By Jessica Walters
After Googling for more hours than any one human being should ever Google anything in their whole entire life, I can officially say:
This is the most comprehensive list of Christian athletes playing in Super Bowl XLVII that you are ever going to find. EVER.
Because trust me – if there was a better one, you’d just be looking at a picture with a link under it right now (and I would be able to see this screen without the words all blurring together)! LOL :)
Rep your team in the comment section below and let me know what you think!
I tried to do my best, but if you notice I left someone out or made a mistake, please leave a message and I’ll fix it! (Apologies in advance if I did!) Keep in mind: just because someone isn’t on this list doesn’t mean they aren’t a practicing Christian – and just because they are doesn’t mean they adhere to one particular denomination.
I hope this list will inspire you and help keep faith in the forefront during Sunday’s big game!
If you like this post, please consider subscribing (box to the right!) to receive new article updates! Hope you enjoy!! :)
PS. You might be wondering how I found the time to do all this? Well, I guess I’m just used to being a little busier around this time of year – what with my STEELERS usually warming up to win the Super Bowl right around now ;) hahaha (…after the season we had, I only have the nerve to say that because I was raised in Pittsburgh!) LOL :) …Love my boys!!
Ok, let’s do this!!
Baltimore Ravens Christian Athletes
Asked about his favorite Bible verse by Christian website, Inspiring Athletes, Bajema replied: “Philippians 4:6-7. ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.’”
Birk has been very open about his Catholic faith. He’s spoken on behalf of the Minnesota Catholic Conference and discussed his beliefs in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Regarding his Christianity, Boldin has said: “That’s just who I am; that’s just my faith. No matter what goes on in my life; surgeries, injuries, hard times or whatever, I’m a man of faith and I believe that’s one of the reasons I’m here today.[Faith’s] what keeps me grounded; it’s what keeps me focused. Through life you are going to go through some ups and downs, you are going to go through some hardships, but me being grounded in my faith I think truly is the reason that I’m here.”
Speaking to the Catholic Herald, Considine said: “My Catholic faith has played a huge role in my family and career. I thank God every day for a beautiful wife and kids, for the game of football that helps make that possible and that I am part of a game that brings enjoyment to others.”
Doss has a portrait of Jesus on his left shoulder, but it’s the tattoo, “God Given”, on his neck that he loves the most: “This is the one I get all the stuff for. I was young, but I still love it. It’s probably my favorite. It makes me unique. I always give thanks to God who has blessed me with so many opportunities. People think it’s a cocky thing. It’s not at all. […] I’m very religious. I try to read the Bible every day. It’s something I’ve really gotten into more recently. It’s really helped me get through situations.”
Graham explains how faith and football intertwine for the Ravens: “We have a lot of guys on this team that believe in God a lot. They have a lot of faith. We have faith in each other. Every time we step out on the field we believe in what each other can do. We believe in the guy next to us. We believe in holding everybody accountable. We couldn’t do it if we didn’t have faith. We continue to believe in each other, and it’s gotten us this far. Your faith is always going to help you because you have to believe.”
Referencing Isaiah 51:12, Hall’s Twitter tagline reads: “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
Like a lot of Super Bowl athletes, Harewood shared his excitement with God:
So surreal… I promise as a lad I never had a dream that could feel this good… From Barbados to the Super Bowl… God is great !!!
— Ramon Harewood(@mvpbig) January 21, 2013
Curious about Ihedigbo’s faith? Look no further than his Instagram account:
Jackson attended Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, CA – a private, Roman Catholic college-prep school.
Discussing the tragic death of his sister, Johnson said: “As a Christian and as a man, you have to keep going forward. I needed to push forward and be strong.”
Jones’s parents direct the Mt. Sinai Church of God in Christ in Endicott, NY. The family credits faith with holding them together after Jones’s sister, Carmen, passed away.
Interviewed during Media Day, Kruger said: “I normally don’t say anything about religion or God or anything like that, especially when I’m being interviewed, but I really feel like I’m blessed, like prayers have been answered. I’ve overcome a lot.”
Addressing an interesting angle, Leach spoke to the possible contradiction between ‘knocking another human being around’ and being a Christian: “You have to be able to separate the two. It is a tough game. It’s physical, and people do get hurt. But I don’t think we’re out there intentionally trying to hurt each other. At the end of the day, when our careers are over, everybody will still have their faith. Football is just a game we play.”
