Faith warriors in the Super Bowl

By Chuck Norris

Whether or not you’re a part of the declining viewership of the NFL, there’s a ray of light worth noting in professional football and in particular this year’s Super Bowl.

We sometimes forget as debates about kneeling during the national anthem rage on, there are a host of real and inspirational American patriots who are at the heart of every NFL team. I’d like to highlight a few football warriors who stand out not only for their athletic abilities on the field but their perseverant strategies in life. They share a part of a new video just out for the 2019 Super Bowl.

Sports Spectrum, an affiliate of Pro Athletes Outreach annually creates a high-quality custom video of many NFL players and their wives’ inspirational stories. In this year’s version, Football Sunday 2019, hosted by New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson, you can hear amazing accounts from Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum, and New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis, as well as many players from the two Super Bowl Teams: Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots.

What’s particularly fascinating in this life-inspiring video production is the way these football players and their wives come across as average everyday Americans, which is what they really are. They have real problems and face real crises in their personal lives just like all of us. The difference is every one of these players is proud to declare how much God and faith have helped them when they’ve needed them most. For most, it helps them to maintain a healthy perspective on life and football. Let me cite just a couple examples from each of the Super Bowl teams.

New England Patriots’ tight end Dwayne Allen shared with CBN how his faith helps him balance his life and career: “I mean having a heavenly perspective really helps me keep things in perspective and where they should be. Like, yeah, I’m playing in this game that is the pinnacle of my athletic career, and it’s supposed to be everything to me, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s still a game.”

Patriots’ running back Rex Burkhead shared how his life before and after he believed in God was radically different, especially in his attitude as a professional football star. Rex explained that prior to accepting God into his life, he had an immense pull “towards worldly accolades … craved [self-]success and found himself increasingly drawn toward self-centeredness.”

Christianity Today reported on Rex’s transition after he believed: “In an interview, he talked openly about the change he experienced in his heart upon giving his life to [Jesus] Christ, saying that time on the field ‘was no longer for myself, for those worldly desires and goals’ but instead ‘to give everything to Him [God].'”

Patriots’ team captain Matthew Slater offered this advice to anyone overly caught up in winning or losing to never lose sight of what really matters most: “This is not life and death. This is not the biggest thing that we’ll do,” he says. “The biggest and most important decision we’ll ever make in our lives is what we do with the knowledge of Jesus Christ. And if you don’t know the answer to that question it can be challenging at times. But I think for people that look at this game as the end all, be all, it’s not! It’s a game. We’re thankful to be here, we’re thankful for the opportunity. We love what we do but we have to keep perspective on the greater good!”

In the Football Sunday 2019 video presentation, viewers will also hear faith testimonies from New England Patriot Chaplain Jack Easterby, free safety Devin McCourty, defensive end Derek Rivers, center David Andrews, and offensive guard Shaquille Mason.

You’ll be just as impressed with degree of faith on the Los Angeles Rams.

For example, finding strength in God on and off the field is a generational legacy to Rams’ wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

Sports Spectrum reported that “Kupp hails from a family with football heritage. Cooper’s grandfather, Jake Kupp, played 10 seasons in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. His dad, Craig, also was drafted into the NFL in 1990 by the New York Giants, and had stints with the Phoenix Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys.”

Cooper himself has had career-highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns and is regarded as one of the top young receivers in the NFL. In his four years with the Philadelphia Eagles, he had 428 receptions for 6,464 yards and 73 touchdowns.

Cooper says faith builds the entire foundation on which we should view ourselves first as a child of God. He explained in 2017: “Knowing where your identity is and knowing that as much as I want to be a football player and I strive to be that, I’m so much more than that. This life is temporary but there’s such great things ahead. No matter what the naysayers say, no matter what anyone tells me, I know that my identity is in Christ and nothing can take me off of that.”

Sports Spectrum reported on another inspirational figure in the Los Angeles lineup: “Offensive lineman Rodger Saffold has spent his entire nine-year career with the Rams, as he was drafted by St. Louis in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft and moved with the team to Los Angeles in 2016.”

Saffold credits God for helping him keep on keepin’ on for the last nine years. Saffold said Thursday during the team’s Super Bowl media session: “I’ve been definitely doing the daily things in order to get that right. I feel like having that close relationship [with God] takes the pressure off a lot of the stresses you have in daily life. I’ve been able to go through this entire season with just a different joy and a different energy around me and it’s allowed me to be successful.”

A group of Rams football players and their wives meet weekly for a couples Bible study. After a meeting a few weeks ago, Saffold and his wife, Asia, were baptized in punter Johnny Hekker’s backyard pool. Here’s a three-minute video of Saffold talking about that “Super Bowl spiritual step.”

Punter Johnny Hekker told CBN that faith can help us all handle the roads in life we never expected to walk down: “You know there are so many examples in the Bible where the disciples and people maybe haven’t finished the race how they wanted, but God still uses that in mighty ways. So I think just finishing strong and using this to glorify God and the work He’s done in my life and where He’s brought me from till now has just been a crazy ride and I’m humbled and honored to be here.”

Again, in the video presentation of Football Sunday 2019, viewers will also hear faith testimonies from Rams’ Chaplain Kevin Nickerson, Strength Coach Dustin Woods, wide receiver Brandin Cooks, wide receiver Robert Woods and defensive end Justin Lawler.

Whether you’re a NFL fan or not, this 30-minute special Sports Spectrum video presentation is well worth your time to watch. Grab a friend or your family and set a time to view it, and please post it (or this article) to your social media. It’s great for any halftime show or other faith-inspiring moments at home, at the office or on a sports field. It will inspire you and others in a 100 ways!

Much has been made about the fact that the Patriots have 38 players that have played in a Super Bowl, while the Rams have only four – not to mention that the Rams team hasn’t been in the Super Bowl since 2002. But the fact is, many on both teams have known what it is in life to be in a “Super Bowl of faith.” And those players will do what they’ve always done in those tough life situations: employ their faith as they press on against adversity, then accept the outcome whatever it might be.

Whether on the sports field or in the game of life, it’s true what my good friend and bestselling prolific author Randy Alcorn wrote in his book on Happiness: “It’s [daring and] dangerous faith in our untamed Savior that leads us to the joy we crave.”

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