Southern Deities

It appears the demise of Tim Tebow was premature. The former Gator and current choirboy engineered a near miraculous effort on Sunday. His Broncos defeated the formidable Pittsburgh Steelers to advance to the second round of the NFL playoffs.

Tebow had been a sensation recently, gaining exposure on Entertainment Tonight and national news networks, as well as round the clock coverage on ESPN. A six game win streak during the middle of the season assured the Broncos of a spot in the playoffs, although a recent three game slide, in which the team and the quarterback looked horrible, appeared to dash any hopes of advancement, even with divine help.

Much of the buzz surrounding Tebow has centered on his religious conviction. A devout son of Christian missionaries, Tim has never been shy about his beliefs. When his team began initiating unbelievable comebacks, even though he isn’t the prototypical pro QB, the “M” word began to be thrown around.

There is no shortage of pro football fans that support their team at a near evangelical level. A Broncos enthusiast several decades back even committed suicide, announcing in his goodbye letter the team was just too bad to live with. But this Tebow-mania was something altogether different. There was serious talk among the faithful, both Christian and Bronco that God was helping Tebow out a little.

This belief is nothing new. Humans have been attributing hard to fathom events to deities since Methuselah was a teenager. I’m pretty sure ancient civilizations, much like their modern counterparts, assumed their god got involved in everyday and mundane happenings like chariot races, sporting events, and political contests. No harm done most of the time, and the downtrodden could feel like at least God was on their side.

When Tebow’s performance suffered, many wondered if God had forsaken him. Now it appears the Lord was just busy trying to get the GOP primary in order.

Four different Republican candidates for president have stated on their campaign website that God told them to run. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum all maintain they were personally contacted by the Ruler of the Immediate Universe about taking over in 2013.

As of this writing, two of the four have dropped out, and Rick Perry is hanging on by an unraveling thread. Santorum is enjoying a slight resurgence but has no real chance. Makes one wonder who did God’s research. Doesn’t The Almighty have Google Search on the great IPAD in Heaven? Michele Bachmann? Jesus!

Maybe the Almighty, like many regular Republicans, just can’t get behind Mitt Romney and was desperately searching for Anyone Else. Too bad. Romney will be the guy when the smoke clears, no matter how many stealth attack ads Newt pays for. It makes one think God doesn’t really pay attention to what happens here in America the Blessed.

Some people think the Lord waited around for the cavemen to evolve, sat on his hands through the Dark Ages and the Inquisition, and got distracted during two world wars, all because today’s America is what He’s been waiting for. I’m not so sure.

The Almighty has a pretty good gig going. He gets credit for everything good and beautiful in the world, and all the bad is blamed on the Devil. I don’t think He wants to screw it all up by influencing ball games or dictating politics, especially American politics. With the cast of characters on both sides, there is no way to emerge from that mud wrestling with a clean robe. And sporting events are too numerous for even Him to stay informed about.

But suddenly, after Sunday’s improbable victory, the Tebow Express is at full speed once again, after our hero slayed another Goliath with a rock and a couple of blown coverages. Reporters are making flight plans to Boston and searching for religious metaphors.

Praise the Lord and pass the nachos.



Photo by Jeffrey Beall via his Flickr photostream, used with Creative Commons 2.0 License.
Mike Cox

Mike Cox

Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called "It's Not a Criticism, It's an Observation." He is trying to grow old as gracefully as possible without condemning the current generation in charge to doom. Each day this task gets harder as the overwhelming evidence mounts. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.