Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Elway, the Truth, and the Life

I love sports, I love Jesus, I love crazy stories, and I love college and professional athletes that use their social influence in good ways, so I have no stinkin’ idea how this story eluded me until this week. I guess I was busy in 2012.

This entire thing has been fact-checked by ESPN – the gospel of sports – but you can look into it if you want. And if you don’t believe in God, you can chalk this “crazy coincidence” up to whatever you want.

You be the judge.

Tim Tebow was the quarterback for the University of Florida Gators, and on January 8, 2009 they won the national championship game. All year, he and his teammates had written little messages on their eye black. Tim is a Christian, so he had chosen a bible verse – Philippians 4:13 – which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

He had “Phil” under one eye and “4:13” under the other for the entire season. As they advanced during the year, Phil 4:13 became a big thing on campus. Tim saw that happening, and going into the championship game, he decided to change the verse. He knew it would be news, and he knew millions of people would be watching, so he wanted to choose a bible verse that would be best to spread the word about his faith. He settled on John 3:16.

If you are unfamiliar with it, John 3:16 is basically the essence of Christianity in a sentence. It says, “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.”

So, out goes Timmy with “John 3:16” under his eyes, and during the game ninety-four million people Googled “John 3:16.”

That’s pretty cool.

Fast forward to 2012, and Tim is now the Denver Broncos quarterback, and exactly three years to the day, on January 8, 2012, they were facing the Pittsburg Steelers as the wildcard. Tim and the Broncos took the field at home and proceeded to knock the Steelers out of the playoffs in overtime.

Another 90 million people Googled “John 3:16” during the game, and it became the number one trending phrase across most social media platforms for the night.

That’s pretty cool, and also pretty easy to explain.

Now, you might think the Broncos knocking off the Steelers was the only miracle that night, but here’s what else happened in that game:

Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards.

Tebow averaged 31.6 yards per completion.

A pivotal interception by the Broncos came on 3rd and 16.

The Steelers time of possession for the game was 31:06

And CBS’s final quarter-hour ratings for the game – at the time when Tim Tebow threw the game-winning eighty-yard touchdown pass, the longest pass in postseason overtime history – were 31.6.

Those “crazy coincidences” are a little harder to explain.

Like I said, you be the judge.

The Broncos’ 2012 run ended there, and Tebow’s football career is now over, but he’s switched sports and is working his way up in minor league baseball.

I know what you’re thinking – his batting average is probably .316, right?

No, not quite. That would take a miracle!

See you soon,


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen

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