“If God is for us, who can stand against us?” So preached Ray Lewis, linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, after winning Sunday’s Super Bowl. Pregame coverage also showed San Francisco 49ers’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick citing his faith as what drives his game.
All the God talk could bring one to wonder, does God pick favorites to win the Super Bowl? Are the 49ers devils for being against Ray Lewis? Maybe God wasn’t for the Ravens, though, since their kicker Justin Tucker made a sign of the cross before faking (and flopping) a run for goal. What does it all mean?
All bad theology aside, there was a moment Sunday night when cameras caught a humbler image of America’s friendly marriage of faith and football, courtesy of the Ravens’s Ed Reed. As Eric Adelson put it:
Reed launched into a mini-sermon about religion. Now in some cases, maybe in most cases, sports fans don’t want to hear about Jesus. A lot of people think it’s silly that a higher power could possibly care about the outcome of a football game, or help one team win because of prayer or devotion. Yet Reed’s speech hit a different note, about humility and humanity. And it was hard not to be in the moment with him.
Reed alluded to the untimely death in 2011 of his younger brother and took the moment to encourage community and brotherhood: “It’s not about me. . . . I’m gonna do my little part. I’m not perfect. I’m gonna do my little part to help these kids, to give them the information to be better men.”
. . . “We need to stop judging. Help each other, encourage each other,” Reed said. “I know it’s tough times, but we need to help each other, encourage each other.”
If Beyonce’s halftime show was encouraging for women (and I agree that it was), Reed’s postgame comments brought some much needed encouragement for men, especially among inner-city youth.