Home Christian News Faith on the Football Field: 6 Christians Heading to Super Bowl LVIII

Faith on the Football Field: 6 Christians Heading to Super Bowl LVIII

Chaplain Earl Smith

In 1983, Pastor Earl Smith became chaplain at San Quentin, California’s oldest prison, at just 27 years old. Before then, he had been on a path of crime, drugs, and gangs himself—until an encounter with Jesus changed his life.

Now, as chaplain for the 49ers and the Golden State Warriors, Smith helps pro athletes meet and grow closer to Jesus. “The reality is: Once you have a true encounter with the Lord, you’re not the same,” said Smith, a husband, father, and grandfather.

Since joining the 49ers franchise in 1997, Smith has regularly taken football players to San Quentin for discussions about social justice. The 49ers also provide holiday gifts for the children of incarcerated prisoners. In his 2015 book “Death Row Chaplain,” Smith shared stories “about what God’s love can accomplish” behind bars.