I had the opportunity to watch the Super Bowl this year. It’s actually the first full game I got to watch this year (comes with the territory of preaching Sunday mornings), and while I wasn’t too invested in the outcome of the game, I did have a bias for Seattle. And as the game progressed, this bias morphed into a clear desire for them to win. For those that don’t follow professional football and haven’t heard about the game, I will say that the final minutes of that game was heartache for any Seattle fan and profound joy for New England fans.
With a few minutes remaining in the game with Seattle down by four points needing a touchdown to win, Seattle took the ball and began their march downfield. Seattle lined up and drove the ball down with every catch bringing them closer to victory. The opposing quarterback sitting on the bench, head to the ground, watching from the sidelines knowing the outcome was no longer in his hands. Seattle was focused and on a mission; their drive so intent that it seemed impossible to stop.
With time ticking away, the ball was launched downfield with fans watching with hopeful anticipation, only to see the ball deflected and the receiver fall to the ground. The announcer commented that the play had been broken up. Wait! The ball never hit the ground. It bounced off the knee and in the quickest of reactions; the receiver juggled and scooped it in. It was a catch so amazing to cause even naysayers to pause for a moment and wonder if it could possibly be a divinely appointed act (yes, it was that incredible of a catch). As slow motion replays showed in vivid detail a catch that seemed to defy the laws of gravity, you found yourself asking, “Did that just really happen?”
These are defining moments and momentum changers. Moments when the tides turn (as if it hadn’t already begun a minute prior with this charge downfield) that deflate opponents, and create a sense of inevitable victory. That even when the points indicate that they are losing, no one believes it will stay that way long.
With everyone knowing the strength of the Seattle running game coined as “beast mode,” the beast was unleashed bringing Seattle to the one yard line. Their star running back having proven already throughout this season and this game that he could break through any wall of defenders was now only a few feet from scoring again. With high hopes now tasting victory, and thinking just one more time, Seattle lines up, and to everyone’s surprise passes the ball. Replays show Seattle’s head coach triumphantly raising his arms as the pass is thrown. Seattle’s quarterback reveals in interviews after the game that he thought the game was won as he released his throw. But the undrafted rookie corner defending the play recognized it, beat the receiver to the ball, and intercepted it. Hearts dropped. Emotions sank. Seattle fans across the country watched in disbelief. Every replay of the interception made it that much worse. And one resounding question echoed across the nation, “Why?” Why would you pass the ball when you could have so easily run it in?
Without exaggeration, people were in tears. For those that aren’t football fans, let alone a Seattle fan, it’s hard to understand. One fan shared with how much they hurt, they couldn’t even begin to comprehend what was going on in the players’ minds. These are fans that band together and rally for a team so much so that they have been termed the “12th man” for the team. They are part of them celebrating in their victories and hurting in their losses. They are devoted. What if we were that invested in Jesus?