When asked what passages he enjoys most, Lewis replied: “Psalm 91 and pretty much whatever Proverbs, based off the date – whatever the date is that day – is pretty much what I read. I grab something from that day, and then I hold onto that throughout the whole day, and that’s what I try to focus on that day. ”
McKinnie gives credit where credit is due on Twitter:
I wanna give GOD the glory, cause man said what we just did wasn’t possible, but HE mad it possible. #RavenNation
— Bryant Mckinnie (@BryantMckinnie) January 13, 2013
After losing three people very close to him (a first cousin, a father figure and a sister) all within seven months, McPhee says: “God puts you through things,” McPhee said. “He wants to know whether you believe in Him enough to overcome the tragedies you’re going through. I always kept my faith in God and kept praying. Look where I’m at now.”
The true-life subject behind the movie, The Blind Side, Oher attended the Briarcrest Christian School.
Deeply religious Pollard has a strict no-swearing policy – claiming he only swore 17 times during the 2011-12 season! “That’s how I live my life. Me and my wife, we used to cuss like cats and dogs. When you make a decision to change for the better, you live your life for the better.”
You don’t have to look far to find where Rainey’s heart is – his Twitter tagline reads, “God is the head of my life, fear no man!”
Reed has been quoted praising God in several interviews: “God is so good to me. I’ve been on a long road, and it’s been a long time. Just to go out and [have a good game] is a really good sign” […] “It’s a blessing from God that I’m able to catch the way that I used to be catching before I got the surgery and everything.”
When teammate, Torrey Smith, lost his brother in a motorcycle accident, Reed (who dealt with the death of his brother the year before) gave Smith a psalm and reminded him: “God’s in control, and God has a plan bigger than ours. We don’t know our time, none of us. We all experience the same things, so I just told him that we’re here for him; I’m here for him.”
Rice believes faith and football go hand in hand, and – well, I’ll just let him tell you himself:
Smith knows that God is always in control. After suffering an injury in the 2011 season opener, Smith said: “I always think that everything happens for a reason. So I just thought, ‘Maybe God has me sitting out for a reason.’”
Smith lost his brother in a 2012 motorcycle accident. He went on to score two touchdowns that following Sunday in his brother’s honor, telling reporters: “I just said a quick prayer, took a knee. You know, obviously you play with a heavy heart; you want to play for that person.” Head coach John Harbaugh was also quoted: “How do you explain it? Coming from a faith perspective, God and heaven work in … mysterious, wonderful ways.”
Streeter’s mother is the pastor of a Baptist church in Florida. He says his faith is very important to him: “It kind of shapes and molds everything that I do. The way that I present myself in the community and the kind of person that I am is all because of my faith. My parents instilled positive things in me to make me a better man. I’m a humble servant of Christ.”
Before signing with the Ravens, Taylor played for Virginia Tech, where he said: “Without God I can’t do anything. I have put my faith in Him, and through Him I believe I can achieve anything.”
Thompson knows his priorities – his Twitter tagline reads, “God first & Family!”
Tucker always acknowledges God after field goals, saying, “I do the crossing because I want to give thanks for the opportunity. Not many people get to do what we get to do, and it really is a blessing. I give a little point to the heavens and a little shout to the big man upstairs for the opportunity.”
Williams humorously referenced his faith when discussing a confrontation with Cinncinnati rookie, Vontaze Burflict: “He’s going to be an awesome player,” Williams said, but he continued: Burflict owes Ravens’ defensive tackle Domata Peko a steak because Peko said, “‘Bossman, don’t hurt him, he’s a good guy.’ And I had to remember I was a Christian.”
Regarding Williams’s difficult upbringing, The Baltimore Sun reports: “…weekly treks to the African Methodist Episcopal Church on Sundays, helped heal some of Williams’ emotional wounds.”
San Francisco 49ers Christian Athletes
Akers credits his professional success to faith, saying he often leans on Romans 5:3-5: “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Brock attended Belhaven College which is known for its strong Christian foundation.
Reflecting on earlier career decisions, Brooks remembers who’s calling the shots: “”I could have had this, I could have had that. But I didn’t, and I just made things harder than what it should have been. But this is God’s plan, and this is obviously what I needed to go through.”
