Even though the Chicago Bears won't be slipping their tootsies into cleats on Super Bowl Sunday, I'll be at a party watching the big game.
Granted, there are lots of reasons to watch the Super Bowl. First there's the food. You can't swing a cat without seeing a recipe for snacks--usually chili, nachos, pizza, chips, and of course, the wings. It’s hard to say “no” to a spread that cost the equivalent of a mortgage payment. Okay, it’s hard to say no to 1.35 billion hot wings—period! (I’ll take mine with blue cheese, please.) And yes, I'll be dining on water and toothpicks on Saturday in preparation.
The Super Bowl is as well known for the commercials as for football. The TV ads, arguably the best of the year, will have us talking for days after the winners announce they’ll be going to Disney World.
Die-hard NSYNC fans will tune in to see Justin Timberlake perform at halftime. His last his last halftime show included the infamous wardrobe malfunction. That was 14 years ago and we're still talking about it.What, oh what, might happen this year?
And Then There’s the Football
AFC champions the New England Patriots return to the Super Bowl for the 10th time to try to capture their sixth ring. They’ll face the NFC’s champion team the Philadelphia Eagles who have won three national championships—the last one in 1960. So it’s fair to say the Eagles have never won a Super Bowl because the first one was in 1967.
Pennsylvania-born singer/songwriter Pink, who is slated to sing the National Anthem before the coin toss, signed on to deliver one of the most musically challenging songs ever before she knew her favorite team, the Philadelphia Eagles would be vying for the championship ring. So, Pink has a horse in this race. I'm jealous.
The game is so much more exciting when, instead of saying, "Oh, I don't care who wins," I am cheering for a particular team.
So, this Bears fan did some research into the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles to decide where my loyalty would go on February 4.
Gotta Love an Underdog
Despite the excitement around Philadelphia’s 2017 winning season, the Eagles are the underdogs. To be fair, any team facing quarterback Tom Brady is officially an underdog, unless it’s in a game of trivia, where apparently he’s a loser. (Don’t feel badly for him. He’s a loser with a net worth of $180 million.)
The Eagles have taken their underdog status with a wink and a smile. Following their win against the Atlanta Falcons, which locked them in as Super Bowl LII contenders, the Eagles players pulled on dog masks and let the barking begin. The crowd got the joke and went crazy. Call me Polly Purebred, but I love underdogs and a team with a self-deprecating sense of humor.
Picking My Horse
I decided my team in 2018 is the Philadelphia Eagles. My research had nothing to do with statistics or ability. It wasn't a decision based on talent. Face it, no team gets to the Super Bowl gridiron without talent. I will be a Philly fan this year partly because they’re underdogs and they’ve never won. And partly because, as an unapologetic Christian, I have been moved by the number of Christ followers suiting up in the midnight green of the Eagles.
May I hear an amen?
Carson Wentz: Born Leader
The clear leader of the team is born leader Carson Wentz, the skilled 24-year-old starting quarterback who also leads Bible studies, goes to services at Connect Church in Cherry Hill, NJ with several of his teammates, and started a foundation called Audience of One (AO1). The foundation provides service dogs to Philadelphia youth, outdoor opportunities for those with physical disabilities and military vets in the Midwest, and assistance for underprivileged youth living abroad. As Wentz says, the foundation was created to “demonstrate the love of God.” (I think Wentz is not only a born leader, but a born again leader.)
The Eagles’ Biggest Cheerleader
Sadly, Wentz won’t be strapping on shoulder pads or a helmet for the big game. He tore an ACL in December and will be on the sidelines, but not as a spectator. He’ll be the team’s most ardent cheerleader.
Win or lose, it seems Wentz will take the game’s outcome with the same attitude he took following his injury. He’ll lean into God and trust Him regardless of who wins. Wentz backs that stance with the Scripture in Proverbs 3:5-6.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Path to the Trophy?
So amidst the commercials, the halftime entertainment, the innocent football pools and all those hot wings, I’ll be praying that the talented underdogs are on the path that leads to their first Vince Lombardi trophy.
Fly, Eagles, Fly—on a (hot) wing and a prayer.