Three Quarterbacks Who 'Play with Purpose'
By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director
September 8, 2010
With the first games of the college football season in the books all eyes now turn to the beginning of the NFL season just days away. Three highly-touted rookie quarterbacks will make their debut this weekend and are expected to make an impact with their respective teams.
All three possess the requisite characteristics to lead their teams – great athletic ability, extremely intelligent, and a strong leader. But there is something different about this trio who have been called the “holy trinity” of college football quarterbacks. Quite simply, Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, and Colt McCoy each call Jesus Christ their savior.
In a new book, Playing with Purpose, author Mike Yorkey, introduces readers to these talented athletes at the top of their game who also speak publicly and convincingly of their Christian beliefs.
CBN.com Program Chris Carpenter recently sat down with Yorkey to discuss how difficult it is for a Christian athlete to succeed in sports today, whether these players will use their NFL platform to glorify Christ, and what impresses him the most about Bradford, Tebow, and McCoy.
Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, and Colt McCoy have been dubbed the “holy trinity” of college football. It’s easy to make comparisons of them based on their position. But, of course, there is a bigger comparison to be made between the three – that is their devotion to Jesus Christ. Is that a the reason to write a book like Playing with Purpose at this time?
It helps. But I think it also helps that they are at the top of their quarterbacking game. That’s the reason they get talked about. There was a lot of wonderful quarterbacks that graduated last year, but who knows whether they’ll go on to the pros. But these three were at the top of the game. In fact, last August, as they were doing the previews for the 2009 season, they were all saying the top three quarterbacks for the top three teams. Oklahoma, Texas and Florida were all in the race to be number one. And so the fact that, yes, it’s wonderful that they’re godly men that live their faith out, but it’s also neat that they were at the top of their games in the college game. So it’s kind of interesting to see where they go.
Do you think it’s any coincidence that these three who have such a great faith played college football at the same time together and are now entering the NFL together?
I do think it’s a God thing. Colt is one year older than them, but he redshirted his freshman year. So he didn’t start playing until Tim Tebow’s true freshman year. That was the 2006 season. Now, that was the season that Sam entered Oklahoma, but they did redshirt him that year. So he only played three years, and, in fact, he played the fewest games of the three. I think that they’ll support each other.
In your book’s introduction you write, “They passed. They scored. They praised the Lord.” How difficult is it for an athlete today to intermix their faith in such a dog-eat-dog environment of college football? These guys seem to have done it very well.
It’s a fine line between coming off as a goody two-shoes, where people roll their eyes, that type thing, and standing up for your faith. I thought Colt did a great job at the Rose Bowl last year at the end of the game. It was where he had fallen and hurt his shoulder, couldn’t play the second half, devastated. This was supposed to be his final game, he would lead Texas to the national championship. Didn’t happen. And it was kind of one of those “How does it feel, Colt, not to have played?” type of thing. And he really thought through the answer, that, “You know what? I thank the Lord in good and bad or whatever happens. And I stand on the rock, and He’s my rock.” And it was just, without mentioning Christ or God, everyone knew who the rock was. He did a great job.
Do you think these guys will use their platform, the platform of the NFL, to spread and share their faith?
I think the future for Tim Tebow is probably evangelism in big stadiums type thing. I think the old joke that his father used to say was that before Tim was born he said, “We’d pray for a preacher, but God gave me a quarterback.” But I think in the end he will get a preacher. Sam is solid as the day is long. Who knows what’s going to happen? Colt is very much aware of who he is, and he wants to have an impact. I think all three of them are very much keyed in learning this quarterback game.
What’s one thing about each player that you came away most impressed with in putting this book together, something that maybe you didn’t realize before?
I loved how Tim Tebow had a poem framed in his apartment when he went to Florida that said, “little eyes are watching you.” He knew this early on. And his parents, when he was nine years old, wanted him to have a hero, and they suggested Danny Wuerffel, the former Florida quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy in 1996. And they suggested, “You follow this guy.” They knew he was a solid Christian guy. That probably stuck with him. His parents were very good parents, they probably reminded him, “You are a role model and little eyes are watching you.” There’s never been a hint of scandal with any of these three. I just admire what they’ve been able to do the last four or five years and can’t wait to see what happens starting after Labor Day.
What’s your greatest hope for this book? What do you want your readers to get out of their reading experience?
I hope that they’ll understand the player that they watch on TV a little bit better and feel like they know him. I talk about, obviously, their parents meeting, how they met, where they are in the birth order in the family, how they got started in sports and quarterbacking. I don’t spend a lot of time on their high school years, because it’d be kind of boring. But you do get a feel for where they grew up, the type of family situation that they grew up in.
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