Some say Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow pulled off another miracle Sunday night, leading his team to a 29-23 overtime victory over the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers. They say "another miracle" because it was the fourth time this season Tebow led Denver to an overtime victory. And they say Tebow, a devout Christian, may need an even bigger miracle come Saturday in Foxboro, Massachusetts, where the New England Patriots will be an even bigger favorite to end the Broncos season than the Steelers were.
The Boston Herald on Monday morning is calling Saturday's game "a heaven-sent matchup," and the paper says that because it knows quarterback Tom Brady has made a career of taking the Pats to the promised land while Tebow has just gone through his first communion.
"The Patriots get a second helping of the Tom Brady-versus-Tebow quarterback matchup," writes the Herald's Karen Guregian.
"While this has tremendous star power, it’s just so lopsided in the Patriots' favor. That’s what we saw during the first meeting on Dec. 18, when Brady and the Pats whipped the Broncos, 41-23, in Denver. There’s no reason to believe Brady won’t outduel him once again."
Leave it to a "Saturday Night Live" skit to put Brady's advantage into perspective. "If I'm the son of God, Brady's the guy's nephew," a Jesus Christ character tells the Broncos during a visit to their locker room before that December 18 game.
But others say Tebow has already put himself on the Olympus of sports greatness.
"He isn't in the same class as an athlete, but as a spectacle Tebow is Tiger Woods leading the Masters on Sunday afternoon. He's Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals. He's the Yankees in the World Series," writes Gregg Doyel on CBSSports.com. "What's the NFL comparison to Tebow? There isn't one."
And Doyel points out that Tebow's fame, like those others, now knows no borders on this Earth.
"Tebow was a trending Twitter topic on Sunday evening, and not just in the United States. He was trending all over the world – in Canada, in Colombia, in France," Doyel writes.
While others may put Tebow on that lofty post, he seems to be the last one to put himself there.
Part of the reason Denver was such an underdog against the Steelers was that the Broncos lost their last three regular season games, with Tebow posting numbers well short of the biblical 316 yards he put up against the Steelers.
FOXSports.com's Mark Kriegel, writing under the headline "Tebow's most amazing trait? Humility," says that Tebow was entitled to a little trash talk directed toward his doubters.
"If anyone was entitled to a self-righteous 'I told you so,' it was Tebow. Instead, he said: 'I’m just blessed to have an opportunity to be the quarterback for the Denver Broncos and play in a game in front of such great fans and with great teammates,' ” Kriegel wrote.
And Kriegel's not shy about speaking up for Tebow.
"Being neither as good nor as modest as America’s saintly quarterback, I don’t mind telling you a bit: I told you so," Kriegel wrote.
While Kriegel may have never lost the faith in Tebow, the late-season losing streak certainly turned hordes of others into doubters.
San Franciso Chronicle writer Vittorio Tafur says it's time to come back to the temple.
"It's time to believe again. In Tebow. (And) in the Big Fella in the Sky being a Broncos fan," Tafur writes.
Here's how God, or Tebow, or both, or a Pittsburgh Steelers defensive mistake (you choose), have us talking Tebow this Monday morning.
On the first play from scrimmage in overtime, Tebow heaved a pass 18 yards to receiver Demaryius Thomas, who stiff-armed Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor and sprinted down the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown.
The Broncos led 20-6 at halftime, but the Steelers – led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's 289 yards passing – clawed their way back to tie the game at 23 with time running down in regulation. Neither team could get close enough for a winning field goal, and the contest moved into overtime.
The league instituted complicated new overtime rules for the playoffs, but the rule differences never came into play as Tebow and Thomas wrapped it up in 11 seconds – the shortest overtime in NFL history. The referee's explanation of the rules before the coin toss took up more time than the extra period.
The Broncos faithful in Denver were rewarded.
Of course, in Vegas the oddsmakers put their faith in numbers. And on the Strip, they like the Patriots this coming Saturday, by 14 points.
To which the Chronicle's Tafur responds with some numbers of his own.
"Apparently the Big Guy in the Sky likes all underdogs. For that, you could turn to Matthew 5:5: 'Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.'"