Tua and Case: Improbable Comebacks Orchestrated by God?

Taylor-Tua-tagovailoa
ESPN’s Maria Taylor interviews Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa after the Tide won the national championship last Monday, 26-23. (YouTube)

These two quarterbacks believe it with all their heart.

Shawn A. Akers

What a week for football this was. But more importantly, what a week for Jesus.

While many athletes might bask in their own glory for their triumphs on the field, on the court or on the ice—especially after such an emotional ending—two humble servants of God made certain that the credit for their improbable success went to whom it belonged. For Tua and Case, it’s all about Jesus.

After his team scored an incredible 26-23 overtime victory in the College Football Playoff National championship game, Alabama University freshman Tua Tagovailoa, who tossed the game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass (on second down and 26) to fellow freshman DeVonta Smith, went out of his way to commandeer his interview with ESPN’s Maria Taylor. He said, “Excuse me. First and foremost, I’d just like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With Him, all things are possible. That’s what happened tonight.”

Later, he would go on to say in another interview, “I was praying,” referring to his team’s comeback from 13 points down. “I was speaking in tongues. It kept me calm. … I would say my poise comes from my faith. I just pray for peace.” And this from an 18-year-old. And on a network that isn’t exactly kingdom friendly.

You go, Tua.

“I was speaking in tongues. It kept me calm. … I would say my poise comes from my faith. I just pray for peace.”

And then, there is Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum, who led the Vikings to an even more improbable comeback in the division round of the NFL playoffs on Sunday. With the Saints—who had just kicked field goal seconds before—leading 24-23, Keenum hit Stefon Diggs (brother of Alabama sophomore Trayvon Diggs, by the way) on a pass to the sideline that the Vikings appropriately call “Seven Heaven.” When the New Orleans Saints’ defender misjudged the tackle, Diggs stayed inbounds and rambled for a 61-yard touchdown pass that gave Minnesota a 29-24 victory as time ran out. Some dubbed it, “The Minnesota Miracle.”

Afterward, Keenum said, “God is so good. “It’s probably the third best day of my life; the day I gave my life to Jesus Christ, the day I married my wife and probably this one.”

You go, Case.

Diggs and Vikings’ receiver Adam Thielen even chimed in for their Savior, “Give all glory to God,” Diggs said. “That was God. That play right there was God,” Thielen said.

Sounds like a we have a few more Tim Tebows on hands. Maybe even better.

Tebow has come under a great deal of scrutiny from the secular media for his faith, but he continues to live it boldly. And Keenum, who perennially has been a back-up quarterback during his five years in the NFL, says he won’t give the media an excuse to question his relationship with Christ.

His Twitter bio sports the often-quoted Scripture from Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.”

“A lot of people can talk about their faith,” Keenum says. “When you live it every day and act upon the word of God, it’s pretty cool to see. He doesn’t just talk; He acts upon it and leads by example. It helps me become a better person of faith.”

While football obviously is unimportant in the grand scheme of life, it’s refreshing to see these men of faith not only show boldness in their words, but to also do it on national television after significant games in front of millions of people. What a witness.

“A lot of people can talk about their faith,” Keenum says. “When you live it every day and act upon the word of God, it’s pretty cool to see. He doesn’t just talk; He acts upon it and leads by example. It helps me become a better person of faith.”

I have no allegiance to an NFL team, and that’s a different story. But, because of Keenum, I think I just became a huge Vikings’ fan. We already know where my college football allegiance lies. Roll Tide.

But more importantly, go Jesus.{eoa}

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling.

Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

 

 

 

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