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Marty Tadman: A Bronco's Tale of Brokenness

By Will Dawson
The 700 Club

CBN.comOne of the greatest college football games of all-time took place just two years ago at the Tostitos Fiests a Bowl. The heavily favored Oklahoma Sooners took on the underdog, Boise State Broncos, in a classic. The Broncos were led by a very unlikely hero. 

Sports reporter Will Dawson has the story:

This may have been the greatest college football game ever played. The 2007 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl had it all. Boise State shocked heavily favored Oklahoma in overtime 43-42 to cap their undefeated storybook season. Marty Tadman, who was the game’s co-MVP, returned an interception for a touchdown.

Marty Tadman:  The biggest thing I remember was the third play of the game. It was third down and the crowd was going so crazy, and the ground started rumbling and it almost made me throw up just because of how powerful the sound was.

Marty Tadman is a legend here at Boise State. Before college and even before high school, Marty knew athletics would play a major role in his life.

Marty:  I played eight sports a year growing up. We’d go to basketball in the morning, football game in the afternoon and baseball practice at night a couple weeks during the year. But I always did pretty well with athletics.

Marty was raised in a loving Jewish home. A family of four, Marty idolized his older brother. When Marty was thirteen, his brother simply asked a question, but Marty’s answer would change his life.

Marty:  He said, ‘Marty have you ever done drugs before?’ And that moment was [only] a moment, but it seemed like a long time. And I said, ‘yeah I have.’ I saw his eyes kind of open up to me like I’d never seen before; and I stepped into a world of popularity instantly, and being cool and having this image that my brother had. So from then on out, I wanted to make those lies come true.

Marty began smoking marijuana on a weekly basis. The drugs didn’t seem to affect Marty on the football field. Playing quarterback his freshman year in high school, Marty led his junior varsity team to a California State Championship. Being named MVP brought trouble for Marty.

Marty:  They put MVP, the three letters, on my sweatshirt. I never was going to wear it, but just to commemorate that. And the whole school looked at that; because I wore it one day as I was the cocky kid. From there on out, every person in the school hated me. It was the worst experience of my life.

So Marty quit football his sophomore year.

Marty:  Every time I walked into the locker room, I had to watch my back for people wanting to beat me up or anything like that; and it made me want to quit.
Will Dawson:  That year that you were away from football, did you delve harder into drugs during that time?

Marty:  That’s when things got crazy intense.

Will:  Crazy intense in what way?

Marty:  I had been smoking the whole time. I had been drinking the whole time, off and on. But it was one trip down to San Diego, because my brother went to San Diego State - huge party school. I just found out one day that he was dealing drugs; and again, it just seemed like I wanted acceptance in my brother’s eyes. He told me what he does with it and how much money he makes. So I said, ‘let me try it.’

Will:  So you didn’t even have your drivers license?

Marty:  I had just gotten my drivers license.

Will:  You had just gotten your drivers license and you were one of the biggest drug dealers around?

Marty:  Around yeah, my area. And that brought a lot of problems too. I grew quite a bit as a drug dealer just because I had a lot of stoner friends. One thing led to another and pretty soon I’m getting quarter pound shipments of marijuana every three or four days from different people, including my brother still. I started dabbling in cocaine; dealing cocaine, doing other drugs, dealing other drugs and getting to know people that were not just like the normal everyday smoking kids. But now there are 30-year-olds who were high in the industry of clothing, skateboarding, modeling, porn stars, that kind of stuff.  And so that whole summer was every day either high, smoking cigarettes, drinking at some point during the day and partying like crazy. Partying like rock stars really.

Despite the drug use and dealing, Marty missed playing football and returned his junior year. At the end of the season, he was named Orange County and California Player of the Year. His senior season, Marty accepted a football scholarship to Boise State.  Athletically, Marty was on top, but was about to hit rock bottom.

Marty was busted several times by police. Afraid of the consequences Marty quit dealing drugs and even slowed down his drug use. But it began taking a toll on him mentally.
I was suicidal. I mean, when drugs aren’t there, when alcohol’s not there, when girls are not there and you have nothing; I mean I hit rock bottom a couple times. But I always kept saying I was too scared, ‘I don’t want to kill myself,’ even though I thought about it. But I had hit rock bottom thinking there’s nothing to live for, everybody hates me - but oh well, I can persevere through this.

One night while at a party, Marty says he had an argument with his best friend. Marty left the house feeling alone and wondering if life was worth living.

Marty:  So I go to the beach in San Clemente and I’m just out there by myself, trying to analyze my life the past five years. Looking at where I was, and what I wanted, and everything I wanted to be, and how I failed so many times, and how I tried to be so many different people and every time I tried to be someone it always failed. I never could keep a friendship or anything like that. So I just realized, ‘I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I’m doing in life. There’s no point to my life. I’ve wasted it.’ I just came to a point of suicide where it was there was just no point to living any more. And I’m about 10 feet from a railroad track and I hear a train coming and I just think I might as well just step back on the train track and end my life. It was just that moment where I said, ‘I’m done with my life. I’m done trying. Is there anything else to live for?’ 

Marty realized he didn’t need to end his life that day. Instead, he asked God for answers to his questions.

Marty:  ‘God are you real?’ I just said, ‘God, if you’re real, prove it to me’- because nothing else in this world is real. It’s hard to describe, but after just crying out to God, my eyes were opened to see right on the beach, right there by myself that there is a God; that He was there. Just kind of a quiet still voice, and for the first time I felt His presence. I said I’ve never tried God before. I’ve tried every drug, every friend, every avenue. I’ve never tried God. So I said, ‘God, if you’re real, what can you do for me or what do I do?’

Marty says his parents saw an immediate change. He quit drinking and doing drugs.  Despite his Jewish upbringing, Marty found a New Testament Bible in his house and began reading it.

Marty:  Even from the very beginning, it was just mesmerizing to me because I had never heard it before; never heard anything about the gospel. So I keep reading, and afterward, I just kept going. I just said, ‘God, I don’t know what to do and I don’t know how to pray. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I don’t know what it means to be a Christian or anything about this. I want to change my life. I want to start new and if you can do that for me, I’ll give you the rest of my life.’ And I committed to Jesus Christ that day.

Marty left for Boise State the following year where he made his mark on Bronco football history. He married his high school sweetheart, Nichole, and they have a young daughter. While he’s proud of his accomplishments on the field, nothing compares to his life in Jesus Christ.     

Marty:  Watching Him direct our life and guide our life, provide for us the way He has –it’s just been miraculous to see. A life that no matter what happens, I can enjoy. No matter what hardships come across or what life changes happen, I know that I have a steady God that is leading me for a reason. It’s amazing how He works.

Can God change your life?

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