And it’s quite another for Tebow to say that God is actually speaking to him.
And while Tebow has yet to say it publicly, he’s saying it to his teammates.
“Tebow came to me and said, ‘Don’t worry about a thing,’ because God has spoken to him,” linebacker Wesley Woodyard said after Sunday’s win over the Bears, according to Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. Woodyard then forced the Marion Barber fumble in overtime, when the Bears were in field goal position.
Even though the story itself is a couple days old (which makes it nearly as old as the New Testament in Internet time), the concept is timeless. Regardless of whether Tebow actually has a burning bush in his backyard, Tebow’s faith has fueled a level of confidence that could be unprecedented in professional sports. He truly believes his team is going to win, so his teammates believe it.
And, perhaps most importantly, his opponents believe it, too.
For the teams who play the Broncos, it’s like continuing to try to beat an older brother in ping pong. No matter what happens, that feeling of doubt inevitably emerges, and it all falls apart.
Many believe that this entire dynamic — Tebow’s confidence, his teammates’ confidence, and the ensuing lack of confidence on the part of the opponents — faces its biggest test yet on Sunday, when the Patriots come to town. Win or lose, however, the Tebow/Broncos confidence won’t be going away any time soon.
“It’s not necessarily prophesying,” Tebow has said. “But sometimes you can feel God has a big plan.”
If/when the Broncos lose or fail to make the playoffs or lose in the playoffs, Tebow will regard the outcome as part of God’s plan. And then Tebow will prepare himself for the 2012 season, with the same week-in, week-out confidence that has made his team far better than the sum of the individual pieces.
It’s become fashionable to point out that Tebow has received too much credit for the accomplishments of his teammates. But those same teammates who are 7-1 under Tebow’s leadership were 1-4 under Kyle Orton.
So regardless of how Tebow is getting his confidence, it’s that confidence that has made him one of the best players in the NFL. And the Broncos would be crazy not to embrace this guy for the next decade or longer. Plenty of guys can throw a football, but very few can inspire grown men wearing the same uniform to believe that together they can achieve great things. Even fewer can cause the grown men wearing a different uniform to sense that, no matter what they do, it’s simply not their day.