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Christian quarterbacks lead both Super Bowl teams

Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts pray for success but also for God’s will to be done

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, right, and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts Associated Press/Photo by Matt York

Christian quarterbacks lead both Super Bowl teams

Jalen Hurts lost his starting quarterback job under the glare of college football’s brightest spotlight after leading the University of Alabama to two national championship games. Still, his faith in Christ helped him handle it with grace and class.

Patrick Mahomes, meanwhile, is already garnering comparisons to newly retired football great Tom Brady, despite having played just six seasons in the National Football League. His Christian faith keeps him grounded.

The quarterbacks will go head-to-head in Super Bowl LVII Sunday at 6:30 p.m. EST. Hurts will lead the Philadelphia Eagles, and Mahomes is the quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Before every game, I walk on the field and I just do a prayer at the goal post,” Mahomes, now 27, said in a 2020 video for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “And I thank God for those opportunities, and I thank God for just letting me be on a stage where I can glorify Him. And I feel like the biggest thing that I pray for is that whatever happens, win or lose, that I’m glorifying Him and doing everything the way that He wants me to.”

Hurts expressed similar sentiments to CBS Sports earlier this season.

“I’ve just matured and realized God is everything, and He’s worthy of praise,” Hurts, 24, said. “You have to put Him at the center of everything that you do.”

Sunday’s game will be the first Super Bowl featuring two teams with starting quarterbacks who are black.

Hurts led the University of Alabama to college football’s national championship game following both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. During the second game, however, Hurts struggled against Southeastern Conference rival Georgia.

With the Crimson Tide trailing 13-0 at halftime, coach Nick Saban benched him in favor of Tua Tagovailoa, who is now the starting quarterback for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. Tagovailoa, also a Christian, rallied the Crimson Tide to a 26-23 overtime victory, then won the starting job over Hurts the following season.

Hurts remained with Alabama despite being relegated to a backup position. He performed ably in one of the Crimson Tide’s biggest games. After Tagovailoa went down with an injury in the 2018 SEC championship, Hurts stepped in and led two straight Alabama touchdown drives, scoring the winning goal with 1 minute and 4 seconds remaining to give Alabama the conference title.

Hurts transferred to the University of Oklahoma for his senior season, won the starting job there, and led the Sooners to a berth in the College Football Playoff following the 2019 season. His stats at Oklahoma—3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns passing, 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns rushing—led the Eagles to select him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

He went 4-11-1 during his rookie season in Philadelphia, a city notoriously rough on quarterbacks who struggle. However, as he did during his time at Alabama, Hurts clung to a Bible verse that consistently brought him comfort.

“My favorite verse—you know, 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,’” Hurts said after Philadelphia’s NFC championship win over the San Francisco 49ers, in which he outdueled fellow Christian quarterback Brock Purdy. “Hopefully, people understand.”

Mahomes, meanwhile, has led the Chiefs to three Super Bowls in his first five seasons as a starter. Only one other quarterback in NFL history—Brady—has accomplished that. Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain in Kansas City’s victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of this year’s playoffs.

Despite the injury, he played the entire AFC championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals, making the Chiefs’ 23-20 victory all the more impressive.

That’s not bad for someone who nearly quit football as a high school junior because he felt he wasn’t getting a fair shot at playing quarterback. His faith played a role in his decision not to quit: His mother, Randi Martin, encouraged him to pray about it.

“Faith is huge for me,” Mahomes said in his 2020 video for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “Just being able to stay on the right track and live life knowing that I can be free, God will have me, and He’ll always accept me.”

Ray Hacke

Ray is a sports correspondent for WORLD Magazine who has covered sports professionally for three decades. He is also a licensed attorney who lives in Keizer, Ore., with his wife Pauline and daughter Ava.



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