- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 8, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Bible reminds us to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. It makes no mention of football. But on Sundays, Americans are more likely to occupy the couch watching their favorite team than the church pew. Then along comes Tim Tebow, and we can have our faith and football, too.

The Denver Broncos quarterback, whom pigskin experts said didn’t possess the throwing skill to make the leap from the college game to the NFL, does nothing but win. He inherited the starting job after the Broncos played like ponies, stumbling to a 1-4 start. He’s since led his teammates on a wild 6-1 gallop into a tie for first place in the AFC West. At this early stage in his career, he’s chalked up a better winning record than Broncos Hall of Famer John Elway.

What makes Mr. Tebow unique is that for him, apparently, every day is Thanksgiving. A confirmed Christian, the 24-year-old wears his faith on his jersey and gives nonstop praise to God. He opens post-game news conferences with thanks to his “Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” On the field, after throwing a touchdown pass or scoring himself, he drops to one knee, forehead in hand, and murmurs words of thanks.

This often-repeated bow has already become an article of Americana, dubbed the “Te-Bow.” Living large on the Web at Tebowing.com, admirers post photos of themselves emulating their hero’s genuflection.

Not everyone is a fan of such religious diplays. When the Lions took on the Broncos at Mile High Stadium in October, Detroit linebacker Stephen Tulloch sacked the signal-caller, then struck a prayerful pose in mocking fashion. Denver traveled to Oakland the following Sunday to face the Raiders, and opposing fans greeted him with taunting signs that read, “Welcome to Hell.”

Other players have carried their faith onto the field, but Mr. Tebow’s overt Christianity, matched with a respectful demeanor, has prompted liberals in the media to pile on with stories ridiculing his piety. Widely hyped were comments by former Denver quarterback Jake Plummer advising that he tone down his references to Jesus Christ, and retired NFL great Kurt Warner, himself a devout Christian, urging him to let his play rather than his words act as a witness.

Most days, gloom gains ground across the nation, borne on fears of overspending in Washington, widespread unemployment and threats of nuclear proliferation overseas. A Real Clear Politics poll this week finds 73.5 percent of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track. There’s an uneasy feeling that maybe the Maker has quit making plays in the Land of the Free.

On Sunday, Mr. Tebow puts on a one-man show of American exceptionalism. Kneeling before stepping out on the gridiron - like George Washington at Valley Forge - he defies doubters and rides the Broncos from one unlikely victory to the next, all the while giving credit to God and his teammates.

Football may be only a game, but during this fall of disillusionment, Americans’ spirits have been raised by a Mile-High miracle. That’s reason to give thanks, and maybe even a “Te-Bow.”

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