Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was baptized in seventh grade and says faith has “always been a big part of what I do.” Teammate Antonio Hamilton, a cornerback, celebrated Sunday’s AFC Championship win over Buffalo by tweeting: “This Has To Be The Most Amazing Birthday Gift Ever! Gotta Be God! I’m Going To The Super Bowl!!!! #HUMBLEDandBLESSED #DISCIPLINEDandSACRIFICED” The next day, Hamilton tweeted out the words of Isaiah 55:6-7.
Veteran punter Dustin Colquitt, who works with organizations including Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), is the Chiefs’ Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. In a video for FCA, Colquitt says he thinks God put him in pro football and gave him a platform “to be able to share with other people.” God, he says, “always finds a way to put people, his people, in situations where he can spread his Word and spread his kingdom.” In that respect, says Colquitt, NFL players aren’t any different from other people. “We know [God has] put us in this game or this situation,” he says. “We see God reflecting in all aspects of our life. Why wouldn’t he do it on the football field, too?”
Colquitt and Wisniewski often lead team prayers before Chiefs games, and Colquitt says his teammate is so enthusiastic “he could be a preacher in the South.”
Kansas City Coach Andy Reid, formerly with the Philadelphia Eagles, belongs to the Mormon Church.
Using the Big Game to Spread the Gospel
Though not all Christians are fans of mixing football and faith, efforts are underway to use the national event for Gospel outreach. Football Sunday provides coordinated materials that churches can use in conjunction with the big game. For Football Sunday 2021, the theme verse is Psalm 16:8, which concludes with the words “I will not be shaken”—a much-needed message after the disarray of 2020, the ministry notes. Its materials feature testimonials from NFL personalities such as Benjamin Watson and former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy.
Other churches use the Super Bowl to draw attention to issues such as domestic violence and sex trafficking. On January 27, Mission Hill Church in Tampa Bay is holding a live-streamed panel of experts titled “Traffick Stop: Super Bowl Edition.”
For 20 years, the group Sports Fan Outreach International has traveled to major athletic events to conduct open-air preaching. Starting on January 29, the ministry plans to lead a “10-day Preach-a-Thon” to “saturate” Tampa Bay with the Gospel.