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FIRST-PERSON: Facts that transcend Jon Gruden’s Super Bowl

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–When the most obvious storyline of a Super Bowl centers around a coach who is so closely associated with both teams, storylines that dominated past Super Bowls are quickly forgotten.

There is nothing along the lines of a Kurt Warner or a Reggie White for the Christian sports fan to sink his teeth into, nor is there an obvious underdog, such as last year’s New England Patriots, to rally behind. No, what we have here in Super Bowl XXXVII is a swashbuckling battle of pirates in which only one captain matters.

In one ship come the Oakland Raiders, the former team of Jon Gruden, a heavily penalized bunch of characters with a maverick owner and a trio of grizzled veterans in the passing game.

In the other ship come the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the current team of Jon Gruden, dangerous on defense with enough in the way of offensive firepower to make the Black and Silver nervous.

Any way you slice it, the intensity of young Gruden, either as it once was or now is, tends to define the game. Some have even written that this is the Gruden Bowl. Never in the history of the Super Bowl, even with great coaches like Lombardi, Landry, Shula and Parcells, has the game been promoted like that.

The Raiders’ passing attack of quarterback Rich Gannon and wideouts Jerry Rice and Tim Brown may manage to steal the thunder from their former coach. It’s also quite possible that the Buccaneers’ defense, led by linebacker Derrick Brooks, could emerge as the No. 1 story instead of their coach. Either of those developments would be compelling, but it’s hard to imagine the media straying very far away from the Gruden saga, up or down. There is so much there, from both perspectives, to report.

There may not be a Warner or a White giving glory to God after the big game this year, but we can still get excited about some super facts. The facts to get excited about are a few of the descriptions of God, the God who is greater than the Super Bowl. Here are just a few of his many attributes, names and titles.

S – “I see Him but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob. (Numbers 24:17)” This may be the ultimate game, but our God is the ultimate Star.

U – There is no variation or shadow of turning with God, which is another way of saying that he is unchanging (James 1:17).

P – Among a wondrous list of five names in Isaiah 9:6 is Prince of Peace, the only possible way the world can ever achieve a lasting harmony.

E – Not only is he the Alpha and Omega, as it says in Revelation 21:6, he is the beginning and the end. The end comes when he says it comes.

R – The beauty of San Diego, which is a lovely setting for a Super Bowl, is not fit to be compared to the rose of Sharon (Song of Solomon 2:1).

The storyline of one coach going against his former team in the biggest game of the year may be a hard one to resist, but there are certainly ways to do it. Will God find a way to somehow get in the middle of one group of pirates going against another group of pirates? I would not doubt his capability.
Allen Palmeri, a regular contributor to bpsports.net, is a member of North Pointe Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo.

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  • Allen Palmeri