Tim Tebow Says Football Comes After Faith and Family

Quarterback says football comes after faith and family.

ByABC News
April 12, 2012, 11:17 PM

April 13, 2012 — -- The most important thing in Tim Tebow's life is not football.

Even so, the former Denver Broncos quarterback who was traded to the New York Jets last month told "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts that he's looking forward to working and playing with his new teammates.

In the one-on-one interview on "GMA" today, Tebow talked about a range of topics, including the hopes he has for his career move, his outreach to others, family and the topic closest to his heart: his faith.

That deep Christian faith is paramount. Tebow, 24, prays openly on his knees at the end of every game -- a move that is now so well-known that it's become a verb: Tebow-ing.

"It's pretty easy for me to say that the most important thing in my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ, followed by my relationship with family. And football's later on down the line," he told Roberts.

While Tebow loves the game and vows to give his "heart and soul" to every single play, it's the moments off the field that matter more, such as the time he gets to spend with a sick child.

In addition to his missionary work with orphanages in the Philippines, which is where he was born to missionary parents, Tebow hosts a celebrity golf tournament for charity and regularly brings sick children to his games through his foundation.

"Before a game you know, I can take off my helmet, run over there and spend a few moments with someone who is dealing with so much more than I've ever had to deal with and to love on them and care about them and in front of thousands and thousands of people, you know, let them know that they're more important than all of this," he told Roberts.

Tebow has been criticized for his open display of faith by those who say it has no place on the football field. He's weathered criticism before, and was teased as a child. Having a strong foundation at home helped. And it helps him to know that he stands for something that is bigger than football.

It helps him put life in the limelight into perspective, he said.

"So many times in today's society, we can put football No. 1. And I've done it in my life at certain times. You put football number one, this game is more important than anything else. Well, really, it's not," he said. "It's just a game."

People have said Tebow -- and his wholesome image -- may be too good to be true, but he is the first to admit his flaws.

"I'm not perfect," he said. "And who knows how many times I've fallen short. We all fall short. That's the amazing thing about the grace of God. ..."

He also said that he was blessed to have great parents and a lot of support.

"That makes me look a lot better than I really am," he said, laughing.

So, is Tebow ready to represent New York?

"That's what so cool about it. ... The fans are so passionate," Tebow said. "And I'm so passionate. I feel like it's going to be a great mix there."

He noted that he was looking forward to building a relationship with his teammates and earning their respect, and doing "whatever it takes to win football games."