Religion and the game of football

Tim Tebow, the Denver Broncos quarterback who’ll play the Vikings this Sunday, turns a lot of people off with his high-profile prosthelytizing.

“If you’re married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife ‘I love her’ the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity? And that’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ is that it is the most important thing in my life,” he said last week while rebutting criticism that he’s more pastor than passer.

“There’s no reason to be repulsed by it,” Rabbi Brad Hirschfield said yesterday on his weekly video presentation for the Washington Post. “Unless and until it becomes not just an expression of faith but a demand that others share in that faith — at that point we should not just be repulsed by it, we should actually stop it.”

Even Kurt Warner, another quarterback who regularly mixes religion and football, has suggested Tebow tone it down.

“I know what he’s going through, and I know what he wants to accomplish, but I don’t want anybody to become calloused toward Tim because they don’t understand him, or are not fully aware of who he is. And you’re starting to see that a little bit.”

You think?

While there are plenty of calls in the media for Tebow to tone it down, the headline writers aren’t ready to disconnect Tebow from his religion.

Take the Star Tribune today:

Resurrected defense puts Tebow in position to succeed. Apparently it’s a defense that might crucify the Vikings.

On Monday morning, after a prayerful Tebow watched a field goal win it for his team, the Star Tribune got a “two for” in the headline:


The Star Tribune, of course, isn’t the only newspaper in the country linking Tebow’s religion to his performance. The New York Post headline after the Broncos beat the Jets last week referred to him as “divine.”

The Daily News ran this route:


The Denver victory could have been sweet retribution for Tebow for this game-preview cover on the Post:


The local scribes haven’t yet played with the obvious headline for the upcoming Vikings-Tebow game. Perhaps they’re saving that for Monday morning, after Tebow plays a team whose quarterback is named Christian.