Thousands of Tampa Bay residents got more than a list of Super Bowl parties in their newspaper before Sunday's big game.
The Tampa Bay Tribune delivered more than 56,000 copies of the New Testament with its Saturday edition before Super Bowl XLIII. The paperback Bibles featured the face of retired Indianapolis Colts coach and Christian Tony Dungy.
The effort in Tampa was one of many being spearheaded by the International Bible Society's "City Reachers" project to distribute Bibles door-to-door across the country.
Local resident Debbie Lamphier and her sister thought the project would be good to launch in Tampa as the city prepared to host the Super Bowl. Organizers picked the Saturday before the game to distribute the Bibles, expecting newspaper readership to be high that day.
"Someone who has got strong beliefs in another religion might not be thrilled with this," Lamphier said, "but the hope is to reach lost souls who need God."
Since last June, local organizers of the City Reachers project raised $127,000 for the football-themed Bibles with the help of 34 local churches and businesses.
Over the last year, IBS has distributed some 700,000 Bibles through newspaper circulations in Philadelphia, Houston, Fort Worth, and others major cities.
Coinciding with the Super Bowl, the Colorado Springs-based group also released "Path to Victory," a New Testament Bible with testimonies from Dungy and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner.
Sources: Christian Post, TampaBay.com