The Eagles Are in the Super Bowl!
I’m obviously excited that my Philadelphia Eagles will be representing the NFC in this year’s Super Bowl. Having been born in Philadelphia, I’ve been cheering for the Eagles for over 30 years now, rooting for them every season. This season’s team, however, is one of my favorites, because the roster is full of devout Christians who are very open about their faith. Last year’s backup quarterback, Chase Daniels told ESPN; "This is by far the most spiritual team I've been on." This Eagles team is so devoted to the Word that players published a 15-day devotional, which you can listen to on the You Version Bible App!One of my favorite stories of this season is the story of Nick Foles. I remember cheering for Foles back in 2012 when he first became the Eagle’s starting quarterback. Half way through the 2014 season, he lost the starting job to former USC Trojan, Mark Sanchez. He was then traded to the Rams, lost hisstarting job again, and was then cut. Last season, he signed with the Chiefs, rarely got the opportunity to play, and was then cut again.
At one point, Foles considered leaving the game of football. He says in the You Version Bible App; “I wanted to retire from the NFL, and I really struggled. I couldn’t pick up a football for about eight months. I had no love for the game; it was tough.”
It was actually a Bible verse that changed his mind! The verse was 2 Corinthians 12:9; “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’”
Foles explains; “this Scripture… has really been a big verse for me these last couple of years. I’ve gone through ups and downs of the NFL. I’ve gone from being a starter, traded, benched, backup, backup, but This verse has brought so much meaning to my heart and in my life. I wanted to retire… but, I kept reading Scripture. I kept praying. I kept asking God. And so many of us ask God for signs. We ask God; ‘Hey, please just put it on the wall; I want to know.’ But that’s not how it works He’s not always going to do that. He can put something on your heart, but He’s not always going to give you a flat-out sign. And as I read this verse, looking back, He was shaping me. He was bringing me down to my knees.
I’ll never forget the moment when I decided that I had the heart to play football and I wanted to use the platform that God had given me to glorify Him with everything I have… I remember praying to Him, and at that moment when I prayed to Him I sort of felt this sense of calm. And what I felt in my heart was, ‘Nick, I’m going to be with you, you just need to make a decision…’ And at that moment, through that prayer, He said, ‘Hey, just take a step of faith. You’re either going to stop playing the game of football and you’re going to go onto a different area of your life and I’m going to be with you; I’m going to be the most important thing in your life - or you’re going to step back into football and you’re going to continue to play and I’m going to be with you every step of the way and you’re going to play to glorify me.’
And, in that moment, I decided to go back to the game of football and it was the greatest decision I ever made. I was so weak at that time, but… I wouldn’t change a thing because I grew so much through everything I went through. That’s a story I can share with friends, with loved ones – if I’m speaking at a church – or if I’m in the locker room; wherever that might be. Because everyone feels weak at some time in our lives. But we have to realize that, when we’re going through that, God is shaping our hearts, allowing us to grow, and helping us become who He created us to truly be.
Eagles fans across the country are glad that he came back to the game of football. This offseason, Foles signed with the Eagles to be the backup to another devout Christian, Carson Wentz. On December 10, in a game against the Rams, Wentz tore his ACL, presenting Foles the opportunity to be the starter once again. He has responded by leading the Eagles all the way to the Super Bowl!
As you’re with friends and family on Super Bowl Sunday, share Nick Foles’ story with your loved ones. Use it as an opportunity to speak to others about God and how He works in our lives.
If you’re interested in hearing more stories like this, check out my blog at www.alampuntomycleats.com. Though it’s usually about baseball, I will be posting stories about Foles and other Eagles in preparation for this Super Bowl.