At an inspirational National Football League honors ceremony that was all about relationships, the spotlight shone brightest on the most important one of all: a relationship with God.
Accepting the Bart Starr Award for outstanding character on and off the field at the 2022 Super Bowl Breakfast, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson urged viewers to seek a personal relationship with Jesus.
“I want to speak life into anybody who may not know who Jesus is at this moment,” Wilson said when prompted by online host and CBS broadcaster James Brown. “But He knows you, and He loves you, and He’s wildly obsessed with you.”
Wilson reassured those watching that God knows the future and what it holds, and that He is ready to welcome anyone with open arms. “He’s a God of healing. He’s a God of forgiveness. He’s a God of love. He meets you right where you are and honestly, He’s already ahead of you,” Wilson said.
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich, invited to close out the program with a gospel message, was no less inspirational:
“As we make that step of faith, what do we do? We confess that we scored zero. We say, ‘Jesus, You are our Lord and Savior, come into my life,’ and begin an intimate relationship with Him. The first and the primary way to get to know Him is to begin reading the scriptures, reading the gospels, to get to know the life and the person of Christ.”
An NFL-sanctioned event the day before the big game, the annual Super Bowl Breakfast is produced by Athletes in Action [ https://twitter.com/AIAusa] under the auspices of Cru Ministries (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ). The Bart Starr award is one of the few awards that is voted on by players.
Among other acts of character he was recognized for, Wilson and his wife, Ciara, donated $2.7 million to the Seattle Children’s hospital through their “Why Not You Foundation.” The money will fund treatment for pediatric cancer.
“I think this life is about servitude,” Wilson told viewers. “I think it’s about (being]) grateful, to have an attitude of gratitude, and also to be able to serve, to be able to love. … You’ve got to love big. You’ve got to serve big. You’ve got to forgive big.”
The breakfast event this year, returning live after being virtual last year, highlighted four types of relationships among NFL greats: Peyton and Eli Manning as brothers; Jackie and Matthew Slater as father and son, Demario and Tamela Davis as spouses; and Denver Broncos Safety Justin Simmons and Reza Zadeh as chaplain and player.
The Bart Starr Award is named for the late Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame quarterback who led the team to wins in the first two Super Bowls in the 1960s. Starr “lived a life of character defined by his grace, poise, respect and commitment,” Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker said upon Starr’s death in 2019 at 85.
Starr was always clear about the priorities in his relationships.
“Like most kids, I idolized one sports figure or another,” Starr once wrote. “However, Jesus was the ultimate role model for me.”
There we go Coach!!!
Praise God for opportunities like this. https://t.co/PEojJYU2Tj
— Athletes In Action (@AIAusa) February 13, 2022
All quotes: https://sportsspectrum.com/sport/football/2022/02/15/russell-wilson-frank-reich-christ-super-bowl-breakfast/