Throughout the NFL, zealous fans approach NFL players, hands shaking and voices cracking in excitement to be near them. For as long as sports have been around, fans have always worshipped athletes. For me, growing up, it was The Minnesota Twins who were my heroes. I remember the thrill I felt when my favorite players signed the baseball that I proudly displayed in my room.
The money, status, and fame that NFL players experienced, often as young 20-somethings, indeed affected them. That was no surprise. They have everything that most people spend a lifetime working toward: bulging bank accounts, huge houses, and fans shouting their name. But having it all did not lead to entitlement for most of the players who I studied. Instead, most quickly realized that despite having it all-- there was still something missing.
When they had it all and knew they needed something more, many NFL players turned to faith.
There was no amount of money, no amount of fame, not a single Super Bowl ring or city parade that fulfilled their longing for something more. Reminiscent of how fans chant their names on game days, players and their wives shouted “Jes-us!” in unison, giving all of the glory to Him.
Football is fleeting. So is life. But what these players have found in their faith has the promise to last forever.