This article begins with birthday wishes to one of my younger sisters, Karen Newman of San Marcos, Tex. Happy Birthday, dear Karen! Love and blessings to you from all our family!
Dear readers, unless you’ve been in a cave the past few weeks you are aware that this past Sunday was Super Bowl XLVIII. For folks unfamiliar with Roman numerals, all those capital letters can be more succinctly expressed with the number 48.
This annual championship game of the National Football League began with the first such contest on January 15, 1967. The athletic history buffs among us will recall that the Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders in 1967 and 1968, respectively. I don’t remember that detail. I just read it on the Internet.
It has not been uncommon for interesting things to happen at Super Bowls, both during the game and the halftime show, which has historically been quite elaborate. A few examples will suffice:
- New York Giants QB Phil Simms shouted “I’m going to Disney World” after his MVP performance in 1987. Disney CEO Michael Eisner paid Simms $75,000 for the ad.
- A highly publicized “wardrobe malfunction” at halftime during Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 occurred when male singer Justin Timberlake exposed an anatomical part of female singer Janet Jackson before a television audience of millions.
- Although the words were on the Jumbotron in front of her, Grammy-winning singer Christina Aguilera botched the words to the national anthem in 2011.
- A partial power outage during the third quarter caused a 34 minute delay in the game during the 2013 Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
- Especially in recent years, corporations have generated creative advertisements costing $4 million per 30 seconds. Many pay more attention to the commercials than to the game.
More significantly, over the years some Super Bowl stars, mostly from the winning team, have given clear and courageous Christian testimonies following the game. Two examples suffice:
Following the St. Louis Rams’ Super Bowl XXXIV victory, where he was named the game’s MVP, Kurt Warner responded to a question from an ABC reporter: “Well, first things first. I’ve got to thank my Lord and Savior up above — thank you, Jesus!”
Nine years later, upon leading the Arizona Cardinals to the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl, Warner’s response was similar: “Everybody’s going to be tired of hearing this, but I never get tired of saying it. There’s one reason that I’m standing up on this stage today. That’s because of my Lord up above. I’ve got to say thanks to Jesus.”
And this year’s Super Bowl winning quarterback, Russell Wilson, in a post-game interview, said: “It’s a true, true blessing. God is so good.” Russell also quoted his father: “Believe in the talent God has given you … and you can go a long ways.”
While neither player referenced the Lutheran Confessions or recited the Small Catechism, both seized the opportunity to give thanks to God in a highly public manner. I thank God whenever that happens!