Tim Tebow’s 316 yards inspire ‘John 3:16’ searches

MARC PISCOTTY REUTERS Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow prays after the Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime in the … Continued



Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow prays after the Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime in the NFL AFC wild-card playoff football game in Denver on Sunday.

The Denver Broncos’ playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night was unlikely enough, but Tim Tebow’s passing yardage — the Christian quarterback threw 316 yards — sent commentators over the edge. The Associated Press reported that he also averaged 31.6 yards per completion. The religious connotations to John 3:16, a famous Bible verse, were too much for many to chalk up to chance.

For the true believers, it
was no coincidence.

View Photo Gallery: The quarterback for the Denver Broncos has become a polarizing figure in football, in part because of his outward displays of Christian faith.

Tebow has said previously that the Bible verse, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” is his favorite. When he wore the Scripture verse on his eye black during the National Championship Game in 2009, the term “John 3:16” was reportedly Googled more than 90 million times.

The Bible verse quickly became the most searched Google term Monday.

The Christian athlete has faced repeated criticism during this NFL season for wearing his faith on his sleeve. Bill Maher criticized Tebow (and Jesus) in a controversial Tweet after a Denver loss, and “Saturday Night Live” mocked the quarterback in a skit in which Jesus suggested that the quarterback “take it down a notch.”

Some say that the religious significance of Sunday’s game went deeper than the stats. In a column this weekend for The Washington Post’s Outlook section, David Kuo and Patton Dodd set up the showdown between Tebow and Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger this way:

The Broncos’ win Sunday means that, for a week at least, Tebow mania is here to stay.

More On Faith and Tebow:

Tebow: God’s plan is for me to be a ‘role model for kids through football’

Sally Jenkins: Bill Maher and Tim Tebow: Why are so many offended by the quarterback’s faith?


Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • DrPeck

    Bill Maher is scared to death of dying and where he could end up; he hates to see anyone else have any peace of mind about what scares the hell out of (or in) him.

    It’s pretty pathetic when you let someones else’s religious beliefs get under your skin like it does for Bill Maher and some other “Tebow haters”. But some reacted that same way to Jesus too. It is seems to be based on their exaggerated fear or sense of being lost and alone apparently. Maybe they hate all the priests and actors too. And what about those people that go sing in the choirs every week, do they hate them too?

  • DrPeck

    correction: Maybe they hate all the priests and PASTORS too.

  • Mykeltegui

    I can tell you that not only does God have a hand in Tim Tebow’s life, God is reminding everyone else that He is here. It’s like His hand writing on a personal letter to mankind letting man know that He is still watching and caring. This display of 3:16 also shows what God can do through people like Tebow who follow him and devote themselves to God. God uses such people to accomplish His covenent with man. In this case God is reminding us of that covenent and that He is still honoring the agreement.
    This was no accident. This is God talking to everyone of us, yes even you.

  • mccutcheonrose

    I applaud Tim Tebow for his display of faith..it’s about time someone stands up for my Lord and Savior. I did not watch his game but watched the repub bs and it’s the same democrat bs.

  • dcrswm

    So WHEN the Broncos lose to the Pats does that prove god doesn’t exist or just YOUR god doesn’t exist?

  • nkri401

    I’ve been resisting but my will is weak and my free will is even weaker; so I bite.

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,”

    Why would God have only one son?
    Why did God do this some 2000 years ago instead of the some other time?
    Why God could not have had a son before or after?
    Why didn’t God give his son instead of dawning 99.9999999999% of all living things on earth?
    Did everyone that got drowned ended up in hell?
    Did everyone before the one and only one Son all ended up in hell?
    How long is eternity?
    What would one do for the eternity?

    I realize these questions were already been brought up by any bright 9 year olds but as I said my will is weak…


  • nkri401

    drowning instead of “dawning”

  • JJAngie

    Mathew 5:16
    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

  • Newdian

    @ Mljr…that scripture doesn’t even apply to this story. In that scripture Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees and how they boasted about how much money they gave to the poor. Tebow is not boasting but showing the love and grace of God in his life and how the Lord has blessed him. He is being a positive example and role model for young people. I applaud him and thank the Lord for what he is doing.

  • lwittsell

    Tim Tebow is on the right path. Those who mock Christ Jesus do not know the Bible and are dome to failure. Tim might lose a game in the future, but he has won the game of eternal life.

  • niki4


  • christopherJ1234

    I love how God will use a simple man of faith who does not deny His Name !!!!

  • dfite08

    I have nothing against Tim Tebow as a player. I abhor the media harping on an absurd sect of Christianity, giving it divine implications when it’s clearly not there. You can find these stupid numbers and patterns in everything, it’s never meant anything and never will.

  • dfite08

    Yeah, somehow this is how he’s decided to show he cares. Screw all those dying children under the age of 3 in Africa, that’s just part of the master plan for this person’s schitzophrenic deity.

  • ezrasalias-socialize

    Why would God give preference and favors to a millionaire football player, and at the same time give cancer to a three year old (or name any other tragedy). This whole thing reminds me of Monty Python’s Life of Brian. ‘Tell us, oh Brian, give us a sign.” Arrogance and narcissism is all this is.

  • ezrasalias-socialize

    I had a bowel movement at 3:16 this morning. What does that mean?

  • grappler1987

    316 yards? Love it!

  • nkri401


    Would you applaud Mr. Tebow if he displayed his faith by saying “Allahu Akbar”?

  • tony55398

    Jesus was the Father’s Love sent for us all, whoever Believes in Love made flesh in the person of Jesus the Christ, the Wisdom of the Eternal Father made manifest. If only people would Love one another, that is God’s greatest desire.

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