Idol Chatter

593496271_1280x720The Philadelphia Eagles remain one of the NFL’s top teams, and many of the team members are attributing that to their faith in God.

Some members of the Birds, as they are known around the City of Philadelphia, have been opening the eyes of fans through their genuine expression of Christian faith.  None of the Philadelphia Eagles who are immersed in the team’s burgeoning Christian culture have any doubt their belief in Jesus has as much to do with their success as their belief in coach Doug Pederson and his staff.

“It’s really strong here,” tight end Trey Burton said.

Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz is leading the team on this faith-filled journey.

Wentz shared in a video posted by the Eagles that he “grew up going to church” and “got confirmed in the Lutheran church” but “never really knew exactly what I believed or why.” But that all changed when he hit college.

“I remember just having some college mentors, some former teammates kind of just help walking me through the Word,” he added. “And I ended up reading the whole New Testament of the Bible in the first three months of my freshman semester, and it just became real to me.”

Wide receiver Torrey Smith grew up similarly.

“I went to Bible study, I went to church often growing up, but it wasn’t until I was in my last year of college where I realized I was kind of living off of everyone else’s salvation,” he shared on the video. “I wasn’t really finding out things for my own. I wasn’t diving into the Word or exploring that the way I explored everything else around me. So that’s when I kind of realized that I was kind of living the wrong way.”

Safety and special teams member Chris Maragos shared that his spiritual awakening came during high school when he was on a “downward spiral” and found himself at a “crossroads.”

“The things I was trying to place in my life to give me satisfaction would last for a little bit, and then they’d fade away,” he explained on the video. “That was my sophomore year in high school. I was really at a crossroads at that point and had to make a decision on where I was going. And that’s when I gave my life to Christ, and really he supplied that satisfaction and that joy for me.”

The Eagles players have each others’ spiritual backs day by day with chapel services and frequent Bible studies.

“On every Monday night, we have a couple’s Bible study,” Wentz explained. “We have a Thursday night team Bible study. And Saturday nights, we actually get together the night before the game and just kind of pray, talk through the Word, what guys have been reading, what they’re struggling with and just kind of keep it real with each other. To have that here in an NFL facility like this, it’s really special.”

They don’t need to be in Philadelphia, either. Earlier this season, a group of Eagles players made headlines when a photo hit social media showing them gathered around a North Carolina hotel pool as teammate Marcus Johnson got baptized.

Recognizing that evangelization can be divisive, Wentz made it clear that his goal is never to convert people to his faith but rather to create a loving and supportive environment built on respect for all cultures and ways of life.

Of course, not every Eagles player believes in Christ — just as it is outside the locker room. But Wentz and his fellow Christian Eagles are well aware of this and are all about mutual respect when it comes to matters of faith.

“I’m gong to be genuine, I’m going to be authentic with believers, non-believers — it doesn’t matter,” Wentz added. “I’m going to love on them. I’m going to treat them all the same. I’m going to respect them. And at the same time, as the leader of the football team, I’m gonna lead everybody the same, too. It kind of makes it open. You know, I think guys are willing to talk when you don’t have this self-righteous attitude about you. You’re just open to talk about spiritual things, talk about religion, talk about real-life issues with believers, non-believers, everybody in between. When you have that mutual respect, it just makes it a healthier environment.”

Echoing his quarterback’s sentiments, Maragos said that team unity—both on and off the football field—is the most important thing.

“We want to be united,” he concluded. “We want to support each other… through the difficulties off the field as well as on the field.”

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