Tim Tebow "Jesus" jerseys raise eyebrows

Players from the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos including quarterback Tim Tebow (15) kneel in prayer at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 29, 2010 in Denver, Colo. Getty Images/Justin Edmonds

Tim Tebow delivered another miracle for the Broncos on Thursday night - at least that's what many of the quarterback's devout fans believe.

After doing next to nothing all game, Tebow took his team the length of the field, scoring the winning touchdown in the final seconds.

As Rick Sallinger of CBS News' Denver affiliate CBS-4 reports, to fans in Denver, Tebow has been a savior. After a 0-3 start, the Broncos have now won 4 of last 5 since he was made a starter, including Thursday's victory over the New York Jets.

The New York Post's headline, "God help him," wasn't just a battle cry for the paper's hometown Jets, it was a shot at Tebow's outspoken Christian views, which are written all over his face - literally. The star quarterback has appeared with scripture written into his eye paint.

"He almost views himself as kind of a vehicle for God," says senior Sports Illustrated writer Damon Hack. "He thinks playing quarterback is kind of like an opportunity to talk about and display his faith."

Tebow will often get down on one knee and pray after a big play. "Tebowing" has caught fire with fans, including a website that catalogs imitators all over the world.

"The kid that Tweeted me with cancer and said, you know, 'I'm Tebowing while I'm chemoing,' How cool is that?" noted Tebow in a recent interview.

But not everyone is comfortable with displays faith on the field. Tebow has been a lightning rod since his days at the University of Florida.

And now, a new Tebow-trend is raising eyebrows, even among some of his fans. Diehard Tebow fans have taken to wearing altered versions of the quarterback's number 15 jersey which have his name replaced simply with "Jesus".

To some, it may be a sign of both their deep Christian faith and their love of Tebow, but some Christians argue it goes too far, making an idol out of a football player.

"I don't know what to think about that because I don't know where people's hearts are," Tebow told the Denver Post in response. "It's important to not judge without knowing their hearts. If their heart is to honor the Lord, then it's a good thing. Only God can judge because only God knows what's truly in a person's heart."

Whether the wider Christian world likes it or not, the shirts are becoming increasingly popular, and they're unlikely to go away.

"I haven't seen any of these jerseys in our stores," Marty Garafalo of Game Day Merchandising, which runs the Broncos stores in Denver, told the Denver Post. "But I guarantee you we will have people go in the store tomorrow and ask for them."

As for his football, critics on the field said bad throwing mechanics and his run-first style wouldn't fly in the pros, but so far, under Tebow, fans in Mile High Stadium have seen their team thrive.

"Tebow seems to have a clutch gene," says Hack. "When he's only completed one pass, he goes off and throws a beautiful rainbow touchdown pass."

Or is it a Hail Mary? With another victory under his belt, Tebow continues to prove the non-believers wrong.

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