The announcers said he couldn’t watch. But I had a feeling there was much more to what I was seeing on the television screen as Tom Brady, the best quarterback of this generation, took the field in Indianapolis with a single minute remaining, and his Patriots trailing Indianapolis by four points. On the screen, Colts QB Peyton Manning, who’d just driven his team down the field for its first lead of the game in a comeback for the football ages, sat on the bench staring towards the ground. “He can’t watch,” an announcer said. To heck with that, I thought to myself, He’s praying.
I was right. After Colts corner Marlin Jackson plucked a Brady bullet from the sky and nestled it as he lay prone on the turf, Manning, staring at the scoreboard now, smiled, stood up and, well, knew that his prayer had been answered. Later he admitted as such, “I said a little prayer on that last drive,” he said. “I don’t know if you’re supposed to pray for stuff like that, but I said a little prayer.”
Yeah, God has bigger things to deal with. But, conversely, nothing is too big or small for Him. I am reminded all the time, “Ask not, receive not,” so I see nothing wrong with Manning tweaking God on the shoulder late Sunday evening, His days of rest, and asking for a favor.
Prayer and faith are an integral – and yet largely ignored – part of sports. Players often attend faith services prior to games, many teams employ spiritual advisors, and afterwards, many players often gather at mid-field (or mid-court in basketball) and share a prayer moment. These prayer circles almost always contain players, coaches and staff from both teams. By then the cameras are usually long gone, or off chasing the next interview. Too bad.
New York Jets QB Chad Pennington and Brady following their AFC playoff game last month.