Back in February, millions of football fans watched the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl for the first time in history, defeating the legendary New England Patriots. But what also took center stage was the Eagles players’ bold faith and eagerness to give God the glory for their win.
Now, Christian author Joshua Cooley is taking fans deep inside the faith lives of quarterback Nick Foles and five other Eagles players in his new best-selling book titled “The Biggest Win.”
“Rarely, if ever, have I spoken to a group of professional athletes so committed to pursuing biblical truth together,” Cooley said. “But I was immediately struck by their unquenchable hunger for scripture and their commitment to genuine Christian discipleship, accountability, and obedience to Great Commission living. Their faith affects everything they do in their personal lives and professional lives.”
Fans got a peak early last year when a picture of the players praying while wide receiver Marcus Johnson was baptized in a North Carolina swimming pool before a game went viral. Another video of linebackers Jordan Hicks, Mychal Kendricks, Kamu Grugier-Hill, and wide receivers Paul Turner and David Watford being baptized in the Philadelphia Eagles’ recovery pool late last year also got thousands of views.
The courageous faith of a few players has lead multiple people to Christ, Cooley shared. “They told a story a couple of seasons ago of a rookie player who came to know the Lord in the hotel room that they were staying in one night just because of the witness of the players,” he said. “They play for a higher purpose than themselves and that just manifests itself every day.”
One way they minister to each other is by taking time to meet off the field. “They make personal time with each other, personal time both as a team and as individuals,” Cooley explained. “That’s something I want readers to take away from this book, is that we can gather together in Christian community. We can use sports to do that…Sports creates community that you sometimes don’t get anywhere else.”
Cooley believes the Philadelphia Eagles can teach other NFL players something important about giving glory where glory is due. Foles and his teammates say it in their own words in the forward of “The Biggest Win.”
“We love football. We love what we do. But football is just a game. And one day we will retire from football. But becoming a follower of Jesus Christ means our identity doesn’t have to be in our latest performance on the field—our identity is in Christ. Following Jesus means that our purpose is larger than being the best athlete. We have a whole new life of meaning, purpose, and service that will last longer than our football careers and have more impact in the world than anything we could accomplish on the field,” they write.
It’s a message Cooley hopes all his readers take away from the book.
“It was so neat to see these six guys give glory to where it was really due which is to our Creator – the one who gave these guys their gifts. If we don’t get that right then we have completely missed the boat,” he told CBN News. “No matter what sport you play, no matter what level you play at, it’s all about giving glory to the one who created you.”