By Jeff Borders
I’m not an Eagles fan. I’m not even really a football fan. I can easily get lost in a good college basketball game, especially if it’s Gonzaga playing. Just ask my wife. Beyond all of that, I do love a good sports story, especially if that story has some sort of faith-based element to it.
After the season-ending injury of Carson Wentz, backup quarterback, Nick Foles was thrust in the spotlight, and helped guide the Eagles to one of the best seasons and ultimately to a Super Bowl win. Foles’ performance in the Super Bowl garnered him plenty of attention with 373 passing yards, three touchdowns, and one impressive trick play ending with him catching a 1-yard touchdown pass from his tight end.
But Foles’ stats and gameplay aren’t the story I’m aiming for. While some fans of the Eagles were busy burning their city to the ground, some members of the Eagles squad celebrated their historic win over the Patriots differently. First up was head coach, Doug Pedersen. When asked about his reaction to Super Bowl win, he said, “I can only give praise to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for giving me this opportunity.”
Nick Foles, the MVP of Super Bowl LII, came up to the microphone shortly after. With his impressive stats, it would be easy for Foles to claim it was all his skill and training that allowed him to accomplish such things, but he doesn’t, instead he keeps things in perspective.
“Unbelievable,” Foles said, holding his daughter. “All the glory to God.”
This isn’t unusual for Foles. Foles is an outspoken Christian, and just this last Thursday, he spoke about his plans after football. In a pre Super Bowl press conference, Foles said, “I want to be a pastor in a high school. It’s on my heart. I took a leap of faith last year and signed up to take classes at seminary. I wanted to continue to learn and challenge my faith. It’s a challenge because you are writing papers that are biblically correct. You want to impact people’s hearts.”
Foles isn’t the lone member of his team that is outspoken concerning his faith. Left guard Stefen Wisniewski also plans to become a pastor after he finishes his career. Carson Wentz, the aforementioned starting quarterback who was injured in the regular season, is also very open about his faith. Wentz started the AO1 (Audience of One) foundation, whose mission is to demonstrate the love of God by providing opportunities and support for the less fortunate and those in need. We can’t fail to mention that in October of 2017, wide receiver Marcus Johnson was baptized in a hotel pool, surrounded by members of his team, including Wentz, Foles, and Wisniewski, and several others. It’s been reported that the bond of Christian brotherhood is firm within the Eagles organization and many of the players attend bible studies and prayer groups with each other on a regular basis.
In the midst of all the tumultuous noise surrounding the NFL and some of the players, it’s the stories about faith that often get underreported, or completely pushed aside. In their open praise of God and Jesus Christ at the Super Bowl, Foles and Pederson show a perfect example of letting their light shine before all men. They are proudly proclaiming their love and devotion to a higher calling then a game. They are not pushing their religion, or demeaning others, instead they are proclaiming boldly what they know to be true. I’m never one to say we should look up to sports stars as role models, because it’s easy to get disappointed in them, but Foles and Pederson’s words should give us courage. If they can give thanks and praise to God for their blessings in front of millions of people, we shouldn’t be afraid to share our own light to the small sphere of influence around us on a daily basis.
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