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TACKLING RAY LEWIS

PAINTER/nfl star VERNON DAVIS

INSIDE: SS AT THE SUPER BOWL, EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS


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CONTENTS FEATURES

Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Willis (p6); Baltimore Ravens: Anquan Boldin (p8); San Francisco 49ers: David Akers (p10); Baltimore Ravens: Jim Caldwell (p12); San Francisco 49ers: Jonathan Goodwin (p14); San Francisco 49ers: Andy Lee (p16); Baltimore Ravens: Matt Birk (p18); San Francisco 49ers: Michael Wilhoite (p16); Baltimore Ravens: Michael Oher (p18); San Francisco 49ers: Daniel Kilgore (p20)

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WITHOUT A DOUBT

And you thought Tim Tebow was polarizing? Look into the eyes of Ray Lewis and think again BY SPORTS SPECTRUM

Patrick Smith / Getty Images

CLOSEUP:

44

PAST CHAMPIONS

BY SPORTS SPECTRUM A year-by-year recollection of Super Bowls past including scores, MVPs and location

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BELIEF THROUGH THE DYNASTIES

30

THE MEANINGLESS QUEST

Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

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BY SPORTS SPECTRUM A look back at the decades, dynasties, and the thread of belief in football’s greatest Super Bowl champions BY SPORTS SPECTRUM The meaningless and consuming pursuit of a Super Bowl has fooled many. So what’s your Super Bowl? What do you chase?

LESSON LEARNED

San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis took what he learned in 2008 and began a transformation on and off the field. BY BRETT HONEYCUTT

Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

OPINION

2 57

THE RISE OF NEW ORLEANS

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told Sports Spectrum at Media Day in New Orleans that the main thing he’s learned this year is that God is in the ‘driver’s seat.’ And what a ride it’s been BY JOSHUA COOLEY

Stacy Revere / Getty Images

SPECIALS

24

ALONG FOR THE RIDE

AIRING IT OUT: Winning=Happiness?

Hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy may not be as good as it seems BY BRETT HONEYCUTT

ANOTHER ANGLE: Life is life

What do you do when your computer crashes before you leave for New Orleans? You realize it’s just bad weather BY STEPHEN COPELAND

BY SPORTS SPECTRUM A gallery of the city that rebuilt itself after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2012

Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

1


AIRING IT OUT

OPINION

BY BRETT HONEYCUTT

b h o n e y c u t t @ s p o r t s s p e c t r u m . c o m | F o l l o w @ b re t t _ h o n e y c u t t

Winning = Happiness?

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ountaintop experience. Overwhelming. Elation. Joy. Happiness. Freedom. Those words would aptly describe the feelings of most players and coaches who win the Super Bowl, the most popular sporting event in the U.S. as evidenced by the recordbreaking number of television viewers the last three Super Bowls (more than 111 million watched last year’s game making it the most-watched TV show in U.S. history). But for some players and coaches, those descriptions above only add to the confusion of winning America’s biggest sports prize. Tom Brady famously told 60 Minutes reporter Steve Kroft: “Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, ‘God, it’s got to be more than this.’ I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be.” Kroft then asked, “What’s the answer?” Brady replied, “I wish I knew. I wish I knew. I love playing football and I love being quarterback for this team. But at the same time, I think there are a lot of other parts about me that I’m trying to find.” Brady has won three Super Bowls, yet he still admits being unfulfilled, unsatisfied and that he’s “trying to find” something. For most, his remarks seem incomprehensible. To me, as a Christian, they make sense and only confirm what God says in His Word about achieving things that are temporary. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” I John 2:17 It makes sense, not because I’m a biblical scholar (I’m not), but because of hearing someone like Brady question why he can’t be satisfied. Remember, he has reached the pinnacle of the sports world and, outside of that, he would seem to have it all. He’s a millionaire (often we hear people say that money will solve their problems). He is famous (he is an NFL quarterback who also models and does commercials, and people would say that fame brings contentment). He is married (singles often desire this because they feel it will complete them). He is married to a model (as shallow as it seems, others often comment how lucky someone must be to marry a model or someone like a model). 2

SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2013

Larry French / Getty Images

And he has children (how often have we heard someone say that they long to raise a family and that it would make them happy to raise children?). I’m sorry, but it’s a lie. It’s the carrot dangling in front of you that is unattainable. I’m not talking about the money, fame, and seemingly perfect relationship being unattainable (because some have been, are and will be blessed like that). I’m talking about what all of that is supposed to bring–happiness, joy, freedom. Those things are unattainable apart from God. Why is that true? Not because Tom Brady questioned it and had a reflective moment where he was confused. He only affirmed why it makes sense. It’s because God told us that’s how we will feel if we chase after temporal things. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will Brett Honeycutt is the be saved, but only as one managing editor of Sports escaping through the Spectrum magazine. His column flames.” I Corinthians addresses controversial topics 3:10-15 from a biblical perspective.


