figure in the sports world. He's been called the "Mile High Messiah"
for bringing the Denver Broncos back to life with his magical play
at quarterback. Tebow has also been mocked openly by other NFL
players and criticized by many for his religious beliefs.
"Everybody seems to be looking for some kind of deep meaning in
what he does," said Father Robert Crofut of the St. Thomas the
Apostle Parish in Norwalk. "I believe that Tebow is just expressing
thanks for who he is and the gifts that he is blessed with."
Those who criticize Tebow for pointing to the sky after completing
a touchdown pass or taking a knee to pray before a potential
game-winning field goal, feel he should keep his gestures private.
Others say that Tebow is just being himself and staying true to
"He can't separate what he believes in just to make others happy,"
said Father Michael J. Bachman of Saint Ladislaus Parish. "I respect
what he does even though it might not be a popular stance."
After helping the Broncos win their sixth consecutive game earlier
this season against the Chicago Bears, Tebow, who won the Heisman
Trophy while at the University, made sure to let everyone know
who came first in his life.
"I want to thank my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ," Tebow said
to Fox NFL reporter Tony Siragusa. "He seems to be really a
sincere man and he's demonstrating an act of thanks," said Crofut.
"I don't think he's imposing his religion on anybody and believe
his gestures are really genuine."
In a sports world that has been riddled with scandal, Tebow has
been like an air freshener that covers up a bad odor. He accepts
being a role model and is bothered if some people are turned off
by actions when it comes to religion on the field.
"I think he's outstanding," said Joe Madaffari, athletic director
at Brien McMahon who played quarterback at Norwalk High School
in 1975. "What he's doing is unbelievable. He's unstoppable.
But if he's trying to push his religion on people, I'm against that."
Stephen Tulloch of the Detroit Lions was apparently against
Tebow and what he had been doing. In a game against the Broncos
last month, the linebacker stepped in front of Denver's star after
an incomplete pass and did the act of "Tebowing", the one-knee
prayer celebration authored by the second-year quarterback.
However, with Tebow's success and convictions, there are
some who hope this will encourage others to express their
beliefs more openly.
"He believes in what he's doing and that is admirable," said
Father Michael Boccaccio of Saint Philip Parish. "I think that
no matter what religion people are they should feel free to
express themselves spritually whether it's crossing themselves
or wearing a yarmulke."
Tebow might not be God's quarterback, but he's wearing his
faith on his sleeve and has turned many doubters into believers.
The Broncos are a different team with Tebow who might just
be on his way to authoring a "Mile High Miracle."