Super Bowl LVII promises to be a pitched battle between two NFL teams that have dominated their opponents this year and arrived at the final game as number one seeds. The starting quarterbacks for the big game on February 12 in Glendale, Arizona, are Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs.
They have at least two things in common. They both want to win, and they both want to give the glory to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Both quarterbacks are also gifted athletes and have ascended quickly to the elite ranks of NFL quarterbacks at early stages of their careers.
Jalen Hurts led the Philadelphia Eagles to a regular season record this year of 14-3 and bested the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers by lopsided margins in the playoffs to advance to the Super Bowl. Hurts, in only his third year with the team, was drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
In the 34 games Hurts has started for the Eagles, he led his team to a record of 23 wins and 11 losses. Not bad for a 24-year-old. Other quarterbacks might be boastful, even arrogant with those kinds of accomplishments under his belt, but he doesn’t let it go to his head.
And he remembers to let the main thing be the main thing. And that main thing is Jesus Christ.
After trouncing the 49ers 31-7 last week in the NFC Championship game, Hurts answered questions from the press. Asked about his team’s journey over the season, he replied, “I’m forever grateful. I’m forever grateful. Only God knows the things that each individual on this team has been able to overcome to come together as a team and do something special.”
Then, in response to a subsequent question from a reporter about his young career, Hurts specifically mentioned difficulties he experienced in college, and brought up a Bible verse that has meant a lot to him – John 13:7 – saying, “You may not know now, but later you’ll understand.”
Earlier this season, Hurts spoke with CBS Sports, and when asked what kept him level-headed, he quickly credited his faith in God.
“I’ve just matured and realized that God is everything,” Hurts said, “and He’s worthy of praise. You have to put Him at the center of everything that you do. That’s what I believe. All my spiritual wisdom — all of my wisdom as a whole — comes from Him, in some way, shape or form, whether that be passed down from my father, my mother, my grandmother.
“I just think, in all the things that we experience in life – good, bad or indifferent – you have to keep Him in the center.”
Hurts’ faith is something he has in common with the Chiefs starting quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.
The 27-year-old Mahomes, just in his fifth year with the Chiefs since being drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, has already been to the Super Bowl twice, leading the Chiefs to victory in 2019, where he was also named Super Bowl MVP for his performance. In 80 regular-season games for the Chiefs since 2017, his record is 64-16, and he is 10-3 in the post season.
Mahomes has already set numerous NFL passing records, most of them beginning with, “Youngest quarterback to …” or “Fastest to …” such-and-such record. With a 62-mile-per-hour throwing speed and capable of throwing a pass 80 yards, Mahomes has been compared with, as well as complimented by, the great Green Bay Packer and Hall-of-Fame quarterback, Brett Favre.
“My mom and dad both raised me in the church,” Mahomes said in a 2020 video for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “Faith is huge for me, just being able to stay on the right track and being able to live life knowing that I can be free, and God will have me, and He’ll always accept me.”
He has a pre-game ritual he engages in that just might remind you of Tim Tebow, the former Florida Gator and Denver Broncos quarterback.
“Before every game, I walk the field, and I just do a prayer at the goal post, and I thank God for those opportunities, and I thank God for just letting me be on a stage where I can glorify Him. And I feel like the biggest thing that I pray for is that whatever happens, win or lose, success or failure, that I’m glorifying Him and doing everything the right way that He wants me to.”
When the dust clears at the end of Super Bowl LVII, one team will celebrate, the other will be disappointed, and approximately 100 million fans around the world will debate the results for weeks afterward.
But for the two young men on the field who will be under the most public scrutiny – Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes – their on-field accomplishments will be secondary to their ultimate goal of making sure that God is glorified through their actions, whether it be throwing a touchdown pass, setting an example of good sportsmanship, taking a win (or loss) with grace, or talking to a reporter afterwards.
And that would definitely be a super result.
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