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Patrick Willis

- San Francisco 49ers linebacker “My grandmother kind of got me into church. She was a lady that every Sunday you’re going to go to church. Every Wednesday you’re going to go to church, every Bible study, every day. The thing I’ll never forget is when I got ready to go away to college...She said, ‘Baby, no matter what you do, always keep your hand in God’s hand.’” My grandmother is someone that was like a mother to me that raised me. I love her. She is still alive and still strong. She still talks to me all the time and says, ‘Keep your hand in God’s hand. Just keep on believing in God.’ I believe and I have faith that He is why I am where I am today.”

CLICK HERE

to watch Patrick Willis talk about his tattoos...

Aaron May / Sports Spectrum


Provided by NewOrleansOnline.com


Anquan Boldin - Baltimore Ravens wide receiver

“Through life you are going to go through some ups and downs, you are going to go through some hardships, but me being grounded in my faith I think truly is the reason that I’m here.”

CLICK HERE

to listen to Anquan Boldin’s thoughts on Jim Caldwell... Patrick Smith / Getty Images


SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2013

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SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2013


David Akers - San Francisco 49ers kicker

“I keep going on Romans 8:28. I believe that we’re all here for a purpose, and trying to figure out what that purpose is. As long as you love God, then you know that He has a plan for you and you’ve got to just keep working in the situation that you’re in.”

CLICK HERE

to watch David Akers talk about his journey... David Welker / Getty Images

SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2012

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Jim Caldwell

- Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks head coach “My prayer life is what keeps me in balance. It doesn’t let me get out of whack. It’s about solitude and being on your knees.”

to listen to Jim Caldwell talk about his wild year...

Aaron May / Sports Spectrum

CLICK HERE


Provided by NewOrleansOnline.com


Jonathan Goodwin - San Francisco 49ers center

“I credit it to the faith that our team has in their Lord above...a trust and a faith in a greater power. A spiritual strength that is throughout our football team,and I just have to say that. I have to say that.�

to watch Jonathan Goodwin talk about his faith...

Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

CLICK HERE


S PSOPROTRST S PSEPCETCRTURMU M~ ~D IDG II GMIAMGA G2 021021 3

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Andy Lee

- San Francisco 49ers punter “(Faith is) what I live by, so every day I try to get up and do the best I can to live as closely to Jesus as I can, which I fail every day. It keeps me going. It’s what keeps me trying to make my family as happy as I can, treating my wife the best I can, and treating my kids the best I can and keeping them first.”

CLICK HERE

to watch Andy Lee talk about his faith...

Aaron May / Sports Spectrum


Provided by NewOrleansOnline.com


Matt Birk

- Baltimore Ravens center “I can’t imagine getting through some of the things I’ve gone through in my life without my faith...My faith helps me stay centered and it gets me back to neutral whenever I start to stray one way or the other.”

to listen to Matt Birk talk about his view on marriage..

George Gojkovich / Getty Images

CLICK HERE


SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2012

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Michael Wilhoite - San Francisco 49ers linebacker

“What drives me first of all is the Lord. Every day I get up and I pray and I thank Him for the privilege of having life, for just blessing me with a day on this earth. I thank Him all the time and I’m very happy He has blessed me each and every day. To be here in this situation, is just amazing. ...Things just don’t happen. Things aren’t just a coincidence...He has His hand on everything. He has a plan.”

CLICK HERE

Chris Graythen / Getty Images

to watch Michael Wilhoite talk about his faith...


Provided by NewOrleansOnline.com


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SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2013


Michael Oher - Baltimore Ravens tackle

“I’ll never ever wake up one day and get comfortable with my situation. It will always be unbelievable. I’ll always be a hard worker. I know that’s all God. Without him, I wouldn’t be here. It’s impossible.”

CLICK HERE

to listen to Michael Oher talk about ‘The Blindside’...

