The God Factor in Football

jesus-footballMy head slumped and I threw the remote to the ground in disgust.  There were only five minutes left in the game and Seattle Seahawks’ Quarterback Russell Wilson threw  his fourth interception.  Only this time it wasn’t his fault.  It was the fault of the receiver for not catching the ball.

Throughout the game I sneered at my guests that football games are long games and to knock off the negativity for we were going to come back and win.  With that last interception and only five minutes left I joined them bathing myself in the black sludge of negative talk.

Then I heard Troy Aikman make another stupid comment:  “There is still a ton of time left in this game.”  Right, Troy, aside from your incredibly awesome name you have nothing to say, there is no way we come back from a 19-7 deficit with only five minutes left and no possession of the ball.

As the tide changed I watched, cheered, booed the crotch grab, fell to the floor in disbelief as the Seattle Seahawks made one of the greatest comeback’s in NFL history.  We would be back in the Super Bowl and it was the resiliency of Russell Wilson that led the charge.

After the game ‘Robot Wilson’ as his Seahawks’ teammates calls him, was crying through the emotion of an improbable win.

After Russell thanked God in this interview and others, the media critics, those that ‘know’ God well came out with criticism.

Mike Florio with NBC Sports wrote an article titled: Russell Wilson credits, and blames, divine intervention for Sunday’s win.  Florio writes that Russell Wilson thanked God for the victory.  His source for the statement?  A comment made by Russell Wilson to Erin Andrews in the above video.

“God is too good all the time, man, every time.”

Hmmm, doesn’t sound like Russell is saying that God used divine intervention to secure the victory but Florio doesn’t understand.  He continues by writing: Plenty of God-fearing Packers fans probably disagreed with that assessment. It’s a question as old as sports. Does God have a rooting interest? Does He help one team (and in turn hurt another) through the micromanagement of His will?

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my father-in-law about day trading within the stock market.  My father-in-law has been in the financial industry for a long time and he kept trying to educate me on why day trading is not the most secure way to invest.  He eventually stopped talking because I didn’t get it, I had poor Financial Intelligence.  Shoot, who am I kidding, I HAVE poor Financial Intelligence.

More criticism came from Tom Ley of Deadspin.  His title is a little more juicy, really drawing the reader in by the grabber headline:  Russell Wilson:  I blame God for those four interceptions 

The human side of me mutters the words, ‘what an idiot.’ But then I’m reminded of the words of Jesus: “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”

Did Russell Wilson really blame the four interceptions on God?  Let’s see what Russell actually said after being asked about the four picks, and going from the worst game of his life to the most exhilarating in the span of eight minutes of game time.

“That’s God setting it up, to make it so dramatic, so rewarding, so special,” he said, alone for a moment in the locker room before heading out for the night. “I’ve been through a lot in life, and had some ups and downs.  It’s what’s led me to this day.” – Russell Wilson

I’m not Russell Wilson here but it looks like he is responding to portion of the question of going from the worst game of his life to the most exhilarating.  Kind of like his life, he’s been through a lot in life (went through a lot in the game) and had some ups and downs (did you watch the game?  Many ups and downs).

Green Bay Packer Quarterback even chimed in that He Doesn’t Think God’s a Football Fan. 

Is this really about players believing that God plays a part in the victory?  Well, I try to coach my players that they must WIN at any cost.  But my definition of ‘win’ is within themselves.  Always be better the next game or practice then they were before.  Always strive to learn.  The scoreboard is only a way for others to measure; the winning comes within yourself.   So does God help us win?  Yes, I believe He does.

Russell Wilson, like every Christian isn’t perfect.  In fact, most of Christians are broken hearted, poor, and losers.  They lie, cheat, steal, and disappoint others frequently.  We rely on God as our crutch, since we can’t do it without Him.

If I’m a Christian school teacher in a public school and the first 45 minutes of class I’m not teaching my A game for reasons that only I know about.  Maybe I was up late the night before, maybe I’m under the weather, or maybe I’ve found some emotional news that is distracting me.  In that time, those first 45 minutes, I may be stumbling in how I’m teaching the students but between my ears I’m praying.  Constantly praying asking that God help me get back to teaching the way I know how.  To make matters worst, let’s say I’m being evaluated by my superior who is in the back of the room and sees how poorly I am performing.

In the final 5 minutes of class something clicks.  My teaching style breaks through and students are engaged in conversation.  The final five minutes I’m on fire and when the final bell rings, the students are smiling, some clapping and others patting me on the back as they leave.

The superior after class comes up and compliments my performance, he is amazed at the turn around and asks “how did you do it?”

My answer:  God is so good, it was all Him man, all Him.

I’m not a teacher.  My profession is in Sales.  As I go into every sales meeting I pray that God will give me the strength needed to win the deal.  That the deal would be beneficial for the client and for our company.  If I close the deal it means someone else didn’t win the deal.  Was God involved in closing the deal?  No.  Was God involved in helping me be the best I can be based on how I prepared?  Yes.  Absolutely Yes.

God is good.  He is good all the time.  In the midst of tragic circumstances there is always something you can look to in finding God’s goodness.

I hope this helps those that just don’t get it about God’s involvement in our lives as Christians.  He loves us, everyday and is with us through every valley.

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