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After the Super Bowl

The response to Christian responses to the big game were revealing

After the Super Bowl

Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles, left, celebrates with head coach Doug Pederson after the NFL Super Bowl (Matt Slocum/AP)

I’ll never forget the day I saw a football game. It was on my bucket list anyway. Thought I may as well make it the one that split our house asunder like a Viking ax, Philadelphia transplants from a Boston bedroom community that we are. I plunked right down near my dad and learned about downs and such and was a little surprised at how infrequently the foot is actually used, considering. No one was much interested in this keen insight, so I stifled it and joined the collective lean toward the tube.

Through the miracle of HD video lenses with Super 16 mm film you can see the whites in the players’ eyes, and when they zoomed in on the man who did all the talking in the Eagles’ huddle, there was something about him. He looked pleasant, different from the spikers and boasters and knee-takers, and on a hunch I inquired in the room about his name and googled “Nick Foles,” and sure enough, scrolling down to the Wikipedia Personal section confirmed he was a Christian.  

Come to find out moments after the Super Bowl that all three interviewees onstage for the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation were Christians—coach Doug Pederson, tight end Zach Ertz, and my new buddy Nick Foles. All in turn gave glory to God, Pederson being very specific that he meant by God “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” and not some doorknob “higher power.”

This was red meat for the media, but they had to bite their tongues till they could find targets less untouchable than Foles and company are at the moment (until they’re bums again). Outpouring of outrage must await a safer target, and one came walking by when NBC sports analyst Tony Dungy publicly commented on Foles’ attribution of his success to the Christian God, who evidently is the only hated God left in America, as they leave Tom Brady alone with his hybrid TB12 spirituality.

The Eagles have changed the meaning of ‘locker room talk.’ The team reportedly prayed the Lord’s Prayer after the win.

All of which made me wonder if what I had watched on Sunday was not a contest between NFC and AFC champions but between Jezebel’s gods and Elijah’s on Mount Carmel. Nah, I must be imagining things; God doesn’t care about football, right? Then again, God can care about whatever He wants to, and it’s not as if He says “Mine” about everything but football. That other dragon-slayer David said of Him, “For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall” (Psalm 18:29). He might have leaped a goal line just as well.

I am as psyched about the Dungy flap as the Clements end-zone catch that turned the tide of LII. Would I feel better if Christian persecution would tone down? Yes and no. Yes because I’m not a masochist; no because persecution is confirmation I can use. “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” says Paul, so we won’t be surprised (2 Timothy 3:12). “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. ... If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you,” said Jesus (John 15:18, 20). Things are on track for Christ coming II.

Meanwhile the Eagles have changed the meaning of “locker room talk.” One hears of discussions of future Bible school and youth group ministry opportunities; the team reportedly prayed the Lord’s Prayer after the win. When brother Stephen talked like that 2,000 years ago in public the pack was "enraged and they ground their teeth at him. ... [T]hey cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him”(Acts 7:54, 57). Sort of like they do now.

That just gets Christians pumped to hang in there. Like The Big Lead blog lecture to coach Dungy, the apostles’ attackers “beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus” (Acts 5:40). Peter’s response was the Jamesian reaction to “count it all joy” (James 1). Stephen’s face shone like an angel as they picked up stones. It’s the same spirit that I spotted right away inside the huddle on the face of Mr. Foles.

Comments

  • Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Fri, 02/09/2018 09:37 pm

    I have listened to WIP sports talk radio a lot this week.  Responses to the coach's and players' open Christianity have varied from neutral to appreciative.  I have not heard anyone criticize it.  There is a seed of revival in this city within the Eagles' locker room.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sat, 02/10/2018 01:25 am

    Yes it is!  It was such a joy to see Jesus’ name exalted!  Let us all pray for revival and do our part to bring it about! Blessings to you!

  • SonoitaMike
    Posted: Sat, 02/10/2018 10:53 am

    The world doesn't mind believers as long as they benefit from them. Look to Joseph as an OT version and the believers on the Eagles as a model day version.

    Let Goods be glorified by all we do regardless of the outcome we might experience.

    Andree is correct persecution is good and bad. 

  • homer
    Posted: Sat, 02/10/2018 01:05 pm

    Well said! 

    Haven't watched a Super Bowl since the Colts (Baltimore, which is what the Bible says they should be called) got beat by the Jets in 1969. It hurt so bad I started watching only college ball. But wished now I had watched this one. I might even start being an Eagles fan considering what the Falcons did last year about this time.

  • JerryM
    Posted: Sun, 02/11/2018 04:09 pm

    Well said, Andree!  I, too, spot the Spirit, but in your writing,

  • DWayne
    Posted: Thu, 02/15/2018 05:30 pm

    Praise God.  I say praise Him and His interest in pro-football. Thank Him for using these Eagles players to bring Him attention and glory from the world. Thank you for revealing this information to your readers. What an encouragement for the timid like me.

  • Gary Hendrix
    Posted: Fri, 02/16/2018 08:49 am

    It would be just like God to use a controversial community like the NFL to manifest His grace and glory! We should pray for the brothers on the team. They will need much grace to withstand the temptations. How the enemy would delight in their fall.  We must also pray that young Americans will listen closely to what they are saying and will be moved by the Spirit to inquire further into this Person, Jesus Christ, Who seems so loved and adored.

  • notalemming's picture
    notalemming
    Posted: Fri, 02/16/2018 01:10 pm

    I am a 57 year young female and I've NEVER watched a football game from beginning to end, but for some reason I did watch the Superbowl this year. I was visiting my (unsaved) parents to help out with projects around their house.  My dad sat down to watch the Superbowl and I decided to join him.  What little I knew about football seemed enough to enjoy the game, especially when Foles made that amazing touchdown.  From the half time show until the accolades, now my mom was watching with us.  The icing on the top for that day was when the Eagles coach announced to the crowd, and undoubtedly the world, that his success was due to Jesus Christ.  My heart lept for joy, and hearing the other players join in on the dedication brought tears to my eyes.  "Please, Lord, open the ears of my parents, for in their minds, their success has always been their doing, a deception of the enemy."  

    I don't know what their hearts heard, I don't know what, if any, difference was made, but then again, I'm not God and His plans are supernatural.  So we must realize that giving glory to our Saviour is not only for us to understand that we alone can do nothing for Him, but that He works through the everyday and occasional experiences for those whom we pray for salvation.  Watching these men unabashedly give Christ the glory also gave me the added courage to speak about Christ to my dad.  Now, if only Hillary Clinton would come to Christ, then that might open the door for my mom.  Remember, God can and does still perform miracles! 

  • Midwest preacher
    Posted: Sat, 02/17/2018 11:31 am

    Aw shucks!  I missed it. Guess I will probably miss the next one too.  Don't think football has enough redeeming qualities to make it worth all the time and money.  Glad there are some good things happening.  God can certainly work in any way He wants to.  Keep me posted.