Aaron May / Sports Spectrum


Daniel Kilgore - San Francisco 49ers guard

“In college, I wasn’t living like I should have been. I was just getting by. Once I changed my life around, I got back in church, started hanging out with the right people. Being where I am today, telling my story and seeing the kids how they react, it’s awesome. It’s a blessing. Right now, you have the opportunity to change a life and go down the right track.”

CLICK HERE

to watch Daniel Kilgore talk about his faith...

Aaron May / Sports Spectrum


Provided by NewOrleansOnline.com


PAST CHAMPS Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super Super

Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl

I: Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10 (Jan. 15, 1967, Los Angeles) II: Green Bay Packers 33, Oakland Raiders 14 (Jan. 14, 1968, Miami) III: New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7 (Jan. 12, 1969, Miami) IV: Kansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota Vikings 7 (Jan. 11, 1970, New Orleans) V: Baltimore Colts 16, Dallas Cowboys 13 (Jan. 17, 1971, Miami) VI: Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3 (Jan. 16, 1972, New Orleans) VII: Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7 (Jan. 14, 1973, Los Angeles) VIII: Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7 (Jan. 13, 1974, Houston) IX: Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Minnesota Vikings 6 (Jan. 12, 1975, New Orleans) X: Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Dallas Cowboys 17 (Jan. 18, 1976, Miami) XI: Oakland Raiders 32, Minnesota Vikings 14 (Jan. 9, 1977, Pasadena, Calif.) XII: Dallas Cowboys 27, Denver Broncos 10 (Jan. 15, 1978, New Orleans) XIII: Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31 (Jan. 21, 1979, Miami) XIV: Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19 (Jan. 20, 1980, Pasadena, Calif.) XV: Oakland Raiders 27, Philadelphia Eagles 10 (Jan. 25, 1981, New Orleans) XVI: San Francisco 49ers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21 (Jan. 24, 1982, Pontiac, Mich.) XVII: Washington Redskins 27, Miami Dolphins 17 (Jan. 30, 1983, Pasadena, Calif.) XVIII: Los Angeles Raiders 38, Washington Redskins 9 (Jan. 22, 1984, Tampa, Fla.) XIX: San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16 (Jan. 20, 1985, Stanford, Calif.) XX: Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10 (Jan. 26, 1986, New Orleans) XXI: New York Giants 39, Denver Broncos 20 (Jan. 25, 1987, Pasadena, Calif.) XXII: Washington Redskins 42, Denver Broncos 10 (Jan. 31, 1988, San Diego) XXIII: San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16 (Jan. 22, 1989, Miami) XXIV: San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10 (Jan. 28, 1990, New Orleans) XXV: New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19 (Jan. 27, 1991, Tampa) XXVI: Washington Redskins 37, Buffalo Bills 24 (Jan. 26, 1992, Minneapolis) XXVII: Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17 (Jan. 31, 1993, Pasadena, Calif.) XXVIII: Dallas Cowboys 30, Buffalo Bills 13 (Jan. 30, 1994, Atlanta) XXIX: San Francisco 49ers 49, San Diego Chargers 26 (Jan. 29, 1995, Miami) XXX: Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17 (Jan. 28, 1996, Tempe, Ariz.) XXXI: Green Bay Packers 35, New England Patriots 21 (Jan. 26, 1997, New Orleans) XXXII: Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24 (Jan. 25, 1998, San Diego) XXXIII: Denver Broncos 34, Atlanta Falcons 19 (Jan. 31, 1999, Miami) XXXIV: St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16 (Jan. 30, 2000, Atlanta) XXXV: Baltimore Ravens 34, New York Giants 7 (Jan. 28, 2001, Tampa) XXXVI: New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17 (Feb. 3, 2002, New Orleans) XXXVII: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48, Oakland Raiders 21 (Jan. 26, 2003, San Diego) XXXVIII: New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29 (Feb. 1, 2004, Houston) XXXIX: New England Patriots 24, Philadelphia Eagles 21 (Feb. 6, 2005, Jacksonville, Fla.) XL: Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Seattle Seahawks 10 (Feb. 5, 2006, Detroit) XLI: Indianapolis Colts 29, Chicago Bears 17 (Feb. 4, 2007, Miami) XLII: New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14 (Feb. 3, 2008, Glendale, Ariz.) XLIII: Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23 (Feb. 1, 2009, Tampa) XLIV: New Orleans Saints 31, Indianapolis Colts 17 (Feb. 7, 2010, Miami) XLV: Green Bay Packers 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 25 (Feb. 6, 2011, Arlington, Texas) XLVI: New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17 (Feb. 5, 2012, Indianapolis, Ind.)


Chris Graythen / Getty Images

SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2012

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SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2013


BELIEF

through the dynasties A look back at the decades, dynasties, and the thread of belief in football’s greatest Super Bowl champions

“Jesus was able to sustain such a positive attitude because of his unfailing love for everyone around Him. It transformed the lives of all who came in contact with Him, even His persecutors. Jesus continues to have this same transformational effect on people today. Regardless of the successes I have experienced, if my life does not exhibit God’s love, it becomes less meaningful.”

60’s

bart starr Images provided by Focus on Sport

Bart Starr, five-time NFL Champion (1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967), two-time Super Bowl champion (I, II) and two-time Super Bowl MVP (as told to Athletes in Action’s Beyond the Ultimate) SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2012

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70’s

mel blount

“Whatever your situation is, there is a way out. That is to have Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior… We are all God’s children. He has a purpose for all of us.” Mel Blount, four-time Super Bowl champion (IX, X, XIII, XIV) for the Pittsburgh Steelers

80’s

“God is so important to me, for many reasons. He tells us in His Word that we have a soul and that our soul is going to live forever. The question becomes, ‘Where are we going to live forever? There are only two places we can go. We can either live with Christ, in heaven, or live forever separated from Him in a place called hell. Personally, I don’t want to live separated from Him. Everyone, no matter who you are, no matter what your position in life, needs to make a commitment to Christ. If you don’t you’re going to spend eternity separated from Him. There are only two teams. You can play on God’s team, or you can play against Him.”

joe gibbs

Joe Gibbs, Washington Redskins, three-time Super Bowl-winning coach (XVII, XXII, XXVI) 28

SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2013


90’s

brent jones

“I want people to see something different about me. When I speak in a church, I don’t want them to see who I am as being different than what I say.” Brent Jones, three-time Super Bowl champion (XXIII, XXIV, XXIX) for the San Francisco 49ers

2000’s

“The challenges of being a husband and father, plus the tragedy of losing my own father, caused me to realize that I need Christ’s help and strength to be the man I need to be. I am not perfect, but Jesus says He will erase my mistakes and make me pure and clean. Today, I still experience ups-and-downs in life, but in Christ I have peace, joy and true happiness.”

richard seymour

Richard Seymour, three-time Super Bowl champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX) for the New England Patriots (as told to Athletes in Action’s Beyond the Ultimate) Images provided by Focus on Sport

SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2012

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THE MEANINGLE The meaningless and

consuming pursuit of a

Super Bowl has fooled

many. So what’s your Super

Bowl? What do you chase? Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

30

SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2013


ESS QUEST

SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2012

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DON’T BE FOOLED

deion sanders “The night we won the Super Bowl in San Francisco, I was the first one out of the locker room, the first one home, the first one to bed. And I said, ‘This, it ain’t what I thought it was. I’m not even happy.’ You got women everywhere, you still ain’t happy. You got clothes galore, you still ain’t happy. You got everything you wanted, but you still not happy.” Deion Sanders, Dallas Cowboys two-time Super Bowl champion (XXIX, XXX), Pro Football Hall of Famer

tom brady “Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, ‘God, it’s got to be more than this.’ I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be.” Tom Brady, New England Patriots, three-time Super Bowl champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX)


bob lilly “We buckled down in 1972 and beat the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI, 24-3. It was very exciting to finally win an NFL Championship. But I’ll never forget the morning after the game. Football had been 11 years of my life and I had accomplished all of my goals. Winning the Super Bowl was supposed to be the ultimate. But about 6:30 on the morning after the Super Bowl, I walked out on the parking lot of our hotel in New Orleans. There were beer bottles, beer cans and all kinds of trash left from the night before. I remember stumbling around and saying, ‘Is this all there is?’ This was 11 years of my life and I had accomplished all those goals and yet I was hollow inside. Suddenly, it was over; the elation and joy had burst like a balloon. I remembered something a man from West Texas told me one time. ‘Every man has a God hole. You can try to fill it with anything you want and you just can’t get satisfied until you fill it with Jesus. In fact, the more you try to fill it, the bigger the hole gets until you find Jesus.’ The hole in my soul just kept getting bigger. I played three more years and my focus was on accumulating material things. But no matter how much I accumulated, I still felt this emptiness inside.” Bob Lilly, Dallas Cowboys, Super Bowl VI champion and Pro Football Hall of Famer

SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2012

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THE RISE

of new orleans

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SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2013


Provided by NewOrleansOnline.com

SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2012

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WITHOUT A DOUBT AND YOU THOUGHT TIM TEBOW WAS POLARIZING? LOOK INTO THE EYES OF RAY LEWIS AND THINK AGAIN BY SPORTS SPECTRUM Patrick Smith / Getty Images

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SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2013


CLICK HERE

to listen to Ray Lewis talk about, well, what he always talks about...


