Super Bowl Respect
photo by Corey Porter
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“For me generally it had always been the big four: faith, family, friends, and football. And I tell all of them that as important as football is to me, it can never be higher than fourth. My faith has been number one since I was thirteen years old.”* 

-Peyton Manning

“I had a dream that my dad passed away.  And that Jesus came into the room.  He was knocking on my door, saying, ‘You need to find out more about me,'” Wilson said.  “So that Sunday morning I ended up going to church and that’s when I got saved.”**

-Russell Wilson

I am psyched for Super Bowl 48. I have followed the journey of my Seahawks to the Super Bowl with fervor.  To be honest, I am a recent follower.  My friend Mike moved to Vancouver from San Francisco 3 years ago and has drawn me into his love for American football.  To deepen my ties, I recently found out one of my relatives works for the Seattle Seahawks. I am following his personal journey to the Super Bowl with eagerness on Facebook and living the Super Bowl through him.  It will be as close as I get this year.

As I get familiar with the players on various teams I find myself intrigued by the two quarterbacks facing each other in this year’s Super Bowl.  And after my short time of surveying the NFL landscape, I think these two men are the best suited to take center stage in America’s biggest game.  Not only do both quarterbacks possess amazing ability to make clutch plays but they also evoke something rare: My respect.

As I continue to observe these guys through the playoffs I see two of sport’s finest men.  They are uber talented and yet refreshingly humble.  They know how to focus their talk and energy on what they need to do rather than burning energy on controversy.  Few of us comprehend the pressure and scrutiny that these guys are under and so can lose appreciation for their ability to keep their composure, be respectful, humble and possess quiet confidence. When men play the biggest games of their lives it  brings out their best or worst.  When I see these guys,  I see their best come out in the crucible.

Somehow these two guys have been able to use their position and privilege for a blessing and inspiration to others away from the field. Both invest in various kids programs and frequently visit Children’s Hospitals.  Wilson is the National Ambassador of the Charles Ray III Diabetes Association.  When asked why:  “I realized that God has given me so many talents, and I wanted to give him all the glory.”  Manning even had a hospital renamed after him in Indianapolis.

As I follow Russell Wilson on Facebook, I hear a guy who uses the word “blessed” a lot.  When I read excerpts from Peyton’s book “Manning” I hear a guy who hasn’t lost his soul in fortune and fame despite five MVPs and another one likely on the way. Their character and integrity surface curiosity within me.  What keeps them so grounded? They inspire me to be a better man and I want to know them more.

In a quiet way both have acknowledged their strength comes from their faith and trust in Jesus.  I can see that the same resolve Jesus displayed lives in them: power, responsibility, service and humility.  I respect a man who lets his actions do the talking and doesn’t walk with an heir of entitlement.  It is refreshing to have two men I respect leading their teams in the biggest game in America.


To learn more about their story:

Peyton Manning:
*Freedman, Lew.  “PEYTON MANNING” A BIOGRAPHY, ISBN 978-0-313-35727 (ebook)
130 Cremona Drive, P.O. Box 1911
Santa Barbara, California 93116-1911

Russell Wilson:
**On youtube:  //
Website:  //
Founder: Clint Gresham (// Directed by Char Beck (// + Clint Gresham. Edited by Char Beck, Zach Wingfield, Alec Cattarin. Filmed by Char Beck, Sid Beck, Lee Engebretson. Music by Lucas Hogg (//

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