Tim Tebow, Losing His Religion

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Take another look at the picture above. Of course you see former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow praying. But look closer. It doesn't take a very hard look to notice that other NFL players from the Broncos and Oakland Raiders are all kneeling and praying together. 

Wait a sec. You mean Tebow isn't the only religious guy in the NFL?

Nope. People just act like he is.

If you watched the Green Bay Packers slice up the Chicago Bears in Week 16 of the 2011 season, then you saw Packers receiver James Jones score two touchdowns.

After both of his touchdowns he stopped, took a knee and looked identical to Tebow when Tebow takes a knee. Only Jones knows if he was saying a prayer or not, but no one is bothering Jones about it.

That's the way it should be—for everyone, including Tebow.

Take a listen to St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson during a post-game interview.

The very last question that he answered (at 3:05) was about how he kept his sanity during a losing season. He responded with a religious answer. His answer didn't make the news.

Tim Tebow is not Steven Jackson. He is not James Jones. And he's not any of the other hundreds of NFL players who perform some type of religious act before, during or after a game.

Tebow is himself—a polarizing NFL quarterback that should not be scrutinized by the fact that he takes a knee on the sideline. After all, NFL players have been taking a knee on the sidelines for years, even decades before Tebow put on a NFL jersey. 

Take a look at the ending of the 1994 AFC Championship game between the San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers. Pay close attention around the :39 mark. 

At the :39 mark there was a Charger player engaged in what looked like a prayer on the sidelines. Or "Tebowing." But Tebow was only seven years old. How could that be?

The Charger player, and his praying, didn't make headlines. The outcome of the game is what the media and fans focused on. As it should be. Not the praying that takes place during the game.

So in 2012 how about we focus on football and leave the judgmental stuff off the field. Let's not focus on Tebow's prayer stance before or after the game. Rather, we should examine Tebow's talent and whether or not he possesses the skills to lead the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl. 

From here on out, let's just watch football and let these guys pray, point to the sky, cross themselves before a punt return or have prayer circles after games. After all, it's their right to do so. And besides, none of these players—including Tebow—have thrust their religious views on fans. It's the media who does that.

Oh yeah, and Saturday Night Live

So, if the NFL is getting too religious for you, then it's time to stop watching. Lord knows, we shouldn't cut the religious stuff out because of people's delicate sensibilities. But who knows, with all the rules surrounding the players and their actions, Patrick Peterson may get fined next year for crossing himself before catching another punt. Or if James Jones wants to take a knee before doing a Lambeau Leap, then he'll need to prove it had nothing to do with praying.

But before that happens, it's time for fans, commentators and everyone else to leave Tebow's beliefs alone, just like they do for everyone else. 

Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins Bio

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With FieldandCourt.com, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on FieldandCourt.com. Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).

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Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With FieldandCourt.com, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on FieldandCourt.com. Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).