S

ome love him. Some hate him. Some say he has matured, born again, in a sense; others say he’s a womanizer (six children, four women) who got away with murder. All judgment and preconceived notions aside, however, there are certain things you cannot question about Ray Lewis: his leadership through action and inspiration through words. But don’t let us do the talking...

REVEREND RAY

Lewis,known for wearing his faith on his sleeve, or, shirt, evidenced by the “Psalm 91” shirt he recently revealed, has never shied away from his faith. “I tell them, trust me, don’t ever take my path. Don’t ever do it the way I did it, because everyone won’t make it. You got to be willing to walk in a storm. That’s what I tell people all the time. If there’s something in your life that you know needs changing, make sure you change it before God’s got to change it. Because if God’s got to change it, you ain’t going to like it.” (Lewis, on how his past mistakes provide a mentoring opportunity for his younger teammates, in a recent New York Times article written by William C. Rhoden.) “God has done something in my life—and not just for me to see it. God has done something in my life for every hater, every enemy.” (Lewis, as quoted in Sports Illustrated in 2006, preaching during a church service.) “I don’t believe [God] picks a winner or not. What I do believe is that if you give Him true credit to say ‘Whatever your will is, so be it.’..There’s irony in sports. There’s truth. If there’s a winner there’s a loser...But the bottom line is you never lose when your mind-set is whatever His will is, so be it. If you come out and give everything you got, that’s all you have to do. Whatever happens after that, it happens.” (Lewis, on whether God cares about who wins and loses the Super Bowl, as quoted by Sports Spectrum at Super Bowl Media Day.) “I know along my journey, a lot of people didn’t know that one of my driving forces was my grandmother, who is in the hospital and she is on life support right now. Every day, she asks me to promise her that I would bring her one more Super Bowl before she went home. Just to be able to give that to her, and I am always emotional any time when I talk to God. Just having that conversation with Him is so much different than having a conversation with anyone else. I do get emotional in times like that when it is at that point.” (Lewis, on how his emotional personality, as quoted by Sports Spectrum at Super Bowl Media Day.) “Back then, I was a little bit more of a follower, because I hadn’t won a Super Bowl yet, and Shannon (Sharpe) was always trying to tell me what it felt like, what were the things you had to do, and the things you had to give up. So now, it’s different, because now I’m a leader going into this Super Bowl, and I have touched the confetti before. Now, there are a bunch of young guys sitting there and saying, ‘Oh my God, I don’t believe it’s real.’ And I’m like, ‘It’s real.’ So, now I am leading them into what this game is all about and what this 60 minutes is all about. I think that is the biggest difference. I was once a follower, and now I am a leader into this game.” (Lewis, on how he has changed between his last Super Bowl and this Super Bowl, as quoted by Sports Spectrum at Super Bowl Media Day.)

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SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2013 Patrick Smith / Getty Images


Kimberly Smith / Getty Images

Aaron May / Sports Spectrum

THE HATERS

Lewis talks a big game; not everyone believes it. But is his Tebow-esqe vocality frowned upon because of his jaded past, or does his message lack authenticity? Is his preaching merely a facade to hide his guilt? “It’s definitely all about him. Once a guy goes to the center of the field, goes into the victory formation on the last play of his last home game. I just don’t think the Giants or any organization I’ve ever been a part of, even growing up, would allow somebody to single themselves out like that. If you single yourself out after you make a play, that’s one thing. But to walk out on the field reminds me of the WWE, like The Rock coming out. You’re becoming a caricature of yourself. It’s exhausting. I don’t know why somebody would want that...If you want to say you’re Mr. Religious and all of that, have a clean record. Don’t say all of that stuff if you know there’s stuff that might come back. Those are the things that, when I look at him, I just think hypocrisy.” (Amani Toomer, former New York Giants wide receiver in a recent interview with USA Today Sports.)

