The New England Patriots are Super Bowl champions once again after defeating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in a low-scoring game that mainly showcased some impressive defensive play from both teams. The Patriots confirmed yet again that they are an NFL Dynasty, winning their 6th World Championship after also winning 9 Conference Titles over the past 18 seasons. Sunday night was their third straight Super Bowl appearance.
Long-running success like this can fuel antagonism where the achiever becomes the enemy, so it’s fair to say many football fans were rooting against the Patriots. It comes with the territory. But at the core of the Patriots’ dynasty is a haven for players to cultivate their convictions.
In the lead up to the big game, Dwayne Allen opened up to CBN Sports about Patriots players following their faith. “It’s something you don’t expect. I think outside looking in the way the media covers our team — faith isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. We work in such a high stress environment that you run into pitfalls day in and day out and you don’t think you’re good enough and you start doubting your stuff and it’s this and it’s that. And you have leaders like Matthew Slater, like Devin McCourty that comes along and they lift you up with words of encouragement.”
Slater said in a recent interview that he does his best to read the Bible daily. “It’s so hard to navigate the course of the day without looking into God’s Word. It makes me feel better about the direction of my day and how I interact with people throughout the course of the day. The way I look at football, it’s a tremendous opportunity not only to play a game that I love and provide for my family; it gives me a platform for what I believe is the most important thing, and that’s reaching people, connecting with people, building relationships and trying to show them the love of Christ. I’ve always looked at football as a gift. It’s a vehicle that the Lord has given me to reach people.”
McCourty says, “I think it allows you to not think of this moment as too big. My guy Matt Slater says before every game: ‘Win, lose or tie we already know we have victory because Christ did that on Calvary!’ I think having that message allows you to kind of just relax and go play football.”
Rex Burkhead added,. “Oh it’s great! It’s awesome to be a part of. So many great guys. So many solid guys. We’ve grown as a team, because you don’t play for yourself! Those earthly glories, stats, awards, what not, you play for God’s glory! Just out there and glorify Him with the talents He’s given you, make the most of those abilities to give all the praise to Him.”
Patriots running back Sony Michel explained, “Without Jesus Christ, without our Lord and Savior, there is none of this,” the athlete said. “We get all this glory, but the glory is really not for us; it’s for him. We do this for him. Once I step out of the house, I want people to be able to see that God is working in my life. It’s not me working, it’s not me doing the things that I do. It’s him.”
Defensive end, Derek Rivers, has been vocal about his faith on Twitter where he’s periodically retweeted Bible verses for his approximately 6,500 followers to read. “You get a sense of peace just reading and learning about Christ and the God that you serve who is the creator of the Universe, so it’s everything,” said Rivers in the video.
“Ultimately, at the end of the day it’s not about what we’re doing on the football field, it’s about how we’re growing in our walks with Christ. How we can bring Him more glory. How we can pick up the lessons that He wants us to learn.”
“Without faith it’s impossible to please God. Well, I think we had to draw on a lot of faith this year,” Slater says. “There were a lot of times where our destination, our inroad looked a little cloudy, but through it all we maintained faith in one another, we maintained faith in our process and we’re here! And we’re so thankful for what God’s done to build our character through that process and ah, just enjoying the ride.”