Tim Tebow wandered the Denver Broncos’ sideline Sunday wearing the intense, fired-up expression of a man possessed, and at the end his team — and a simple Bible verse that appeared right there in the stats — triumphed.
Tebow’s line in the Broncos’ 29-23 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers — an eerie 316 yards passing on 10 completions for a 31.6-yard average — means, once again, that supernatural significance is being assigned to a mere football game, with the Good Book trouncing the playbook.
John 3:16, of course, is the favorite verse for Tebow, a devout Christian who wrote “John 3:16” in his eyeblack during his days at Florida. It’s the first one kids, as least Lutheran kids, learn in Sunday school and, according to the New American Standard Bible, reads: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
While the Biblical tie-in makes a tidy story line, let’s give a little credit to John Elway, Demaryius Thomas, Coach John Fox, a home-field advantage and the age and injuries that caught up to the Steelers.
During the week leading up to the game, Elway, the Hall of Fame quarterback who is Denver’s vice president of football operations and Tebow’s chief doubter, challenged his QB to “pull the trigger.”
“He really answered the bell,” Elway told ESPN’s Ed Werder. “He came out and played great. You know what? He pulled that trigger. He put it on the money.”
Thomas, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass that covered 80 yards, also caught passes for 51 and 58 yards in regulation. The Steelers’ pass defense was dealing with the absence of Ryan Clark, as well as age and injuries. By now, though, you know where Tebow placed the credit for his stellar, no-turnover game. “First and foremost, I just want to thank my savior, the Lord, Jesus Christ,” Tebow said afterward. “I am so thankful for the platform God has given me.”
Maybe it was faith. Maybe it was the bonfire his boss lit beneath his backside. Whatever it was, Tebow was good Sunday. His platform gets a little bigger with a game Saturday night against the New England Patriots, the team that waltzed into Denver and ended the Broncos’ six-game winning streak last month. After that game, Tom Brady found Tebow and whispered to him. What, Tebow was asked Sunday, did Brady say? Did he, perhaps, mention meeting up again in the playoffs?
“He might have said something like that,” Tebow said. “I guess he’s a prophet.”
Which means, as ESPN’s Trey Wingo suggested, Tebow is the messiah. Let’s not go there. Right now, this minute, he’s a good quarterback and a great leader playing well.
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