Catholics in the Superbowl

Catholics in the Superbowl
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

More than 100 million people watched on Sunday as the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the Superbowl. We learned a lot about the players and coaches in the week leading up to the big game – but did you know that several of the Superbowl Champs are lifelong Catholics?

According to The Catholic Review, the newspaper for the archdiocese of Baltimore, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh re-instated the Catholic Mass for the Ravens before each game, and is present every Sunday, along with the other Catholic coaches. “Even though Sundays are the most high-pressured days of his life, Harbaugh said it’s critical to make time for God.”

“I think it’s a way to honor God and praise God. You just humble yourself a little bit before God and let him know that these things that we do are for you,” Harbaugh said.

You can read the full article about John Harbaugh’s faith life and spirituality here.

Another Raven who isn’t shy about his Catholic faith is kicker Justin Tucker. Tucker was a rookie this year, and is known to make the sign of the cross before each kick. He told The Catholic Review,

“More than anything, it’s just to give glory and say thanks for the opportunity. Not many people get to do what I do … and in college even fewer. And now only 32 guys get to do what I do. I’m just ever thankful for the opportunity whenever it presents itself. I really just ask more than anything that God’s will be done, and I’m happy with it.”

Read the full Catholic Review article on Justin Tucker here.

Matt Birke
(Baltimore Ravens)

Yet another player who is vocal about his Catholic faith is Ravens center Matt Birk. The 2012 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year is a father of six and a proud pro-life advocate; and he has recently shown public support for the institution of marriage. On the subject of marriage and football, Birk said,

“One of the things I’ve learned from the Catholic faith that applies to marriage, football and any other aspect of life is to appreciate discipline. On the surface, self-indulgence appears best for us, but that route only weakens us and leaves us unhappy. Self-denial appears to be worst for us, but that route strengthens us and makes us truly content.”

Read The National Catholic Register’s interview with Matt Birk here.