … miraculous, and so on are the words writers and broadcasters grasp at.
So unexplainable are Tebow’s winning ways (three overtime victories, four straight when trailing at the two-minute warning, and 7-1 since taking the reins) that writers for ESPN’s “Stats and Info” blog tried to quantify the “improbability of Tebow’s winning streak.”
ESPN calculated that by “multiplying out the Broncos’ lowest chances in each game of the win streak, Denver’s probability to win all six games was 0.0007 percent, approximately one in 137,000. The odds are better that a flipped coin comes up heads 17 consecutive times.”
Then, there is the factor of Tebow’s Christian faith. Broncos’ post-game and highlight reports usually do not go without including a clip of Tebow mentioning his love for Jesus. With more wins under his belt accomplished in admirable fashion, reporters can no longer stick for too long on the subject of his “questionable skills.”
Sports analysts and game day writers are increasingly turning to matters of not just "his faith," but belief in general. Whether they believe in God or not, their sports stories have become a forum for public discussion on Christianity, the Bible, and the question on many minds, “Does God want the Broncos to win?”
Christian apologist Lee Strobel, who wrote the bestselling book The Case for Christ, has lived in Denver for two years. As a former crime reporter and editor for the Chicago Tribune he is well acquainted with how skeptical reporters can be on many subjects, including faith.
Strobel himself was once an atheist. It was while writing a book aimed at disproving that God exists that he found the opposite to be true, and committed his life to Jesus.
"Many members of the media are pretty jaded about faith,” Strobel told The Christian Post on Monday. “I think, though, that they're seeing something special in Tebow – and I hope that encourages them to begin asking questions about God."
Unlike some Christians questioning the way and frequency in which Tebow expresses his faith on and off the field, Strobel does not have a problem with the quarterback’s demeanor.
"I think Tebow comes across as genuine because he's really sincere about his faith. He even says, 'God bless you' to tacklers after a particularly hard hit,” he said. “It seems natural for him to thank God and to acknowledge his coaches and teammates the way he does. It's Tebow being Tebow.
“While I might express things a little differently, I wouldn't try to change Tebow because that's who he authentically is."
Originally from Chicago, Strobel is up close and personal to Colorado’s love affair with the Broncos and recent mania over Tebow. He serves as co-director of The Institute at Cherry Hills, an evangelism and apologetics ministry at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch.
"I like the way the Tebow phenomenon has everybody talking. Here in Denver, he's the topic of conversation everywhere you go,” he explained. “With seekers being especially open during the Christmas season, it's a great time to get into spiritual conversations – and Tebow provides an on-ramp to discuss faith issues."