NORTH RICHLAND HILLS (CBSDFW.COM) – The New England Patriots may have clobbered Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos Saturday, but it’s not Tebow’s game on the field that’s been getting attention lately. It’s his faith.
“He’s not really a good pocket passer, he’s not good at throwing a 10 yard curl route,” said football fan Kyle Irwin.
Tebow has a fan base that extends far beyond the sport he plays, thanks to his outward profession of his Christian beliefs.
The football player is often seen kneeling to pray after a big win, a move many are now referring to as “Tebowing.”
Many praise him as a good role model: For once, controversy is following a public figure who is open about living a moral life.
“It doesn’t matter what the others say or what people say against him, he stands for what he believes,” said Debra Bryant, a member at Gateway Church in North Richland Hills. “It’s something you carry with you wherever you are, whether you’re at church, or out in the business world, or in a sports stadium just being a fan watching.”
“I think it’s about time somebody stands out and is a light for the whole country,” added Miles Dowdy.
At Gateway’s North Richland Hills campus, pastor Marchus Brecheen said he feels the star’s openness about his religion shows other Christians not to feel embarrassed for their beliefs.
“He’s a man who says it’s okay to say what you believe in and still be passionate about what you do,” said Gateway’s NRH campus pastor Marchus Brecheen, “I think Tim Tebow puts a good face, an appropriate face on Christianity. I think it’s an inspiration to anyone, whether you work at a restaurant, or Wal-Mart, or elsewhere, there’s not any reason for us to be ashamed of our faith.”
Love him or hate him, Tebow is among the most controversial figures in sports right now, and fans of the quarterback say that’s a good thing. An ESPN poll last week found him to be the most popular athlete in the country.
His supporters say he’s an inspiration.
“Tim Tebow makes us all feel guilty because he’s such a phenomenal person,” said Tuck Matteson, a Patriots fan who roots for Tebow, “even though he has all of these opportunities to not be.”
“The Broncos have had some real questionable characters in the past few years,” said fan Jeff Messman, “so it’s great to see someone we can look up to.”
His spirituality may elevate his celebrity status, but does God play a role in his success on the field?
“I don’t think there is a separation of church and football, Irwin said with a laugh, “I don’t know, I guess he must be helping him out because it’s incredible stuff that’s happening.”
“I think Jesus Christ is a fan of anyone who knows him and loves him,” Pastor Brecheen said. “I don’t think that God is so interested in the outcome of the game. I am thankful that Tebow says ‘God help me do what you’ve made me to do to the best of my ability’ and I think there are players on both sides who will do that, so I don’t think Jesus is going to pick teams here.”