Referencing his younger brother’s pending criminal case, Davis says: “Everyone has their path. To me, everything happens for a reason whether it’s right, whether it’s wrong, whether you’re guilty or you’re innocent. I think God will take of it, I strongly believe that because I pray about it every night. So I put it in God’s hands.”
Dixon describes himself in his Twitter tagline as, “Outgoing, Courageous, Loving, Tough, Business Man, Family Man, God Fearing Man…”
On his Twitter page, Fleming proudly states that he’s “living the life that God had blessed me with. Football is a gift that continues to shape my life.”
Ricky Jean Francois
No ego-tripping in Francois’s Twitter tagline: “God Blessed this young man to play ball. God Blessed this young man to be a husband. God Blessed this man to live out life that he has written down in his book.”
Gooden’s faith is front and center on his Twitter account:
Described by left tackle Joe Staley as the team’s “father figure,” Goodwin is active in his faith:
When a reporter asked, “How do you develop great vision – become someone who sees the field so well?” Gore replied: “It’s God. God blessed me with that. I just say God blessed me with that.”
Grant has the entire 23rd Psalm tattooed on his upper left arm! He explains: “After reading it, and understanding how much God does for me, it tells me not to fear any evil, just fear Him. I had to have that put on my arm just to show people how much I love the 23rd Psalm.”
Hampton, who majored in religious studies at the University of Iowa, knows God doesn’t play favorites. Interviewed during college, Hampton said: “Everyone has their own individual thing as far as faith is concerned. It’d be great to have the Big Guy on our side, but I don’t think he ever favors one person over the other.”
When asked about avoiding injury, Haralson has admitted: “A lot of it is blessing, God’s grace.”
Hunter knows who runs the show. Addressing the disappointment of being picked so late in the draft, he said: “God has a plan for all of us and I’m happy with where I’m at now. I’m going to take advantage of it.”
When a self-described “online group of football fans with a passion for Jesus” asked Jennings if there was anything they could pray for, Jennings replied:
@gpw16_80 please pray for peace in our hearts, humility in our preparation, clarity in our minds, and strength in our bodies. Glory to God.
— Jennings 141 (@Jennings141) January 26, 2013
The first words on Jerod-Eddie’s Twitter tagline? “Love God, my Family and Football!”
Speaking of his adopted son, Rick Kaepernick said: “Colin’s a fairly religious kid, but he’s not in your face about it. It’s more about him and what he believes.”
Lee’s Twitter page says it all: “Punter for 49ers. God, family, friends, and football!”
Talking about his career with the 49ers, Looney says: “It’s a blessing to come into work every day. I thank God for the opportunity he’s given me to be here.”
In a heartwarming collection of quotes by and about the 49ers defender, Everyone Loves Ray, McDonald stresses the importance of humility: “Every day I wake up, I’m thankful to God and I appreciate the opportunity I’ve been given.”
Well this one’s pretty obvious – just take a look at the background on Moss’s Twitter account (the “3f’s” are faith, family and football):
After being drafted by the 49ers, Robinson told reporters: “God has blessed me with an opportunity to live my dream and play professional football.”
Smith makes a good point with the tattoo on his chest: “If God is on my side, why should I fear mortal man?”
Wilhoite’s Twitter tagline sums him up: “A God fearing man and a linebacker for the 49ers.”
Willis credits his grandmother with fostering his close relationship with Christ. When it comes to his career, Willis is careful to keep a check on his ego: “I know that I didn’t get here by myself. I didn’t do it on my own. I know that it’s truly a blessing. I feel like if it was the Good Lord who put me here it’s the Good Lord who blessed me to be able to do what I do. I don’t want to brag and say, ‘Oh yeah, its me. Oh, look at me. Here I am, da,da,da,’ because just as he blessed you today it could be gone tomorrow.”
Thanks for reading! If you liked this post, please consider sharing with your friends! :)
Good luck to both teams!
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Jessica is a proud Christian, Harvard psychology major and former personal trainer (certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine) who has merged her three passions - faith, fitness and psychology - into the popular blog, "Prayers and Apples." Jessica's goal is to increase personal peace, health and happiness by promoting understanding of the mind-body-spirit connection.
The blog homepage is: www.PrayersAndApples.com