The NFL's Tennessee Titans made it all the way to the AFC Championship Sunday, but they lost their bid to upset the Kansas City Chiefs led by the unstoppable Patrick Mahomes. Still, they put in an impressive post-season by shocking two impressive teams, beating the New England Patriots two weeks ago 20-13, and stunning the Baltimore Ravens 28-12 last week.
The Titans' Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Tight End Jonnu Smith, and Cornerback Adoree' Jackson confess that their faith is grounded in God, not football.
Adoree' Jackson hadn't played football since suffering a foot injury in December, according to Titans Online. He was grateful to be back on the field for Saturday nights game against the New England Patriots.
"It is a blessing to be back out there with my brothers," Jackson said. "I thought I would be back sooner than I was, but it wasn't God's plan, and His vision for me. But to have everything work out the way it did and to be able to be back for the playoff game, I am truly thankful."
"If you tell God your plans, He’ll laugh at them because he has something better planned. I just had to wait and now it is time and I am glad to be back.”
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) January 2, 2020
Ryan Tannehill told Sports Spectrum he is thankful for the opportunity that God has given him.
"I pray before every game," Tannehill said. "I spend time with God before I get to the stadium and then when I lace up my cleats, I thank God for the opportunity to go out there and attempt to glorify Him."
"In my life, the times I've been really consistent, spending quality time on a daily basis with God in prayer, are the times I flourish the most. The times I'm feeling the tightest with God. He's such a giving, loving Father that we don't deserve and when you get a taste of it, you just want more," he added.
Jonnu Smith said that there are ups and downs with playing professional football, but he overcomes those difficulties through faith.
"The way I get through it all is by relying on my faith. It's the foundation of everything I do, and I am so thankful for the way I was raised because I lean on the things I learned as a kid today as a grown man. I've dealt with some tough times in my life, but it's all made me stronger."
Tennessee Titans Kickers Share Unique Bond of Faith
The Titans' kicking team - Punter/Holder Brett Kern, Kicker Ryan Succop, and Long-Snapper Beau Brinkley - have a bond that goes beyond football. In a game that demands perfection, these teammates turn to God for the strength to walk through it.
"Through Christ, we know that we are only made perfect through him. We're going to give it everything we've got, with the abilities that He has given us. We're going to pour our heart and soul into it and that allows us to go out and be free and handle some of those stressful situations,' Kern said.
The players support one another like family and pray before each game.
"Christ is at the center of our relationship. We pray before every game. That's just one of the many things that make us who we are. We have each other and we can lean on each other and we are family. God is with us and we're together. That's something to be thankful for," Brinkley said.
New England Patriots Coach Bill Bellichick reportedly called Kern the best in the game, and that's high praise from one of the top NFL coaches in history. Kern says his strategy involves trying not to worry before a game and reading Philippians 4: 6 and 7 for wisdom.
"Don't worry about anything. Let the peace of God, which transcends all understanding; guard your hearts and your minds in Christ. The Lord doesn't want us to be anxious or nervous in a situation. He wants us to come to Him. You still get a little bit of those nerves every Sunday. When you feel that, we always have that opportunity to connect with the Lord in prayer," he said.
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