Football and Faith
Every year, in the midst of the hype surrounding the Super Bowl, churches and Christian organizations attempt to remind us that, while sports can be a great diversion, there are other things in life that have lifelong and even eternal impact.
While there are a number of Christian players or coaches on both teams that will be competing on Sunday, there are some who stand out because of either their character and testimony or the causes they choose to support. For example:
Green Bay Packers starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has been nicknamed "Leader of the Pack" by the media, told Baptist Press on Tuesday at Super Bowl XLV Media Day that he only wants to be a leader of God's pack as it relates to influencing others for Christ. "We all have a platform, we all have a message in our lives. I just try to follow Jesus' example, leading by example," said Rodgers.
Packers' kicker Mason Crosby understands that big games are often decided by a last-second touchdown or field goal. "I think He [Christ] helps me knowing that kicking is what I do, not who I am. It's not everything that I am. I can escape [the pressure] knowing that my relationship with Christ is what carries me," said Crosby.
Pittsburgh Steelers team chaplain, Kevin Jordon, who was formerly an assistant to coach Tony Dungy and is associated with Athletes in Action, says he greatly appreciates the support and access given to him by head coach Mike Tomlin. According to Baptist Press, Jordon says he plans to continue his regular schedule of players' and coaches' meetings, Bible study and team chapel while in Dallas.
Steelers coach, Mike Tomlin, the youngest coach ever to coach in and win the Super Bowl, spoke of being "blessed" and "humbled" by his success. When asked about his Christian faith he said, "It provides a confidence, not only for me but for everyone who is a believer. Football is what we do; it's not who we are. It is our job, it is our business. We all are very passionate about it, but [faith] keeps it in perspective."
Many churches, such as First Baptist Church in Dallas, plan to cancel their regular Sunday night services to host Super Bowl parties which will include a Christian-oriented halftime video. "We are not capitulating, but capitalizing on the Super Bowl," said Pastor Robert Jeffress. [Baptist Press, Christian Post]