As fans prepare for an epic Super Bowl battle this Sunday between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals, powerful stories continue to emerge about NFL stars’ Christian faith and prayer habits.
Jason Romano, director of media at Sports Spectrum, an outlet covering the intersection of faith and sports, has been at the forefront of sharing many powerful accounts.
Romano, who also hosts “The Sports Spectrum Podcast,” is currently in Los Angeles for the big game. He joined Faithwire this week to discuss some of his favorite Super Bowl faith stories — and some of the unknown stories he’s encountered along the way.
“Some of these players [and coaches] already had strong faith. If you go to their social media, you see them posting about it,” he said. “But there are some that you don’t realize until you ask a question to them, and one of them is the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, Zac Taylor.”
Taylor openly spoke with the Sports Spectrum team about faith’s important role in his life.
“He talked about, in priority … order, of faith, family, football and that he was a believer,” Romano said. “And I was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that story,’ so that was good to … discover.”
Watch Romano share Super Bowl faith stories:
Romano’s favorite faith story involves Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who broke records this season and was by far the most successful receiver.
But despite all of Kupp’s football success, the player’s proper focus was on his faith walk. When Romano asked Kupp what God was showing him and teaching him this season, he focused on keeping first things first.
“I got to talk to him this week and ask him a question about what God was showing him and teaching him this season,” Romano said. “His answer was, ‘Well, I needed to be rooted in my purpose, and my purpose is Christ.'”
Kupp remarkably said he would have still considered it his “best year ever” even if the Rams lost every game and no Super Bowl was in sight due to his growing faith and positive relationships with teammates.
“That, to me, was just refreshing, because from the outside looking in, sure, you hope … that he’s walking the walk and talking the talk,” Romano said. “But then you get to talk to him directly, and he just lit up when I asked him a question about his faith, and that’s really neat to see.”
He added, “I love when guys do that because they don’t get asked those questions too often.”
Romano also shed light on his positive relationships with team chaplains.
“[We] have great relationships with the team chaplains of all of the teams … in pro sports,” he said. “So, we talked to the team chaplains. Vinny Rey, who’s a former Bengals linebacker, is the team chaplain for the Cincinnati Bengals.”
Romano has talked with Rey and Kevin Nickerson, team chaplain with the Rams, about their own faith stories, and the chaplains have also forwarded the Sports Spectrum team on to faithful players.
And the narratives are pretty incredible and seemingly never-ending as we learn more about players’ and coaches’ robust and transformational faith journeys. There are so many stories out there that Romano and his Sports Spectrum team stay incredibly busy throughout the year, bringing these remarkable narratives to the masses.
“That’s one of the beauties about being here and covering the Super Bowl … when I ask questions to people who I think might be people of faith,” he said. “Most of them light up because it really is the central most important thing in their life … You see that there’s something bigger going on with a lot of these athletes, and it’s not always about what they accomplish or achieve on the field.”
Watch the interview to see even more about the faith journeys of Super Bowl players.
***As the number of voices facing big-tech censorship continues to grow, please sign up for Faithwire’s daily newsletter and download the CBN News app, developed by our parent company, to stay up-to-date with the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***