TAMPA, Fla. (BP)–Kurt Warner’s bold witness for his faith comes as no surprise to those who have watched the NFL quarterback play for more than a decade. That’s what two Super Bowls -– one as MVP in a win -– and a book or two detailing your faith will do.
Still, the Arizona Cardinals signal-caller regrets not being able to share what is most important to him with more people, particularly when members of the media censor or minimize his faith in exploring his personality and his career.
That’s why he tries to do TV interviews with a Bible at his side and to mention God in live interviews since it can’t be edited out.
But he knows the name of Jesus can make non-Christians uncomfortable with the peace that He gives in the violent and up-and-down world of professional football.
Again this week in Tampa, before Super Bowl XLIII, when Baptist Press or other faith-based media organizations asked Warner non-football questions about his Christian faith, many writers would simply stop writing or filming while the quarterback gave testimony to the centrality of Jesus in his life.
In an Arizona Republic story by Paola Boivin this month, Warner recounted being on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” with Masters champion Zach Johnson, another believer.
Warner voiced three sentences for the brief segment, the second one about his faith. When the show aired, that sentence had been edited out.
But Warner says he won’t stop trying to let everyone know his career is not about touchdowns or passing yards or even a Super Bowl victory Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Following are his comments to Baptist Press this week:
BAPTIST PRESS: What does it mean to finally be back in the Super Bowl and on the international media stage nearly a decade after you were first here with the St. Louis Rams?
KURT WARNER: I’m extremely blown away with this opportunity. It’s a testimony to God’s faithfulness.
BP: When you see college quarterbacks like Tim Tebow with a Bible verse in his eye black or Colt McCoy taking about his faith, how does that make you feel?
WARNER: Well, I have a pretty active household with seven kids so I don’t get to see a lot of TV when I’m home. But I love to watch football and when I see it, I think that’s great.
BP: What you do think about being back on top with the Cardinals after coming here with no anybody expecting anything from you, or this team which had losing records year after year?
WARNER: Well, the world counted [us] out. Nobody believed in us other than these fans here and ourselves. It’s great to see how it worked out.
BP: Come Sunday night, somebody will leave Tampa as Super Bowl champions. But what do you hope to accomplish this week in what might be your last Super Bowl opportunity?
WARNER: This is all God’s doing. We have an awesome opportunity to give glory to God this week.
Art Stricklin is a Baptist Press correspondent based in Dallas who is covering the Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla.