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‘To God Be the Glory’: The Faith That Carried Clemson to Victory

Just after midnight Tuesday in college football’s National Championship game, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, with one second left, threw the ball two yards to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. The pass won the game at 35-31, giving Clemson their first championship since 1981. The typical college-football-win hysteria was there, along with the mandatory Gatorade dunk, obligatory press interviews and drunken bar scenes filled with screaming fans.

But if that’s all you saw, you missed the game. The real story goes much deeper — as deep as the faith of Head Coach Dabo Swinney and his players.

‘It’s What God Wanted’

As ticker tape rained down on the field and cheering fans formed a deafening roar, quarterback Deshaun Watson stood with a reporter for an interview. Still gasping for air following the game, his smile was electric. “I’m speechless right now, man. It’s what God want[ed]. He put us [here] for a reason,” he said. “I talked to one of my coaches and he said ‘It’s a movie and it’s going to end the right way. Just keep believing in God, and just believe in your teammates and everything’s gonna fall in place,’ and that’s what happened and now we’re national champs and it’s amazing!”

Watson was asked why he made the decision to attend Clemson when he originally wanted to go to Florida. Calling Florida his “dream school” and saying that he loved Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin, Watson said the decision was made after he found Christ in 9th grade. He began to pray, along with his ailing mother, about which school to attend and that God would lead him to the right decision. “The day I committed to Clemson, God was talking to me and I just felt like the timing was perfect and that’s what I wanted to do. I stuck through it and it was the best decision of my life.”

‘Only God Can Do This’

Head Coach Dabo Swinney, in a post-game press conference, said rival Alabama worked hard and was a great team, but in the end, his players worked harder. “They fought. They fought for every play,” he said. “I said it out on the field and I’ll say it again. For me personally, only God can do this … there’s just no other explanation for me. It’s not anything to do with me. It’s God working through me and the staff and these players.

“Alabama [is] a challenge. … we just kind of hung in there. We made some mistakes, really we played great defense outside of about three plays, four plays, great drive by them there at the end, unbelievable play, to get the first down there, but at the end of the day, we had one second. We got it done with one second left and we’re the National Champs. To God be the glory.”

Journey of Faith

Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow said being a walk-on player was a “journey,” and that he could never have imagined last night’s win back as a senior in Myrtle Beach. “It’s almost like I got knocked out in the third quarter and this is just all a dream. And credit — I think my faith in God really got me through.” In a locker room interview, Renfrow added that winning the championship felt “unbelievable.” “Just glory to God. Thankful for everyone who … got me to this point.”

The Real Story

The real story of Clemson’s win isn’t about the school having the biggest or fastest or strongest players — although Tigers worked very hard to get to the championship game. It isn’t about who had the most genial or magnetic personality — although Coach Swinney is known for having such a disposition. The real story behind the incredible win is that the men interviewed following the game — the coach and key players — exhibited and proclaimed their faith on the world stage.

Given the opportunity to remain silent, these guys held up Christ as their hope and reason for success.

Watson summed it up in one last interview question on the field. The star quarterback was asked what he told his teammates when he led his offense back on the field after Alabama had regained the lead very late in the fourth quarter. “I walked up to my offensive line and I walked up to my receivers and I said, ‘Let’s be legendary. Let’s be great. God put us here for a reason.’”

Here’s the ‘legendary’ game-winning pass:

(For more from the author of “‘To God Be the Glory’: The Faith That Carried Clemson to Victory” please click HERE)

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Heisman Winner Lamar Jackson: ‘First and Foremost…I Want to Thank My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ’

University of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson was awarded the Heisman Trophy a few days ago at a ceremony in New York City.

Jackson wore a crucifix around his neck during the day, while doing interviews, and then during the ceremony itself.

(Read more from “Heisman Winner Lamar Jackson: ‘First and Foremost…I Want to Thank My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ'” HERE)

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The Disgusting Socks Kaepernick Wore to Practice Completely Cross a Line

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback has created waves this week by refusing to stand for the national anthem at a preseason game, because he “won’t show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

But, as Independent Journal Review noted, Colin Kaepernick doesn’t just disdain the U.S. He also apparently disdains police officers.

Today, Sports Rant Radio tweeted a photo of Kaepernick sporting socks with pigs wearing police hats.

