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Football players should thank God for blown plays?

by Brad A. Greenberg

January 12, 2012 | 6:21 pm

When I turned to ESPN on Monday, I joked with my wife that 50-50 they’d be talking about Tim Tebow. They weren’t, but after I changed channels during commercials and then switched back, they were. Fifty-fifty.

It seems everyone is talking about Tebow—the biggest downside to the Broncos still being in the playoffs (unless you’re a Steelers fan like the VideoJew—then there would be a bigger downside). But much as I like Tebow, I’m tired of all the hype and all the “controversy.” Never have so many people made such a big deal about such a mediocre professional athlete and what he stands for.

But I found the this video from William C. Rhoden for The New York times to make a meaningful point. We’ve talked about how Tebow doesn’t actually believe that God cares about the outcome of a football game. But what about when Tebow scores a touchdown and points to the sky as if to say, “Thanks, God, that one’s for you!”? Rhoden says:

“What bothers me about Tebow and the other heaven-pointers is that they only give thanks when they do something good. When is the last time you saw a defenseive back point to the sky when he gives up a touchdown or a wide receiver point to the sky after he drops a pass?”

Rhoden notes that usually, it’s the opposite. Remember the tantrum that Bills’ receiver Stevie Johnson’s threw on Twitter after dropping a game-winning touchdown? In case not, here’s the refresher:

I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO…

Rhoden says that “the reality is we often learn from mistakes more than accomplishments,” so players should demonstrate their faith making a bad play.

It’s an interesting point, but I don’t see it resonating. Instead, I see the lack of resonance saying something about the nature of humans: It’s easy to thank God when things are good, not so much when things seem bad. And blowing a play probably ranks relatively low on the spectrum of life disasters. What does that say about how much harder it is to praise God when it feels like you’re getting the Job treatment?

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