The 4th dimension: Faith-based football
No quarterback in the history of the National Football League (NFL) has gotten more media attention than second-year, Denver quarterback, Tim Tebow. What Tebow brings or does not bring in to the Denver offense, in terms of quarterbacking ability, has consumed countless amounts of electronic- and print-media commentary. As for the 24-year-old Tebow’s quarterbacking skills, he suffers from the same lack of experience that afflicted even Hall of Famer, John Elway, whose first three NFL seasons in Denver were less than stirring.
Yet, from the outset of Tebow’s NFL career, the Sinistra Media (which this writer categorizes as the agnostic/atheistic, hard-drinking, bed-hopping, pro-choice crowd), have been on Tebow’s case as lacking NFL-level skills and also ridiculing him for his overt religiosity.
But wait. Throughout its long history, many, many NFL players have openly expressed their belief in God with pre-game team prayers, by pointing to the Heavens after making a good play, and by falling to their knees in post-game prayer circles. To name only a few: Reggie White, Randall Cunningham, Brian Dawkins, Champ Bailey, Larry Fitzgerald, Donovan McNabb, La Dainian Tomlinson, Shaun Alexander, Donald Driver, and Jackie Battle. The Sinistra Media never dumped on them.
The thing about the nay-sayers, who are suspicious of the virtue of others, is that they are actually telling us about their own inner values. Psychologists call this “projection.” The naysayers know what they would do in the face of temptations or hard challenges and they suspect that they would not measure up.
What about Tebow’s skill set? Former pro-bowler and Super Bowl winning quarterback, Trent Dilfer, says quarterbacks who, like Tebow, are good at running “play-action” plays as part of a “run-pass-option offense,” are tri-dimensional in that defensive players “find themselves in the almost impossible situation of entering a three-reaction mode. They can’t just react to the fake handoff, and they can’t just second-react to the threat of the pass. They have to react a third time to the threat of the run by the quarterback.”
Plus with Tim Tebow, there is an intangible “fourth dimension” which could be described as: “faith-based football.” Tebow, however, is the first to say that God has better things to do than intervene in the outcome of football games. But he also says that his faith in Jesus Christ has played the dominant role in his life and in the development of his mind and body.
Before the San Diego game, Denver Coach John Fox asked Tebow to address his teammates. Tebow quoted Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” [NIV]. Tebow’s “fourth dimension” has inspired his teammates to have faith in each other, to believe in each other, and play much better than the so-called experts ever thought possible. To which Tebow responds, “My teammates make me look better than I really am.”
The Arizona Cardinal’s Larry Fitzgerald, who joins 35 teammates each week in Bible study, says this about Tebow, “I’m happy for him. He’s had success doing it the right way. He’s setting a good example for kids by demonstrating that whatever your religion, if you believe strongly in it, live your life the way you want to live it, don’t let society dictate how you live your faith."
Will the Broncos lose some games with Tebow at quarterback? All NFL teams lose, even the Green Bay Packers. Will the Broncos blame God for losing to New England? Again, Tebow says God doesn’t get involved in game scores. Most likely, they will pray for the determination to spend more time in the weight room (where Tebow works harder than anyone), and the patience to watch more game films. Next season, the Christians might eat the Lions.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
©2011. William Hamilton.