As I may have mentioned here a few times, I bleed orange and blue. My dad raised me to be a Broncos fan and I will never shake it. This year's pre-season coverage is interesting because we obtained one Tim Tebow in the draft. Now, I've had lots of discussions with other Broncos fans about whether they think this was a fantastic move or not, and none of them have centered on Tebow's faith in Christ. But I got a taste of the discussion when I read a discussion on Facebook about the magazine cover illustrated here. I haven't read the article, written by the talented Will Leitch, yet but the headline was certainly provocative. I took it to have a double meaning -- an allusion to Tebow's religious views and to John Elway. Some folks in the comments section were really upset with Tebow because of his religious views. I had sort of imagined that Broncos fans wouldn't care about a given player's religion so long as he was playing well. But it's also true that diehard Broncos fans tend to have less tolerance for, say, bad behavior than your average Oakland Raiders fan. (See, old rivalries die hard.)
OK, so the Denver Post jumps into this discussion with a piece promising conflict. It's headlined "Tebow's devotion to faith divides Broncos fans."
And it begins with a diehard Broncos fan who actually says she hates Tebow because of his evangelical approach:
Michelle Olson calls herself the anti-Tebow. She is a diehard Broncos fan but has no love in her heart for its limelight-stealing sensation, rookie quarterback and evangelical everyman Tim Tebow.
"He's a big distraction and has done nothing to prove he's NFL material," the 25-year-old Fort Collins woman said Tuesday morning at Broncos training camp in Dove Valley.
It's Tebow's eagerness to share his Christian values and beliefs that really irks her.
"That's why I hate him," she said.
Wow. OK, then. So what do the other anti-Tebow Bronco fans in this trend story have to say? Well, I can't tell you because Ms. Olson was the only one quoted or even mentioned in the article. The remaining quotes are from people who like Tebow. The first quote comes from someone who knows the name of only one Bronco -- Tebow.
And then this:
Unquestionably happy about Tebow, the large evangelical Christian community in the state sees him as the perfect role model for sports-crazed children.
"We are excited he's here in town," said Robin Gentry, a 38-year-old mother of three from Centennial who identifies herself as an evangelical Christian.
"He's not afraid to talk about his faith or show people what he believes," Gentry said. "I like him as a person. I like his integrity."
Then an 11-year-old boy says he likes Tebow and the boy's grandfather is glad the boy has someone like Tebow to look up to.
"His character, his work ethic and beliefs make him special," [Ron] Woitalewicz said. "We're Catholic. People are excited about his devotion and faith. In an age of flamboyant NFL players, he's grounded. It's not all about him."
And then another Broncos fan talks about how he likes Tebow's attitude and skills on the field.
Maybe there are Broncos fans out there who really have a problem with Tebow's religious views. But this story failed to demonstrate that. With the exception of the first fan, there's no evidence that this is a divisive topic at all, other than the undeniable fact that the Post is convinced that this tension exists. And I have to mention the last line, too:
As many fans observed in many different ways, Tebow plays football religiously.
Ba-dum-dum. For more on evangelical Bronco fan support of Tebow, the same reporter has a rundown here.