There has been a lot of upset football fans over the new “Taunting” rules being incorporated into this season. It seems that most feel they are overly restrictive or, at least, not being applied in a uniform and consistent manner. Some have said this brings us to the NFL or No Fun League!
I helped coach a youth football team for 8–10-year-olds. It was very evident from the very first practice those who were influenced by some of the more braggadocios players they see on TV. I have always hated a lot of the antics the players do on Sundays and even Saturdays in college football to some degree. The victory dances don’t really bother me too much until someone adds something inappropriate to their celebration. The high-stepping and flipping into the endzone or spiking the ball have become almost commonplace, but the one that really gets to me is when a player makes a great tackle or stop of the other team and then stands over the other player flexing (and I am sure cursing) him! I really believe that I would not handle that well if I was the one being stood over! Probably one of the MANY reasons I wouldn’t make it into the NFL!
I always encouraged our young players to wrap-up and tackle hard … football is a violent sport by design … but I always told our players that once they planted their opponent into the field to then offer them a hand and help them up! Hit ‘em as hard as you can ensuring you have completed your job, but then show grace and offer your hand in assistance!
As Christians we are called to be humble … not weak … and doing for others benefit instead of our own! The Bible tells us this concerning humility: “He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noticed how they would choose the best places for themselves: When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, don’t recline at the best place, because a more distinguished person than you may have been invited by your host. The one who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in humiliation, you will proceed to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when the one who invited you comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ You will then be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14: 7-11 Gayle Sayers, Tim Tebow and Drew Brees are the top three on the list of “Most Humble NFL Players!” I knew about Tebow and Brees’ declarations of faith but knew little of Sayers. In an article discussing him it was noted:
“Sayers wrote a book entitled I Am Third, in which he told the remarkable story of his friendship with Brian Piccolo. The title in itself shows how humble Sayers was, as it means God is first and his family is second. (My emphasis)
The book had such an amazing story that they created a movie about it called Brian’s Song. The movie showed how Sayers’ good friend, Piccolo, was fighting off terminal cancer as he turned pro and battled Sayers for the starting tailback position.
Piccolo and Sayers became best friends and pushed one another to be the best that they could be. When Sayers accepted the NFL’s Most Courageous Player award, he talked about his good friend Piccolo.
‘I love Brian Piccolo, and I’d like all of you to love him,’ Sayers said. ‘When you hit your knees to pray tonight, please ask God to love him, too.'”
I would love to see more of this in football, both collegiate and professional, and … well … in the rest of the world too! Let’s show the world true humility and in doing so point them to the humblest servant our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!