In a 42-10 rout of the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night, the San Francisco 49ers kept a perfect 5-0 record. Meanwhile, their star running back, Christian McCaffrey, extended his franchise-record streak of scoring a touchdown in 14 straight games.
To keep his on-field success and accolades in perspective, McCaffrey said he relies on his Christian faith and frequent prayer. Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle recently, the 27-year-old athlete said he prays on the sideline and in the huddle, asking for team members and opponents to stay healthy, asking that he will play honorably, and thanking God for the blessing of playing a game he loves.
“My faith is very important to me, and that’s why I’m praying all the time,” said McCaffrey, a lifelong Catholic. “When you have a bunch of people chanting your name, it’s important that you give the honor and glory back to the person, God, that’s allowing me to do this.”
Christian McCaffrey on Surrendering to God
McCaffrey, who often points heavenward after scoring a touchdown, grew up in an athletic family. After attending Catholic elementary school, he was a multi-sport star at Valor Christian High School near Denver. During his college years at Stanford, McCaffrey wrote about his “strong faith in God” and how he plays for “more than just football.”
McCaffrey, a two-time Pro Bowler, was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after scoring four touchdowns against Arizona on Oct. 1. Last fall, the Carolina Panthers traded McCaffrey to San Francisco, where he helped the 49ers reach the NFC Championship Game. Currently, only the 49ers and the Eagles, who beat them in that game, are undefeated.
The running back, who often shares Bible verses on social media, said surrendering to God provides peace. “When you have a ‘why,’ you can endure everything,” McCaffrey said in a 2022 interview. “I think when your faith is strong, when you understand what’s going on in your life…you just turn to God and surrender.” For McCaffrey, doing that “was the biggest weight off my back” and “a gift” to realize “you’re not in control as much as you think you are.”
‘Fear and Respect’ God, Says 49ers Running Back
Earlier this year, San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy credited McCaffrey for being a positive Christian influence. Speaking to Sports Spectrum, Purdy said the running back is one of the “solid believers” on the team who meets for Bible studies and provides fellowship.
“You’re in a crazy business, you’re on the road, you’re going to different places,” Purdy said of life in the NFL. “But to have guys that believe in the Lord and can help you and pour into you with their experiences and everything, I found that huge.”