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SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2013

“Stop acting like you are one of the people that come out of the Bible. If you’re redeemed—and he’s always quoting Scriptures—then you would have stood up like a man and said what happened.” (Greg Wilson, whose nephew Jacinth Baker died in the infamous Atlanta brawl 13 years ago that nearly destroyed Lewis’ career, as quoted in a recent CNN story.)

THE BELIEVERS

Those who know Lewis best believe his message is authentic and heartfelt. He’s admitted he has a dark past, but should that stop him from preaching? It didn’t stop Paul, the apostle. So why should it stop Ray Lewis? “We are all ex something’s. Ex-drunks. Alcoholics. Womanizers. Whatever it is. He’s got a past. So what...He is the first one to say, ‘I didn’t always get it right.’” (Tatyana McCall, the mother of three of Lewis’ children who has known Lewis for half of her life and possibly better than anyone else and has also went separate ways with Lewis. McCall also told Orlando’s WKMG Local 6 that Lewis is caring, kind, sensitive, and has reinvented himself; she believes the Atlanta nightclub


Elsa / Getty Images

incident 13 years ago changed Lewis and led to him embracing his Christian faith.) “He was the best defensive player on the field every game he played in. Off the field he was the best. He had this unique ability to resonate with every single person in the locker room. And that’s hard to do. In the NFL, unfortunately, sometimes the guy who is most productive has the loudest voice and that messaging is wrong. Well, that’s not the case with Ray. He is the most productive player but his messaging within the locker room is always right. There’s an intensity to him. That intensity is authentic. It’s genuine and it’s always directed at making the football organization better. ... When I say he’s the best, really in my experience in the National Football League, I’ve never seen a person better than him at those three layers: preparation, leadership and play.” (ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, who won a Super Bowl with Lewis and is also an outspoken believer.)

playing he’s always a guy trying to affect people and change the way that people think and make an impact on the world. I’ve got a feeling he’s going to do that in some big ways.” (John Harbaugh, on whether Ray Lewis could be the team’s chaplain after he retires, as quoted by Sports Spectrum at Super Bowl Media Day.) There are certain things you cannot question about Ray Lewis. He is a leader. He is inspirational. And he is vocal about his Christian faith. But Lewis also raises another crucial question. You don’t have to like him. You don’t have to like the way he carries himself. You don’t have to embrace him. But is it your job to question what he proclaims? Or Someone else’s? This story was put together by the Sports Spectrum staff.

“We have already used him as our team chaplain so Ray could double up anytime he wants. He can coach; he can do whatever he wants. I think Ray’s got big plans. Ray’s that kind of guy and when he’s done SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2012

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BALTIMORE RAVENS HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH TOLD SPORTS SPECTRUM AT MEDIA DAY IN NEW ORLEANS THAT THE MAIN THING HE’S LEARNED THIS YEAR IS THAT GOD IS IN THE ‘DRIVER’S SEAT.’ WELL, IT’S BEEN A HEAVEN OF A RIDE BY JOSH COOLEY,

UPDATED BY SPORTS SPECTRUM

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to listen to John Harbaugh talk about the beauty of faith...


he “Hello Kitty” poster was the first clue: Something was amiss. This couldn’t actually be the office of an NFL head coach, could it? Where were the pithy motivational placards about success, endurance and teamwork? Where were the ostentatious odes to football or the coach’s own achievements? And how did this girly paraphernalia make it past security? This is, after all, the NFL, which has annals filled with stories of blustering men who rule football fiefdoms like medieval lords and treat their serfs accordingly. But this particular office—a spacious suite on the second floor of the Baltimore Ravens’ headquarters in Owings Mills, Md.—sent quite a different message. On the wall, next to Hello Kitty, was a “SpongeBob SquarePants” coloring sheet. “You like that one?” says John Harbaugh, happily acknowledging a visitor’s question about his pretension-popping office décor, courtesy of his then 8-year-old daughter Alison. “That’s our TV show. We watch SpongeBob together every day. It’s a great show. You know, there are

some good lessons in SpongeBob. They make fun of human frailties and stuff.” Harbaugh, it is safe to say, is not your typical NFL head coach. At age 48, he is one of the best in the business, and yet there is a fascinating dichotomy to him that defies industry stereotypes. Is it possible for a successful, ambitious field general working in an aggressive, me-first vocation to possess a soft side, love children’s cartoons and embody Christ-like humility? Harbaugh pauses and sizes up his guest. He is clearly impressed that another adult recognizes animation genius. “You like SpongeBob,” he mulls. “I’m glad to hear that. That tells me you’re a great thinker. I think SpongeBob is a great place for deep thinkers, no doubt about it.” Good heavens. What would Vince Lombardi say?

