Jesus Won the Super Bowl

sorry super bowl fans

As tens of millions of Americans did on Sunday, I watched the Philadelphia Eagles defeats the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Patriots were expected to win, so kudos to the Eagles, head coach Doug Pederson, and quarterback Nick Foles for doing their part to provide TV viewers with one of the best Super Bowls in history. Thanks should also go to Patriot head coach Bill Belichick, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and his defense for allowing a back-up quarterback to thoroughly and completely rout the Patriot defense. Outside of missing a pass that would have led to an easy touchdown, Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady did all he could to win the game, setting several NFL Super Bowl offensive records in the process.

After the game, news reporters turned their attention to Eagles players, asking them how they beat the Belichick-Brady dynasty. Here’s some of what they said:

My faith in the Lord means everything. I’m a believer in Jesus Christ and that’s first and foremost. That’s everything. I wouldn’t be able to do this game without Him because I don’t have the strength to go out and do this. This is supernatural.

It’s also an opportunity to go out there and share what’s He’s done in my life. And it’s not about prospering at all. It’s about how He’s humbled me. In my weaknesses, He made me strong, 2 Corinthians 12:9. You know, whenever I was at my lowest, that’s where my relationship with Christ grew.

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles

I can only give the praise to my Lord and savior Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity. And I’m going to tell you something. I’ve got the best players in the world, and it’s a resilient group. I love this coaching staff. Mr. Lurie, the owner. And not only do we have the best fans in the world, we now have the best team in the world. Thank you guys.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson

Uh, I had better score. I mean, glory to God first and foremost. We wouldn’t be here without him. This team is amazing. I mean, each and every day we go out there, we love to practice, and I think that’s the foundation of this team. And wow, what a run it’s been.

Eagles receiver Zach Ertz

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Evidently, JESUS, and not the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl.

As I did research for the post, I stumbled across several articles detailing recent conversions of Eagles’ players to Evangelical Christianity. Both Nick Foles and fellow quarterback Carson Wentz view themselves as evangelists for Jesus. One report stated that at least five players have received Christian baptism in the team’s recovery pool and several more have been baptized in hotel pools.

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WND.com reports (no link due to possible virus threat):

In March, tight end Zach Ertz committed his life to Christ.

“I was baptized in March, got married the next day. Our marriage has been built on that foundation from the Word and Jesus and it’s changed my life. And just to have these guys hold me accountable on a daily basis has been phenomenal,” Ertz told CBN News.

A few months later, wide receiver Marcus Johnson was baptized in a North Carolina swimming pool ahead of a game against the Carolina Panthers.

Five teammates — linebackers Jordan Hicks, Mychal Kendricks and Kamu Grugier-Hill, and wide receivers Paul Turner and David Watford — were baptized in the Philadelphia Eagles’ recovery pool late last year, according to reports.

The above mentioned article quotes Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich as saying:

I think it [Evangelical Christianity] helps you be a better teammate. Our primary calling in life as a Christian is to bring out the best in other people. That’s the primary message of Christianity. We’ve been created to glorify God. How do we do that? He gives us gifts and abilities, and we’re supposed to bring those out in other people.

The article also mentions that Evangelical Carson Wentz created a promotional video for a faith-based group that uses the Super Bowl as means to evangelize non-Christians. Wentz stated:

If you are a pastor anywhere in the world who’s looking to impact the people in your community, please consider inviting me and other NFL players into your church this Super Bowl weekend. I promise it will be something God uses to transform the people you are called to serve. And I believe for all eternity.

So there ya have it, JESUS won the Super Bowl. According to numerous Eagles players, it was Jesus who gave them the strength and ability to defeat the mighty Patriots. The Bible says, in ALL THINGS give thanks. And this is all these players are doing. They are just thanking Jesus for taking time out from healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding the hungry, tending to victims of child sexual abuse, and ending war to influence the outcome of the Super Bowl. What an awesome God, right?

The New England Patriots also have a number of Evangelical players. However, none of them thanked God after the game for causing them to lose the game. If God picked the Eagles to win, that means he also picked a loser — the New England Patriots. If Evangelicals are to give God thanks for ALL THINGS, why do we never hear football players thanking God for their teams going down in defeat? Surely, Jesus is worthy of praise, regardless of the score? Or does the silence from the Patriots locker room reveal the truth about how Evangelicals view life; that all good things come from God and all bad things come from Satan or are the result of sin/personal failure; that Jesus is all about winners, not losers.

And when the Eagles fail to replicate their magical 2017 season? Will Jesus get the blame, or will the blame rightly rest on being outcoached, outplayed, or not having talented enough players to win the day? Evangelical sports figures make a mockery of their faith and their God when they attribute their wins to God. With all that is going on in the world today — a sure sign that the Evangelical God is on vacation or in the bathroom — surely God can’t be bothered with the outcomes of sporting events. Yet, players assure us that he is, reminding millions of Americans of the fact that when it comes to things that matter, God is nowhere to be found.

According to the Catholic chaplain for the Minnesota Vikings, God indeed cares about and watches the Super Bowl, but he is careful not to pick a winner:

There’s a lot of praying going on during these games. If the Super Bowl is important to 115 million people, it’s important to God…If you pray for victory, your team, you pray for loss of another. But God is the God of both sides.

