This year’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers has all the makings of an NFL classic as the defending champions take on Mr. Irrelevant and the comeback kids in a replay of their 2020 matchup. With tens of millions of people set to tune in, there’s a lot on the line. But no matter who ends up victorious, these six players of faith are embracing the opportunity to honor God on football’s biggest stage.
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SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Not even NFL scriptwriters could come up with a storyline to match Brock Purdy’s professional football career thus far. The 49ers quarterback, who was the last pick in the 2022 draft, is officially headed to his first Super Bowl. It’s a testament to the second-year player’s poise and confidence that comes from an unwavering faith in Jesus Christ.
“When I’m down 17 at the half, honestly, I’m just thinking, ‘All right God, You’ve taken me here, and win or lose I’m going to glorify You. That’s my peace, the joy, the steadfastness — that’s where I get it,” Mr. Purdy said after the Niners pulled off a stunning comeback win over the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship game. “Getting drafted last, people overlook you and all that kind of stuff, and then all you need is an opportunity and watch and see what He does. I put my faith and trust in Him and He’s gotten me where I’m at.”
San Francisco running back Christian McCaffrey has had a season for the books. He won the NFL rushing title while posting career-highs in rushing yards, yards per carry, and touchdown catches. He was a unanimous choice for the NFL All-Pro Team and is a finalist for MVP and Offensive Player of the Year honors. But those earthly treasures are nothing compared to the riches of the 27-year-old’s faith, which has kept him grounded during all the ups and downs of his NFL career.
“When you have a ‘why,’ you can endure everything, and I think when your faith is strong, when you understand what’s going on in your life … you just turn to God and surrender,” Mr. McCaffrey explained in a 2022 interview. “For me, that was the biggest weight off my back was that word — just keep telling myself, ‘Surrender.’ You’re not in control as much as you think you are, and that’s a gift.”
Linebacker Dre Greenlaw is known for his powerful tackles and big plays. In fact, he played a pivotal role in the Niners’ divisional round victory against the Green Bay Packers with two interceptions, including one in the final minute that sealed the win. But what many don’t know about the 26-year-old is that he grew up in foster care, and his life may have taken a very different turn without faith and football.
“As many foster homes and shelters and RTC centers I’ve been I’ve never lost sight of who I am and who brought me this far and God has always been there for me,” Mr. Greenlaw wrote in 2019. “God is Good All the Time, All the Time God is Good.”
Patrick Mahomes is no stranger to the bright lights of football’s biggest stage. The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback has led his team to the Super Bowl in four of the past five seasons and won two of them. He knows what it takes to win, and a big part of that for him is letting God lead the way.
“My Christian faith plays a role in everything that I do,” Mr. Mahomes said before last year’s big game. “I mean I always ask God to lead me in the right direction and to let me be who I am for his name. He has a role in everything that I do, and obviously, it will be on the huge stage at the Super Bowl that he’s given me and I want to make sure I’m glorifying him while I do it.”
Harrison Butker has become an essential piece of the Kansas City Chiefs offense during the past seven seasons. Not only did the placekicker nail the winning field goal in the Super Bowl last season, but he also helped seal the deal for the Chiefs in this year’s AFC Championship win over the Ravens with a 52-yarder at the end of the second quarter — the final points that the Chiefs would score in that game. However, not even multiple Super Bowl rings or the second highest career field goal percentage in NFL history can compare to the prize that is the 28-year-old’s faith in Jesus.
“[God] is the most important thing,” he said in an interview before last year’s Super Bowl. “If I didn’t have faith in God, I don’t think I’d be the father I am, the husband I am, the kicker I am. That kind of sets the tone for everything else and everything falls under that, but that gives me the strength to go do everything I need to do.”
Drue Tranquill admittedly had Super Bowls on the brain when he signed a one-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs in the offseason. And he definitely did his part to help the team get there — playing a pivotal role in slowing down Lamar Jackson in the Chiefs’ AFC Championship win over the Ravens. But every goal the linebacker has set for himself over the years is rooted in his faith and a prayer that he prayed over his life when he was just 12 years old.
“I was just on my floor and faith had been a huge part of my life. I just wrote, after reading Jeremiah 29:11, ‘Lord, you know the plans you have for me, if you give me the platform to reach people, I promise I’ll give it all back to you in full,’” he explained in a 2019 interview. “And that’s hung above my bed for the past 10, 11 years of my life.”
Super Bowl LVIII will take place on Sunday, February 11.
Marissa Mayer is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in Christian Post, The Daily Signal, and Intellectual Takeout. Mayer has a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Arizona State University.
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