But there’s more. Kaepernick shared his take on the socks on his Instagram account:

“I wore these socks, in the past, because the rogue cops that are allowed to hold positions in police departments, not only put the community in danger, but also put the cops that have the right intentions in danger by creating an environment of tension and mistrust. I have two uncles and friends who are police officers and work to protect and serve ALL people. So before these socks, which were worn before I took my public stance, are used to distract from the real issues, I wanted to address this immediately.”

Really, Kaepernick? Next time you talk about “anti-oppression,” maybe wear a shirt that doesn’t pay homage to one the longest reigning dictators.

The NFL has stated Kaepernick will start in the 49ers’ last pre-season game on Thursday night against the San Diego Chargers. (For more from the author of “The Disgusting Socks Kaepernick Wore to Practice Completely Cross a Line” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

NFL Conducting Comprehensive Investigation of Peyton Manning

The NFL says it is conducting a comprehensive review of allegations that Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had human growth hormone delivered to his house.

There’s no timetable to complete the investigation, but it’s not expected before the Denver plays Carolina in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 . . .

Al Jazeera reported last month that an intern at an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic was secretly recorded suggesting that Manning’s wife received deliveries of HGH, which is banned by the league. Manning, then with the Colts, was rehabbing from shoulder surgeries. (Read more from “NFL Conducting Comprehensive Investigation of Peyton Manning” HERE)

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Football Coach Refuses to Lose Religion, but Will He Lose His Job?

The Washington state football coach defied the Bremerton School District on Oct. 16 by dropping to a knee and praying at midfield after the Friday night football game.

“I’m going to be bold in my faith, and fight the good fight,” he told the Kitsap Sun. “It’s beyond humbling to have so much support. Whatever happens — happens.”

The Bremerton School District issued a stern letter to the coach just hours before the football game – warning him not to pray . . .

“I appreciate Coach Kennedy staying true to his convictions,” [famed NFL coach Tony] Dungy wrote on Twitter.

“Glad I never faced anything like this in my career.” So the question is what happens now? Will Coach Kennedy be reprimanded? Will he be fired? (Read more from “Football Coach Refuses to Lose Religion, but Will He Lose His Job?” HERE)

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Conservative Christian Group Defends US Schools From Atheists Who Want Football Chaplains Abolished

footballThe American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a conservative Christian-based organization has jumped into the fray between the atheist group Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) and American colleges and universities.

Recently, the FFRF sent letters to 15 colleges and universities, pressuring the schools to fire the chaplains of their football teams. This is because, according to the FFRF, appointing a football chaplain in a sports team is unconstitutional.

The FFRF claims that schools should abolish their chaplaincy because “Christian coaches and chaplains are converting football fields into mission fields” and that appointing football chaplains is a form of “religious discrimination.”

A report by FFRF goes on to say that schools cannot “use the coercive nature and structure of a public football program to mandate, order, or even suggest that players under their control should worship as the coaches wish.”

The atheist group suggests instead that “it is in the best interest of public universities to adopt policies that protect student athletes from discrimination and unlawful religious coercion.” (Read more from “Conservative Christian Group Defends US Schools From Atheists Who Want Football Chaplains Abolished” HERE)

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Report: Eagles Signing Tim Tebow

tebowTim Tebow is back in the NFL. And Chip Kelly’s offseason just got juicier.

The Philadelphia Eagles plan to bring in quarterback Tim Tebow and sign him Monday as they begin their offseason program, FOX Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer reports. Multiple outlets later confirmed the report.

The Eagles are looking for a fourth quarterback for their offseason program. After spending time with Tebow’s quarterbacks coach Tom House, the Eagles are convinced he’s improved a lot, Glazer reports.

Tebow, who hasn’t played in an NFL regular season game since 2012, was brought in for a workout for the Eagles last month.

“I’ve always been a fan of Tim,” Kelly told NFL Network last month. “We bring in a lot of players for private workouts, it’s just he’s the one that everyone keeps talking about. We brought in Terrelle Pryor for a workout and Thad Lewis in for a workout. When players are available for you to work them out, it’s the same thing of going to the veteran combine or going to the super regional combine. (Read more from “Report: Eagles Signing Tim Tebow” HERE)

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Aaron Hernandez Guilty of First-Degree Murder, Sentenced to Life in Prison

Aaron Hernandez GuiltyFormer Patriots star Aaron Hernandez has been convicted on all counts in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, including first-degree murder. He has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The verdict represents a stunning fall from grace for the former tight end, who just three years ago signed a five-year contract extension worth up to $40 million with the New England Patriots. Hernandez starred as a multi-sport athlete in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut, and was a top player for the Florida Gators squad that won the 2008 national championship.

