Religion

Three Denver Muslims Lead Cheers for Tim Tebow

| by Michael Allen

The Suleimans, Tariq, Ali and Mohammad, are responsible for “The Sign,” a towering electronic billboard that captured national attention when it began running messages in September urging the Denver Broncos to start Tim Tebow as quarterback.

“It just goes to show you,” said Mohammad, “when Muslims and Christians get together, miracles can happen.”

Just three months ago, Tebow was stuck on the sidelines as his team’s backup quarterback. He hadn’t started a game this season, and there was no guarantee his number would be called, even though Broncos fans had been clamoring to see him play.

As employees at Multiline International Imports, Mohammad and his brothers regularly posted digital messages advertising the store’s sales and specials. After the Broncos started the season by losing two of the first three games, Mohammad decided it was time to run an entirely different message.

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“We were just tired of (the Broncos) losing. We needed a change,” said Mohammad. “I’ve seen how Tebow plays. He’s just a winner. We had drafted a first-round talent, and we needed to see what he could do.”

Shortly after the Broncos‘ loss to the Tennessee Titans in the third week of the season, the brothers issued an orange-and-blue challenge to the team’s skeptical coach: “Broncos Fans to John Fox: Play Tebow!” That message was timed to interchange with “Welcome to Tebow-Land,” showing a photo of the quarterback.

The Denver Post and local television stations picked up the sign, which was running new Tebow messages every week. Soon “the Sign” hit the national spotlight with a mention in Sports Illustrated and stories on NFL Network and Yahoo Sports.

Two weeks after the first message ran, Coach John Fox inserted the backup quarterback at halftime against the San Diego Chargers. The next day, Tebow was named the starter. He promptly became a national sensation after reeling off a string of last-minute, come-from-behind victories.

The Suleimans have continued to run Broncos-themed messages, starting with, “John Fox, We Told You So!” After Ali’s son, Amir, was born Nov. 11, they displayed a photo of the newborn with the caption, “Tebow fan all my life.”