Controversial, to be sure. This guy has caused quite a ruckus in the sports world.
In 2010, a new rule was instituted for the next NCAA football season prohibiting messages on eye black. One of Tebow's trademarks was to show scriptures in his eye black, such as John 3:16. The media labeled this a "The Tebow Rule" since it would directly affect him.
What's amazing is how effective this simple method of spreading the gospel was. It has been reported that when he displayed John 3:16 in his eye black during the 2009 BCS Championship Game, that 92 million people Googled the verse during or immediately following the game.
But, what is the whole "Tebowing" phenomena all about? For Tim Tebow, it was simply an act of honoring and worshiping God, of giving God the glory. "Tebowing" has become a popular trend not just in America, but apparently around the world. There is even a website devoted to it (Tebowing.com)
The urbandictionary defines "Tebowing" as "To get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different."
Controversial is perhaps too mild a word.
The NY Times NFL Blog posted an article on "Keeping Religion Out of Football."
Former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer made an interesting comment during an interview on "The Ticket", a radio show in Denver. "...it always seemed to trivialize that importance of a relationship of that sort that people had with Jesus Christ or with God. Whatever it was it seemed to be an inappropriate place to bring it up after a football game or a basketball game or whatever..."
Yahoo sports refers to "Tebowing" as "something that people do, like planking and owling before it, for no reason other than to take pictures of it and put those pictures on the Internet."
Last week, a couple of high school students were suspended from school for "Tebowing" in the hallway. I was just about to get upset about this seeming religious persecution, until I read the article. One of the students, football and baseball player Connor Carrol was quoted as saying "We had no idea that we could get suspended for such a thing. It was a joke between a group of friends that took a life of its own. We figured at the most we would just be told to stop."
To the NY Times who acknowledges that arguments are rampant in sports, but arguing about religion shouldn't be, I would simply say then don't argue. Tim Tebow isn't on some sinister mission to convert the NFL. He's simply praising his God, and the last time I checked, the constitution grants us not only Freedom of Religion, but Freedom of Speech.
To Jake Plummer I would say I don't think there is an inappropriate place to bring up God. I don't think that talking about God at a football game or a basketball game trivializes my relationship with God anymore than talking about my son or other members of my family would trivialize those relationships. I think it's natural to want to talk about someone you love in a variety of settings.
To Yahoo sports, I would say that to equate what Tim Tebow does with people who imitate him only to take pictures of it to post on the internet is missing the point.
To the suspended high school students, OK, I guess you still have the right under Freedom of Speech and Assembly, but the story started out sounding like you boys were being persecuted for a public display of Christianity. I was disappointed to find out that for you it was "a joke between a group of friends." Tim Tebow was being generous when he simply advised you to follow the rules.
I guess it's inevitable... something that starts out honestly enough, if it makes a big enough impact, will become a "fashion statement" rather than a statement of faith.
What do I think of Tim Tebow? He reminds me of one of my favorite movies. One that I recently got to watch again while I was still in the hospital after my surgery. Again, I cried like a baby. A great movie that I highly recommend that just happens to be about football and God.
It's called "Facing Giants." Here's a clip from it.