Way to hedge your bets, Father — a typical Catholic response to the “hard” questions of life. Evangelicals will have none of that. God is the sovereign Lord over all, including who wins the Super Bowl. And on February 4, 2018, God determined that Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles would win the Super Bowl, and the New England Patriots would lose the game. Forget all the post-game analysis. God’s will for the game was an Eagles win and a Patriots loss. No need to critique player performance, coaching decisions, or the officiating. For at least one night, the thrice Holy God who created the universe in six days was an Eagles fan. Stay tuned for which team God will choose to win next year.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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12 Comments

  1. Steve

    Yep, it was indeed a godly victory! So all you atheists can SUCK IT!!

    (Also, the good lord will pick the Panthers to win next year! Hell, I mean heck YEAH!!)

    Reply
  2. ObstacleChick

    So as a professional football player, the lesson here is that one should spend less time in the weight room or practicing and more time in prayer, Bible study, and proselytizinget to make sure one’s life is less sinful than the lives of the players on the other team. And I guess it’s clear now that God doesn’t care about Jews, Muslims, Catholics, or progressive Christians, only evangelical ones. Good to know. So which team will Jesus hardest next year?

    Reply
  3. Zoe

    Jesus wins every year.

    Maybe when these guys are done with hotel baptisms and giving their god the glory for football games they can spend future SuperBowls dealing with the influx of human trafficking and rescue those sold into prostitution for the benefit of their adoring fans.

    Reply
  4. James M Delp

    Your writings are extremely insightful in many ways. You do however seem as though you are an ex pastor who has been jaded by fundamentalism and possibly some church folks. In dealing with these issues , be careful not to go to the opposite extreme. Just some narrow minded insight from a fellow struggler. Thanks

    Reply
  5. howitis

    Heh…whenever a football player (or any athlete, really) gives all the credit to Jesus for winning a game or championship, I like to drag out this little nugget….

    Reply
    1. Karen the rock whisperer

      Oh, I love this!

      Reply
  6. Eileen

    I’m pretty sure I saw Jesus leaving a sports book in Vegas the day before the Super Bowl. I guess now we know why.

    Reply
  7. Autumn

    So the other thing about this? It’s about team cohesion, if it’s built around Evangelical Christianity it can also be built around Catholicism, Islam, Bushido or Judaism. Or Paganism. No matter what it was built around, someone would be mad, Someone would think it was amazing, and it would fall apart after a few years.

    Maybe I’m weird, but I like it better if the teams I follow are as likely to loose as win, it’s more fun when they have a great season…But then I grew up near Buffalo NY and I grew up reading Peanuts and appreciating Charlie Brown 🙂

    Reply
  8. Troy

    I saw the groanworthy tip o’ the hat by Eagles coach giving a bit of a commercial for his lord and savior Jesus Christ.
    While winning a game is fun and exciting, in the Christian/religious context I can think of nothing that meets “taking the Lord’s name in vain” as thinking your football game is worthy of sharing the same sentence as the divine.
    It would be an interesting to analyze why athletes are in many cases so annoyingly overtly religious. I suspect that part of it is that no matter who good a player you are much of the skills acquired are largely based on a set of involuntary actions that are the result of practice. Athletes speak of being in “the zone” where their actions come together and they can do no wrong, but even the best training can’t make these skills conscious and 100% repeatable. So at the bottom of an athletic contest is this faith one has in their own skills. With a small tweak this faith easily can encompass divine favor. In the same way the ancient poets used to petition the muses to speak through them (because no mortal could do possibly to this on their own) modern athletes continue this tradition with their religious platitudes. Even if it requires Jesus Christ interfering with Tom Brady’s catch…

    Reply
    1. ObstacleChick

      Troy, I’ve been thinking about why so many athletes are overtly religious too. Many athletes tend to be superstitious and ritualistic – like you said, there is a lot of skill honed through practice, and when someone is in their “slot” or “zone”, they perform quite well. So often athletes will try to replicate a pre-game ritual which (they hope) will help them get into that zone. My teen son is a baseball pitcher and a bowler, both requiring technical targeting skill, and I see him repeating rituals before games/matches. Sometimes he’s in the zone, sometimes he’s off, and it can vary throughout the same game or match. Plus, in sport, athletes are taught to visualize success, to repeat mantras, and to think positively. In religion, there are rituals, mantras, “positive thinking”, visualization. Additionally, in religion there’s a deity that might, just might, give you that slight boost when you need it to help your performance. I don’t think I’m explaining this well, but it seems to me that there is commonality between athletics and religion, as least as far as ritualization and visualization go, with a bit of superstition thrown in. It’s hard to rely on just oneself – thinking that there is a greater force in the universe that can give you that 0.01% of extra strength that you need to overcome an opponent or difficult situation can go a long way toward better athletic performance. Placebo effect maybe? (Interestingly enough, my son does not believe in any spirits or deities – he just does his rituals and tries to focus on what he’s doing).

      Reply
    2. Karen the rock whisperer

      I missed the game completely, by design. My husband caught the last five minutes of it, sort of accidentally. We’re both atheists; I come from a Catholic family, and Husband comes from an Evangelical family. He commented that he was very put off by all the praising of Jesus by the winning team. He also noted that from what he was taught growing up, bothering God/Jesus about a football game was sacrilegious. I, too, would have been reamed as a child/teen if I claimed that Jesus had helped my school’s team win.

      But we’re old–58 and 59–and I sense both our natal religions have evolved.

      Reply
      1. Autumn

        I wasn’t raised in any religion, but I was raised around Catholicism and I too have the unspoken understanding that “Praise G-d we won!” would have been looked on rather poorly. My mother, who wasn’t at all religious would have said “How Tacky!”

        Reply

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