Midnight was approaching, and the air had a bite to it—a typical late-winter night in Oxford, Ohio. But Harbaugh had a spring in his step as he walked—almost bouncing like Tigger in the Hundred Acre Wood—back to his dorm room. It was 1980, and Harbaugh had just become a Christian. Raised


Catholic, he had always been more fascinated about church history than the Bible itself. When he arrived at Miami University (Ohio) as a freshman defensive back, two teammates invited him to a Bible study. The political science major became intrigued by Scripture’s logic. Things started clicking about God, the universe, sin and Calvary. Before long, he surrendered himself to Christ. “I remember walking home thinking, ‘If I fall on the ground and die right now, I’m right with God,’” Harbaugh recalls. “I felt a real freedom.” Over the next decade, though, Harbaugh’s career ambitions choked spiritual growth. The oldest of three children, he had inherited a passion for football from his father, Jack, who coached for 43 years and led Western Kentucky to the 2002 NCAA Division I-AA championship. While John’s younger brother, Jim, the current head coach at Stanford, became a star quarterback at Michigan and enjoyed an impressive 14-year NFL career, John’s playing career ended after college.

By 1990, John was an assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati, six years into a coaching career that was inching along as slowly as his spiritual walk. Then he met current Athletes in Action president Mark Householder, who was then a campus ministry representative at Cincinnati. Along with current Ravens’ offensive assistant Craig Ver Steeg, the three men met every Thursday for a spiritual accountability breakfast. By 1996, Harbaugh finally loosened his grip on his life and career. Two years later, the Philadelphia Eagles hired him as their special teams coach. “The irony of the whole thing was when I finally gave up trying to move up in the profession, that’s when God took over and things that I hadn’t even dreamed possible … became realities,” Harbaugh says. In 2008, Harbaugh got his big chance when Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti hired him to replace Brian Billick despite Harbaugh’s lack of head coaching experience at any level. The gamble has paid off hand-

“The biggest thing I’ve learned (this year) faith-wise is that God is in the driver’s seat. That is what faith is. It’s the belief in the things that are unseen, that are uncertain, that we can’t be sure about.”

G Fiume / Getty Images

Aaron May / Sports Spectrum


Jim Rogash / Sports Spectrum

somely. With 13 victories and an AFC championship game appearance, the 2008 Ravens set an NFL record for most wins by a rookie head coach using a rookie quarterback (Joe Flacco). The 2009 Ravens reached the playoffs, too, finishing with 10 victories before losing to eventual Super Bowl runner-up Indianapolis. Baltimore lost in the divisional round in 2010 (Steelers), the AFC Championship in 2011 (Patriots), and earned their revenge in the 2012 AFC Championship against New England, as John Harbaugh reached the Super Bowl for his first time as a head coach. “The biggest thing I’ve learned (this year) faith-wise is that God is in the driver’s seat,” Harbaugh told Sports Spectrum at Media Day in New Orleans. “That is what faith is. It’s the belief in the things that are unseen, that are uncertain, that we can’t be sure about. It’s a certain trust in life and in our Creator and God himself. I happen to be a Christian. That’s my faith. If you can do that, it brings you a peace. It brings you a certain peace that surpasses all understanding. I think if you have that, it gives you a chance to accomplish whatever it is you are supposed to accomplish.” Harbaugh, it seems, has created some pretty high expectations. This, though, is silly talk to him. “I don’t believe in expectations,” he says bluntly. “I think it’s kind of a false concept to think that you can even have expectations for anything. It says in the Bible: Make no oath; don’t swear on anything.” Pop quiz: Name another NFL head coach, when asked about raised expectations, who quotes Jesus’ update on old Mosaic laws about promise-making in Matthew 5. “He’s always looking to apply the principles of Scripture as it relates to the team,” Ravens chaplain Rod Hairston says. To understand Harbaugh, avoid typecasting by job title. “I’m not a goals guy,” Harbaugh continued at Media Day. “A lot of people talk about goals and networking and making a plan. I’m more of a guy who says, ‘I’m going to work hard every day and try to become something and whatever it is I’m supposed to become and see where that leads.’ And it’s worked out pretty well.” In a league of dominant, type-A personalities who are driven by achievement, power and fame, Harbaugh, by God’s grace, is different. Sure, he burns to win—he describes himself as “a volatile, emotional kind of guy”—but he goes about it differently. “One of the things I’ve always noticed about John is a deep sense of humility,” Householder says. “I’ve never known John to be self-promoting or selfabsorbed. He has a real focus on others and other people’s well-being.” This selflessness extends most poignantly to his wife, Ingrid, and their only child. If you want to see Harbaugh’s enthusiasm, scrap the football chatter and ask him about Alison. He loves displaying her

