The star quarterbacks of this year’s Super Bowl teams may be opponents on the field, but it is their common faith that helped them get there.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts, both MVP finalists, are vocal about the impact of their Christian faith on the obstacles they overcame this season.
For Hurts, it was a season that began at an absolute sprint. The Eagles were the hottest team in football before the quarterback went down with a shoulder injury. But he returned at season’s end and led his team to relatively easy playoff wins to arrive at football’s biggest game.
“Only God knows the things that each individual on this team has been able to overcome to come together as a team and do something special,” Hurts said after the NFC Championship game.
He also reflected on his up-and-down journey, from college to the pros to the Super Bowl, quoting from Scripture:
“My favorite [Bible] verse, I went through a lot of stuff in college, and it kind of stuck with me, John 13:7: ‘You may not know now, but later you’ll understand.’ Hopefully people understand.”
In an early-season interview with CBS Sports, Hurts elaborated on how keeping God at the center of his life helps him stay level-headed:
“I’ve just matured and realized that God is everything, and He’s worthy of praise,” Hurts said, adding, “You have to put Him at the center of everything that you do. That’s what I believe. All my spiritual wisdom – all of my wisdom as a whole – comes from Him, in some way, shape or form, whether that be passed down from my father, my mother, my grandmother. I just think, in all the things that we experience in life – good, bad or indifferent – you have to keep Him in the center.”
For Mahomes, he returns to his third Super Bowl in four years. But he too overcame an injury, a high-ankle sprain in the divisional playoff game, to get there. Then, in the AFC Championship against the Bengals, an end-of-game scramble for a first down on the bad ankle gave his team a chance at a last-second field goal to win – a kick that became much easier after a personal foul penalty against the opposing team.
While Mahomes received praise for his heroic effort on the field, he quickly turned the focus back to God after the game.
“I want to thank God,” Mahomes began in a post-game interview. “He healed my body this week. To battle through that, He gave me the strength to be out here.”
Mahomes has never been shy about his faith, saying it is “always…a big part of what I do” and it “really helps you know why you’re playing the game, and who you’re doing it for.”
“My mom and dad both raised me in the church,” Mahomes said in a video produced by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “Just being able to come up through the church, I built a great relationship with God and I’ve tried to keep that as I’ve gotten older. Faith is huge for me.”
It’s something that impacts the players around him, too. On the brink of Mahomes’ first Super Bowl, teammate Darwin Thompson said of the quarterback, “When the main guy, Pat Mahomes, is a huge follower in Christ, it’s easy to be a follower as well.”
Super Bowl LVII will take place in Glendale, Arizona on Feb 12, and is traditionally one of the most watched sporting events in the U.S.