It Takes Real Faith to Be an NFL Quarterback
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I was watching the Ravens-Cardinals game on Monday night and started Googling around to learn a little bit more about Carson Palmer, the Cardinal’s quarterback from the University of Southern California.
What I learned is that Palmer is a “devout Christian,” not necessarily the norm for a thirty-something out of USC. Said Carson, "I've been a Christian as long as I can remember.”
I started working through the rest of the NFL. What astounded me is how many quarterbacks are openly Christian. It is not just a Tim Tebow thing.
The league’s best quarterback, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers has said about his faith, "I just try to follow Jesus’s example, leading by example."
“At age 13, I committed my life to Christ,” said future Hall of Famer, Denver’s Peyton Manning, “and that faith has been most important to me ever since." Brother Eli is also a Christian and a philanthropist.
Minnesota’s Terry Bridgewater sings in the choir of the Mount Olive Primitive Baptist Church. The New York Times speaks highly of his “deep-seated humility and convictions of his faith.”
San Diego’s Philip Rivers, a “devout” Roman Catholic, married his junior high school sweetheart, Tiffany, in 2001. She converted to the Catholic faith. They have eight children.
“While I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior at the age of 7 or 8 years old,” said Washington’s Kirk Cousins, “I think when it really took root in me and when I really took ownership, was when I moved into high school and really started to learn what it meant to not just be calling myself a Christian but to actually be a follower of Jesus Christ.”
“No shortcuts to God's process!” Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor tweeted recently. “Have Faith and keep PUSHING!”
"My faith has grown,” says Dallas’s Tony Romo, “and I found that always having Jesus makes things a lot easier in my life.”
New Orleans’ Drew Brees said, "I live for God, for the faith that I have in Him. Knowing the sacrifices that Jesus made on the cross for me and feeling like it's in God's hands, all I have to do is just give my best, commit the rest to Him.”
Seattle’s Russell Wilson, a “devout” Christian , often references his faith in press conferences, interviews, and on his Twitter feed. The Jets’ Geno Smith, a committed Christian, does the same.
“My relationship with God was my most important influence,” said Washington’s Robert Griffith, “I praise God, I thank him for everything. Purposefully, you live every day for Him, and when He gives you the opportunity to speak up for Him or to do something in His name, you do it.”
“They’re just completely interwoven,” said Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. “The things that go on in your house, the things that go on in your faith, they affect the way that you show up and what you do when you’re at your job.”
The Bengals’ Andy Dalton has spoken about his faith, saying, "Not very many people get a chance to play in the NFL. To start—and start as a rookie—I feel so blessed. So many things had to fall right to be where I am. I thank God every day." He cites 1 Peter 5:6 as one of his favorite Bible verses.
Oakland’s Derek Carr is a committed Christian, and has said his faith is the most important thing in his life. "I've lived the other life. And I've lived the life the bible teaches,” said Carr. “I can tell you right now I am more stable and more sturdy. And I've got a lot more joy and peace.”
"My faith is the basis from where my game comes from,” said San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick. “I’ve been very blessed to have the talent to play the game that I do and be successful at it. I think God guides me through every day and helps me take the right steps and has helped me to get to where I’m at.”
Charlotte’s Cam Newton said after winning the 2011 BCS National Championship Game saying, "It’s just a God thing. I thank God every single day. I’m just His instrument and He’s using me on a consistent basis daily."
Indianapolis’s Matt Hasslebeck gave his heart to the Lord at Vacation Bible School in Boston at the age of 11 or 12. While at Boston College he got involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
"Being a football player, faith plays a huge role," Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota has said. "When things start to get rough, you find comfort in your faith. Knowing that no matter what, you can dust yourself off and be OK. And you know you do it for [God's] glory.”
Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger has had his ups and downs but has apparently returned to the evangelical culture of his youth. He dumped his entourage and joined Christ Church at Grove Farm, an evangelical church in suburban Pittsburgh.
Speaking of ups and downs, no QB has had more than Pittsburgh’s Michael Vick. "I feel I'm in the back seat now and God is in the front," he said once he turned his life around. "Five months ago I was worried with what was going to happen (with the NFL), but now I'm more at peace. God has taken it over.”
Former Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy, now devoted to his prison ministry, had much to do with Vick’s rehabilitation. When Vick told Dungy he “needed to get back closer to the Lord,” Dungy took over.
Tom Brady’s father, a devout Catholic, is still working on Tom, but if nothing else, Brady got married (okay, to a supermodel) in a Catholic ceremony and had his child baptized. Baltimore’s Joe Flacco also got married in a Catholic ceremony.
In fact, virtually every quarterback in the NFL is married. New York’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, though not overtly Christian, has five children and only one wife.
This may account for why when liberals talk about football, they mostly focus on concussions.
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