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MCCULLOUGH: God may actually help Tebow

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

If God be for us, who can be against us? -- Romans Chapter 8, verse 31

I've had more than a few arch-enemies in football in my life.

Well, they weren't my arch-enemies, I guess, since we never faced off on any field. But they were the enemies of my teams.

There was Bo Jackson, of course. You know Bo, the Auburn running back who no one could seem to stop. He ran for, I don't know, a million yards in his Heisman-trophy college career, then went on to star in two sports. Despite his later playing for my Raiders (how I became a Raiders fan is a story for another day) it took me a long time to forgive him for what he did to Georgia.

Heath Shuler was a thorn in my side as well. The Tennessee signal-caller beat Georgia my freshman year, beginning a string of Tennessee victories over my Bulldogs that didn't end until this millennium.

And speaking of Tennessee quarterbacks, who can forget Peyton Manning, who had Georgia's number every time he played us.

But Shuler went away and Manning became the QB for another team I kind of like, the Colts. Eventually, I forgave them both for the damage they did to my beloved Bulldogs.

And then there's Tim Tebow.

For me to even bother telling you who Tebow is I have to assume you have been stranded on a desert island for the past six years. But just in case you don't know the story, Tebow was the quarterback of the Florida Gators, a team that I wouldn't pull for if it was playing communist-terrorist aliens from Mars. At Florida, Tebow was -- to hear Gators fans tell it -- the greatest athlete in the history of the universe.

He could seemingly do no wrong. Enormous and fast, Tebow bowled over the opposition like a bulldozer. And of course, he beat Georgia in his first try.

Tebow's second time, we found out he was maybe not perfect. We beat him. His bum shoulder probably helped.

Then came 2008, when his Gators came up short against Ole Miss. Afterward, Tebow made a speech that has since beem memorialized in statue form in Gainesville, Fla. Ole Miss had awakened a sleeping giant. Tebow led his team to the national championship -- in a year when Georgia was the preseason No. 1.

In the meantime, Tebow was doing mission work, volunteering and presumably saving babies from burning buildings and whatever else he does when he puts on his cape.

By the time Tebow's college career was over, I could not have hated him more. I was so sick of Mr. Perfect and his perfect athleticism and his perfect life that the mere mention of his name made me want to vomit.

Then luck smiled on me -- I thought. Tebow, they said, wasn't going to be a very good pro player. Too sloppy. Couldn't throw. Won't make it, they said.

I thought I'd never have to hear about him again. But no, he went to the Denver Broncos, division rival and arch-enemy of who? That's right, my Oakland Raiders.

Even then, they said he wouldn't make it. Some people are still saying it, despite his leading the Broncos to seven wins in a row -- often in spectacular fashion -- and the division lead, which he took away from who? The Raiders.

The Wall Street Journal ran a piece on Tebow this week that examined both his football prowess and his deep faith. The Journal story made mention of how so many athletes profess thanks to God after dominating -- or sometimes, unlikely -- wins.

It's an old joke, but it's true: if God was on the side of every winning sports team, then that meant he was against the other team. Surely those losing teams have faithful Christians deserving of God's help, whether it be the nudging of a wayward field goal attempt back on course or helping a wobbly pass find the arms of an endzone-bound receiver.

Or, helping a giant bulldozer quarterback with a cruddy arm find enough holes every week to win and win and win some more. And cause me never-ending grief as a football fan.

I don't know about all those other guys who point to the sky after a big score, but I'm beginning to believe the one who kneels on the sideline every weekend may actually have the Big Man's ear.

Email Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.