Few players in all of professional sports are as polarizing as Tim Tebow. Fans love him. The media hates him. But what makes Tim Tebow mania so fascinating is that the strong feelings have just as much to do with his personal convictions as his performance on the field. A devout Christian, Tebow credits Jesus for the Broncos miraculous (pardon the pun) streak. With this in mind, I wanted to get to the bottom of the spiritual warfare on the gridiron and caught up with someone who could give some insight, The Devil. Being a busy time of the year, we met at the TGI Friday’s in the Tulsa International Airport before a recent flight.
The Devil: How’s it hanging? Potato skin?
Musing Carnival: No thanks. I just ate. Where are you headed?
D: Nowhere. I hate flying. I just come to the airport every so often and hang out by the TSA body scanners. [laughs] It is a riot!
MC: I see. So, you have a few minutes to talk?
D: For you? Of course. But not too long. I want to get down to baggage claim when the Delta flight gets in from Memphis. Something tells me a few bags are going to be misplaced.
MC: That’s fine. I’ll make it quick. I want to talk to you about Tim Tebow. See if you know why the media is giving him such a hard time.
D: You want to know if I am responsible?
D: Let me put it this way. I’ve been following Tebow closely. But no, I don’t have anything to do with how the media treats him. Not yet anyway.
MC: Do you think the media is being unfair to him? Seems a little biased to me.
D: Of course. The media kills him week after week. And for what? All he does is win football games. But I can promise you one thing. As long as I have connections at FOX…
MC: Wait. You have connections at FOX?
D: [laughs] Do I have connections at FOX? You kidding me? I run that place.
MC: How deep are these connections?
D: Two words. Bo. Bice.
MC: That explains a lot actually. But what about Tim Tebow?
D: Long story short, I hope the media continues to bash him.
MC: So he’ll cave? Quit preaching?
D: Oh no, he won’t shut up. He’s too into the “Jesus thing” to shut up. He seems genuine. No, I hope the media stays after him so you Christians continue to turn him into a martyr.
MC: What do you mean?
D: What do I mean? You should hear Christians talk about how persecuted he is! It’s crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I think people are crazy for what they’ll endure for Jesus but Tim Tebow is not persecuted.
MC: Go on.
D: Don’t people around the world die for Jesus?
D: That’s persecution, right? You have real people who are actually dying for their faith. Those people are the real martyrs. I mean, what’s the worst that happens to Tim Tebow? He gets made fun of by Jake Plummer? Really?!? Jake Plummer sucks.
MC: Fair enough.
D: I’ll put it this way. You can’t be a martyr and still have the top selling jersey in the NFL.
MC: Makes sense to me.
D: Seriously, if you are going to hate Tim Tebow, you can’t hate him as a person. Hate him as a football player. Hate him because his third down conversion percentage is terrible. Or because his accuracy is embarrassing. But hating a guy who stands up for what he believes in. That’s low even for me. And I’m the freakin’ prince of darkness.
MC: So you aren’t worried about him preaching? He seems to use his platform to talk about Jesus a lot.
D: You’re telling me! He won’t shut up about it either. Look, I don’t even think Jesus watches football. But my-oh-my, he’s practically winning every game for Denver this year.
MC: You think Jesus is blessing Tebow? Does that explain it?
D: No. I think it has more to do with me being a Raiders fan. Tebow is caught in the middle of a cosmic struggle for AFC West supremacy. Nothing more.
MC: It’s just about football?
D: The Broncos have won six in a row. Meanwhile, still no cure for cancer! You tell me if it’s about more than just football.
MC: What about Tebow’s influence? He’s all over ESPN. He thanks Jesus all the time.
D: I know! It drives me crazy! Don't be stupid. Of course influence is important. Look, I’ve thought about this a lot. Believe me, if I could find a Muslim quarterback or a gay quarterback. Or better yet, a gay, Muslim quarterback! If I could make that happen… wow. I would have it made in the shade.
MC: There’s no such thing as a gay Muslim. You know that, right?
D: You’re probably right. But hey, can’t a guy dream?
MC: It’s highly offensive, but sure. I guess you can.
D: I'd even settle for a halfway decent atheist chicken restaurant so I can stop going to... [Bronco highlights come on the TV above the bar] Ugh. There he is again. Look at him. He’s pointing to the sky. Drives me insane. And Tebowing?!? Have you heard of that?
MC: Where you get down on one knee and pose like you’re praying? Yeah, I’ve seen it. And?
D: Oh nothing. I think it’s hilarious. Just the other day, Hitler was goofing around and…
MC: Please stop.
D: Oh, right. Let me tell you what the worst part of all this is. It’s not like Tebow even does the whole… what do you call it… health and wealth gospel stuff. You know, believe in Jesus and he’ll make you rich? [laughs] Man, that is the best lie I’ve come up with since that one apple thing.
MC: A lot of Christians believe that.
D: I know! And maybe that’s what I can get Tebow to start saying! “Believe in Jesus and you too can throw… err… run for touchdowns like me!” [he jots down a note on a napkin] I should send him some Joel Osteen books or something.
MC: You’re familiar with Joel Osteen?
D: You kidding me? Been around Joel for years. I’m telling you, if I could get Tebow to sound more like Joel, I wouldn’t have to spend half the year in Houston. Good Tex-Mex but man, it’s hot down there.
MC: Wait, aren’t you from…
D: Yeah, I know that sounds a little ironic, me complaining about the heat in Houston, being from hell and all. But hell has more of a dry heat.
MC: Like Arizona?
D: Exactly like Arizona. We’ve got the same gun laws and everything! No In-and-Out Burgers though. Just a Burger King on every freakin’ corner.
MC: So, for the record, you don’t hate Tim Tebow?
D: No, I’ve got nothing against Tebow personally. I think he’s probably the kind of guy we’d all want our daughters to marry. You know what I mean?
MC: You have a daughter?
D: Three actually. Lindsay Lohan, Lady Gaga and Nancy Reagan. Nancy was from a previous marriage.
MC: Nancy Reagan is your daughter? No. I’m not going to believe that. Sorry. Wasn’t she responsible for the “Just Say No” campaign?
D: Ridiculous! That whole thing was supposed to be sarcastic! Like, “Hey kids, who wants to have a good time and be really popular anyway? Being cool is for the birds! Just say no!” Ugh. People totally misinterpreted it.
MC: Okay. I think we’re done here. I have to catch my flight.
D: Wait. Are you on the 7:05 to Atlanta? [smiles] Wouldn’t get on that one if I were you.
MC: Do you mean…
D: [laughs] I’m just kidding! It’s perfectly safe. But I made sure you got a middle seat.
MC: I assumed.