Tim Tebow has helped the Denver Broncos turn their season around with a win streak that put them in position to win the AFC West and claim a spot in the playoffs. Their loss to the Bills on Sunday, a hiccup in an otherwise stellar run, prompted comedian and atheist Bill Maher to take to Twitter to give his take on why the Broncos lost. As Elizabeth Tenety reported:

Atheist talk show host Bill Maher is hardly known for his reverence for religious belief, but a profanity-laced tweet about Tim Tebow’s faith has him in particularly hot water.

After Tebow’s Denver Broncos lost to the Bills on Saturday, the ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ host tweeted: “Wow, Jesus just f----- #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler ‘Hey, Buffalo’s killing them’”

Maher’s tweet led some to call for a boycott of HBO and is the latest --and perhaps most crude --in a stream of criticism about the religious quarterback.

Tebow, who was raised by missionary parents and readily shares his Christian beliefs on and off the field, has been on the receiving end of considerable criticism for wearing his faith on his uniform sleeve. In a recent Saturday Night Live skit, Jesus, (played by Jason Sudeikis) suggested that Tebow “take it down a notch” on the religious fervor. Former NFL MVP and Christian Kurt Warner also suggested that Tebow demonstrate his faith less in words, and more in actions. Even on the field, Tebow has been satirized, with several Detroit Lions players mocking his “Tebowing” prayer pose during an October game.

While Tebow’s success and outspoken Christianity have sparked some criticisms, others have credited his success to the Second Coming. As Sally Quinn explained:

There are a lot of fans out there who believe that Tim Tebow may be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I’m serious.

What if they’re right?

The idea of Tebow being the Messiah was already out there when the inexperienced Denver Broncos quarterback began winning for his team in the fourth quarter. Before anyone knew it, the football phenomenon — who openly prayed on the field — had led the team to win six out of seven games. It was only last weekend that the Broncos finally lost to the New England Patriots. Even so, Tebow had scored a touchdown in the first quarter.

People are wearing jerseys with his number and “Jesus” on the back. They are calling him “The Chosen One.” They say that if Christ is to return to Earth, a well known sports figure might be the perfect incarnation. Not to mention that Tebow himself is a Christlike figure in his morals, values, and the way he lives his everyday life. Son of missionaries, he says he is a virgin. He and his parents started an orphanage in the Philippines, which he visits frequently.

His pastor, Wayne Hanson of Summit Church outside Denver, said the Broncos are winning because of God. “It’s not luck,” said Hanson. “Luck isn’t winning six games in a row. It’s favor. God’s favor. … God has blessed his hard work.”

In a totally unofficial survey, TMZ readers were asked who was a more influential Christian: the pope or Tebow. The result? Pope 55, Tebow 45.

To “Tebow” has become a verb. You kneel, place an elbow on one bended knee, head in hand. It has become de rigueur in many football stadiums around the country, as well as a popular meme on Facebook. Three Long Island students were recently suspended for Tebowing in the halls of their high school.

Tebow, as was Jesus Christ, has been teased, criticized and mocked unmercifully for his public displays of faith, which included in college, writing the numbers of Bible verses in his eye black.

Tebow and his Broncos will face a former teammate Sunday in a critical Week 17 matchup against Kyle Orton and the Chicago Bears. As AP reported :

The Denver Broncos might have to face former quarterback Kyle Orton with two backup safeties if Brian Dawkins and Quinton Carter can’t play in Sunday’s showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs, who are trying to deny Tim Tebow a trip to the playoffs.

Although Carter (hip) participated in the entire two-hour workout Wednesday, Dawkins was held out of the team’s final full-padded practice of the regular season because of a neck injury that has bothered him for much of the month.

Publicly at least, the Broncos are de-emphasizing Orton’s return to Denver, saying that clinching the AFC West and making the playoffs for the first time in six seasons is their chief mission.

“Even if Orton wasn’t playing on that team, it would still be a big game,” Harris said. “We all know this is a big opportunity for us to go to the playoffs. We’ve got a chance to do something that we haven’t been done here in a long time.”

The Broncos know Orton doesn’t get rid of the ball as quickly as Tom Brady or Ryan Fitzpatrick. But they also know as much as anybody that they’d better pressure him to avoid exposing their shuffled secondary against a quarterback who threw for 299 yards in ending the Packers’ perfect season two weeks ago, Orton threw for 300 in taking the Raiders down to the wire last weekend.

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