Did God Favor the Philadelphia Eagles?
Published : February 12, 2018
Right after the Philadelphia Eagles overcame Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, Eagles coach Doug Pederson said: "I can only give the praise to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity."
Zach Ertz, who caught the winning touchdown, recently said "our number one goal is to make disciples and draw others to Christ."
And two weeks earlier, after beating the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game, Eagles QB Nick Foles said,
"First and foremost, all glory belongs to God. I wouldn't be here without Him and this is just very humbling and unbelievable."
There are Christian players on every NFL team, and sports are simply a form of entertainment. But God cares about who gives Him glory, who denies Him, and He cares about people's hearts.
There's a fascinating back story here. Two years ago, Nick Foles went through a time of discouragement and took 7 months off. He was almost positive he would not return to football. Almost. He kept praying and reading the Bible, and God had different plans. He led Nick to 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. … for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Foles came back, and is now a world champion and Super Bowl MVP. His offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, happens to be a former seminary president.
Another committed Christian, Carson Wentz has been criticized for being vocal about his faith, and when asked, here's how he responded:
"Jesus was persecuted everywhere he went. So if Jesus, who is our ultimate example, endured that, then I can endure a little riff-raff here and there."
When the Apostles in the early church were threatened, (Acts 4:19) Luke writes:
But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge;
A group of Eagles players hold a Bible study for couples on Mondays; players meet for study on Thursdays, and also for prayer and devotionals the night before games.
They've had baptisms in some unusual places: at least five players were baptized in the team's recovery room pool last season. Before a game against Carolina last October, second-year pro, Marcus Johnson was baptized in the hotel pool. He tweeted this photo to his fans:
"First time being Baptized! Corporate Worship is a beautiful thing!! Cleansed & Reborn in JESUS name!!"
The news spread. Also a believer, New England Patriot's, Matthew Slater said:
"I really appreciate [Carson Wentz's] boldness for the gospel, how he represents Christ day in and day out. And it's not only him… Nick Foles. Chris Maragos. Brother Burton. …there are a lot of brothers over there that stand firm for what they believe in, they represent the gospel in a tremendous fashion."
I've never seen anything quite like this before. There was a special moment captured on video after the Super Bowl as Stefen Wisniewski led a Scripture-filled prayer with more than a dozen Eagles players on the field.
I hope God is reaching more hearts as these young Christian men bear fruit. Wentz led the Eagles to a 12-2 record before getting injured in December. It was then Nick Foles' moment to shine. Did he ever.
A pastor friend of mine said:
"If the Eagles never win another Super Bowl, this win was a testimony of how unashamed Christians SHOULD be when they are before a watching world."
And after winning one of the most exciting Super Bowls, and after the noisy, confetti-filled celebration on the field, Eagle's players including Nick Foles, Carson Wentz, and Zach Ertz were in a room - by themselves - praying, and thanking God.
Nick Foles has been studying at seminary and wants to enter Christian ministry as a pastor one day to reach more people for Jesus.
Not everyone uses their platform to glorify God so let's encourage those who do. Pray for and support Christian athletes no matter the sport or team and most importantly, remember to live it ourselves.
God bless you, and keep speaking the truth about things that matter.