CBSSports.com National Columnist

Unbelievable -- Tebow believes faith equates to starting in NFL

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What if God's plan for Tim Tebow is to be Kyle Orton's backup?

Anyone ever think of that?

Vying for the starting job in Denver, Tim Tebow is famous for ignoring critics: 'Others who say I won't make it are wrong.' (Getty Images)  
Vying for the starting job in Denver, Tim Tebow is famous for ignoring critics: 'Others who say I won't make it are wrong.' (Getty Images)  
No. Of course not. Nobody ever thought of that, least of all Tim Tebow. He has gone through life believing -- knowing -- that God's plan for him involves the spectacular, not the mundane. It's kind of like reincarnation: People who believe in that sort of thing tend to think they were someone famous in a previous life. I've never heard anyone say that, in another life, they shoveled out stables for a small farm in Kansas.

People are grandiose in their beliefs, religious or not, and Tim Tebow is no different. And to this point he has been correct. His life has been grandiose. He was the best high school player in America. The best college player in America, and one of the most accomplished players -- one Heisman, two national titles -- in history. A first-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010. Christian role model. A hero on and off the field, in this country and others. His life? Grandiose, every step of the way.

Now others are saying Tebow will never be a good NFL quarterback, and he doesn't believe it. Which is fine. But check out the reason why he doesn't believe it.

"Others who say I won't make it are wrong," Tebow told the Denver Post on Thursday. "They don't know what I'm capable of and what's inside me. My family and my friends have been bothered by what's gone on, and I tell them to pay no attention to it. I'm relying as always on my faith."

He'll make it in this league -- for the Bible tells him so.

Please don't get the wrong idea here. I'm not against religion, and specifically I'm not against Tim Tebow's religion. I've spent years in church, praying to the same God. I've shuffled to the front of the church in tears a time or two when pastor Guy Melton in Florida or Steve Larson in North Carolina made a call for us sinners. Is that enough for you to take what I'm saying as commentary, not hate speech?

Hope so, because there's not an ounce of dislike in my speech -- not for Tebow's God, not for Tebow himself. As far as famous athletes go, Tebow is one of the nicest people I've ever seen. Heck, he's one of the nicest people I've ever seen, period. Famous, not famous. Anyone. If Tebow was a schoolteacher who lived down the street, I'd tell you he's the nicest person in my neighborhood, and my neighborhood has some really nice folks. But I've never seen anyone like Tebow. As a person, I love that young man.

But his faith baffles me, or at least the way he expresses his faith, because it never allows for personal failure -- and that's not the world we live in.

Confidence is one thing, OK? Confidence is mandatory for a professional athlete, even confidence that pushes the bounds of reality. Despite limitations seen by others, Tim Tebow exudes the confidence of a future star in the NFL, and that's normal. It's mandatory.

But his confidence isn't only in himself. It's in his God. Tebow has basically said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "I'll be a starter in this league because God loves me that much."

More on Denver Broncos

If that bit of poetic license on my behalf seems unfair, well, here's exactly what Tebow told the Post on Thursday in a conversation about his role in Denver, his surprise at learning starter Kyle Orton wouldn't be traded to the Dolphins after all, his reaction to ESPN announcer Merril Hoge's stinging rebuke of Tebow's future in the league.

Tebow said, "Others who say I won't make it are wrong."

And Tebow said, "I'm relying as always on my faith."

And Tebow said, "I know that all this will have a way of working out."

For the Bible tells me so.

That's how Tebow really thinks. Here's what he wrote in his book about faith:

"Faith is like a muscle," Tebow wrote in Through My Eyes. "You trust God for the small things and when He comes through, your muscle grows. This enables you to trust God for the bigger things, in fact, all things."

When He comes through?

What about the times when He doesn't?

It happens. A child is sick, parents pray, and still the child dies. A tornado is coming, people pray, and still they are left homeless. God's plan is mysterious, as we say.

Being a backup in the NFL doesn't compare to those situations -- but what if God's mysterious plan for Tebow is to watch from the sideline? God doesn't plan for every Christian quarterback to be a starter, and as far as I know, He doesn't play favorites. Not even for Tim Tebow.

It's possible that Tebow is responsible for hundreds if not thousands of Christian converts around the globe, from his mission trips to Croatia, Thailand and the Philippines -- and even from the example he sets here in the United States. Everyone's different, but if you're one of those people questioning life, wanting to be happier or more fulfilled, it would be easy to look at Tim Tebow's easy grace and say, "I want whatever he's got."

Tebow has been a great billboard for Christianity -- just as Muhammad Ali has been a great billboard for Islam, and Sandy Koufax a great billboard for Judaism -- but that doesn't mean he will be rewarded with a starting job in the NFL. Maybe deep inside his heart Tebow knows that, but from the outside it doesn't look that way. From the outside it looks like Tebow equates his love for God in heaven with tangible rewards here on earth.

And that's more than wrong.

It's blasphemy.


Gregg Doyel is a columnist for CBSSports.com. He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.
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