Hernandez’s father Dennis passed away suddenly in 2006 at the age of 49, a turning point in his life.

“I truly believe that Aaron wouldn’t be where he is today if his father were alive,” Bob Montgomery, Bristol historian and Bristol Press columnist, told Boston.com back in February. “[He and his brother] loved that man and they loved each other. Made me feel kind of funny. Boy, I wish I could show my son that love.”

Hernandez comes from a long line of great athletes in the Hernandez family. His father and older brother D.J. were stand-outs at Bristol Central High School, and both went on to successful football careers at the University of Connecticut. Aaron was the youngest Hernandez, and lauded as the greatest of them all when he was in middle school. (Read more from “Aaron Hernandez Guilty” HERE)

Watch: Seahawks Wide Receiver’s Rude Gesture After Touchdown Not Aired at Super Bowl

Photo Credit: CBS News. By CBS News. Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin is staying tight-lipped about his end zone celebration following a touchdown catch in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday.

After the former Stanford University wideout caught a touchdown pass in the third quarter against the New England Patriots, he stood over the ball on the ground and made a motion that resembled pulling down his pants, before squatting over the ball.

Baldwin’s entire celebration was not seen by the NBC television audience as the network cut away from Baldwin as he began his pants-pulling motion. His antics earned Seattle a penalty flag for excessive celebration.

(Read more about the Seahawks Wide Receiver’s gesture HERE)

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Tom Brady Gives MVP Truck to Malcolm Butler

By CBS News. Tom Brady won his fourth Lombardi Trophy and third Super Bowl MVP award Sunday night.

But he wouldn’t have accomplished that without a clutch interception by undrafted rookie Malcolm Butler, who picked off Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson at the New England one-yard line with just seconds remaining in Super Bow XLIX to seal the victory for the Patriots.

“I think there are a lot of people who are very deserving of this award,” Brady said Monday morning in Arizona as he collected his latest MVP trophy.

As MVP, Brady also received a shiny new Chevy truck. While he didn’t hand his MVP trophy to Butler, the quarterback is doing the next best thing: He’s giving him the truck.

Butler was not one of the 256 players drafted into the NFL last May, and earned his spot on the Patriots with an impressive rookie camp and preseason. While fans didn’t see much of Butler during the regular season, he was no stranger to Brady, constantly plucking the quarterback’s passes from the sky. (Read more from this story HERE)

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Tom Brady: Team Chaplain One of the Main Reasons for This Season’s Success (+video)

Photo Credit: Ijreview By Eric Scheiner. According to ESPN.com, Jack Easterby is treated a little different than most team chaplains. “The typical team chaplain is a pastor at a local church who volunteers to host Saturday chapel for 10 or so players who attend and is compensated with cash in a collection plate. In New England, Easterby has an office — and it’s near (Coach Bill) Belichick’s. He is a classic Belichick hire: The more he can do, the more he does. He hosts Bible study, works coaches’ hours in his office counseling players and their wives, throws passes in practice to Darrelle Revis and sometimes even jumps in on scout-team drills. When he’s not listening, he’s texting. When he’s not texting, he’s writing players and coaches individual notes, recapping their personal goals and reminding them of how thankful he is to know them.”

“The Patriots, since his hire, say they are not the same, no matter what happens in Super Bowl XLIX and no matter the result of Ted Wells’ investigation into whether the team illegally deflated footballs in the AFC championship game. Owner Robert Kraft calls Easterby a ‘wonderful individual,’ and (Tom) Brady has told friends Easterby is one of the main reasons for the Patriots’ success this past year. Safety Devin McCourty calls him ‘a godsend to this team’ who has ‘helped create better men.'”

(Read more about what Tom Brady said HERE)

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Seahawks Quarterback: I Became a Christian After Jesus Visited Me in a Dream (+videos)

By Michael Gryboski. Russell Wilson, a native of Richmond, Va., who quarterbacks for the Seattle Seahawks, explained in a recent video about his religious background and spiritual decision. (Read more from this story HERE).

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