I never waste an opportunity to write about sports and religion when there is a natural connection.
That happens all the time. Sports and religion are often intertwined by our culture and society. My trip to Moscow last summer for soccer’s World Cup led me to do a feature on St. Basil’s Cathedral and how it had come to become one of the tournament’s biggest symbols alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
This takes us to this coming Sunday. With America preparing for another Super Bowl — and yet another appearance by quarterback Tom Brady — this great athlete (and his faith) are worth another look.
In Brady’s case, let’s just say it’s complicated.
It’s true that two weeks of Brady storylines since the conference championships didn’t do sportswriters a lot of good. Brady’s been here (nine Super Bowl appearances to be exact) and done that (in the form of five titles). The bigger story was the bad officiating in the NFC Championship Game, how the New Orleans Saints were wronged and the fallout that has ensued.
Super Bowl LIII festivities officially kicked off on Monday with Opening Night — previously known as Media Day — at the State Farm Arena. The media circus that has descended upon Atlanta for Sunday’s big game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams means hundreds of hours of TV coverage and lots of articles and feature stories.
Lost in all the Brady quotes, news stories and features over the past week was any focus or mention of Brady’s faith. For any athlete who has won so much, religion can often play a central role. Is that the case here?
In a January 2015 piece, Deseret News writer Herb Scribner explored the very question of Brady’s spiritual life, piecing together what was known about his faith from past interviews and feature stories.