rudimentary artwork on his office wall. He relishes their basketball shooting competitions in the family driveway. And when the regular season hits and workdays turn into 16-hour marathons, he institutes Saturday family days at the Ravens’ practice facility, when coaches and players can spend time with their wives and children. “What inspires me is my daughter and my wife,” Harbaugh told Sports Spectrum at Media Day. “I see my daughter growing up every single day and to me that is the most incredible miracle that there could ever be. We have a family atmosphere environment at our place. We have players and coaches bring their kids over anytime they want. That’s what inspires me. You see little kids running around, and you see your little daughter running around with those kids, and it just makes your heart bloom with joy. To me, that’s what it is all about.” “He has football and his professional life in the right perspective,” Householder says. “He sees it as a tool. He sees it as a job, but it’s not his life.”

“What inspires me is my daughter and my wife. I see my daughter growing up every single day and to me that is the most incredible miracle that there could ever be.”

Ask Harbaugh about his coaching legacy. Go ahead. By now, you know the answer won’t be conventional. “I don’t want to have any guile,” he says. “I’m not trying to be shrewd or clever. Make no oaths and have no guile. If I could be remembered for that, that’s probably good.” No guile? What a peculiar response. Most major Bible translations don’t even use the word “guile.” You have to dust off an old King James Version to find it. But with a little more contemplation, Harbaugh’s answer is quite telling. His profession is a breeding ground of vanity, intrigue and crafty speech. It’s a league where getting to—and staying at—the top often requires some deceit, often at others’ expense. Harbaugh wants to avoid this. He wants honesty, fairness and self-sacrifice to mark his life and team. He eschews personal goals and instead reminds his players about “serving one another” and not letting “pride and narcissism get in the way of what we’re trying to accomplish.” It’s not the usual pre-game pep-talk fare. Then again, what did you expect from the NFL head coach who displays “Hello Kitty” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” drawings on his wall? “Any goal I can think of is grass to be burned up,” Harbaugh says. “It doesn’t have value because my imagination is limited. I want to be on God’s plan. So I let him figure out what path it’s going to be, and that opens up the whole spectrum of possibilities that I can’t even dream of or imagine.” Freelance writer Joshua Cooley lives in Germantown, Md. SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2012

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Lesson Learned

SAN FRANCISCO TIGHT END VERNON DAVIS TOOK WHAT HE LEARNED IN 2008 AND BEGAN A TRANSFORMATION ON AND OFF THE FIELD BY BRETT HONEYCUTT

CLICK HERE Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

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SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2013

to watch Vernon Davis talk about art and football...


V

ernon Davis had just made a seven-yard catch, and after being tackled he slapped the helmet of a Seattle Seahawks defender that resulted in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. Normally that would be the end of the story, with a few mentions on ESPN that day or in the sports section the following day. But for Davis it was only the beginning. As he walked to the sideline on that Oct. 26, 2008, day at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, with his team headed to a humiliating 34-13 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks and a dismal 2-6 record, newly appointed head coach Mike Singletary, a Hall of Fame player, benched Davis. After thinking a little, though, Singletary went over to Davis and kicked him off the field. At some point Davis demanded to be traded and Singletary bluntly said he would oblige. After the game, Singletary stood at the podium in the press conference and let his frustration with the former No. 6 overall pick be known to everyone in a now infamous rant. “Vernon is just…It was something that I told everybody at the very beginning of the week. I will not tolerate players that think it’s about them, when it’s about the team,” Singletary said. “And we can not make, we can not make decisions that cost the team and then come off the sidelines and be nonchalant. No. You know what? This is how I believe, I’m from the old school, I believe this: I would rather play with 10 people and just get penalized all the way until we gotta do something else, rather than play with 11 when I know that right now that person is not sold out to be a part of this team. It is more about them than it is about the team. Can not play with them, can not win with them, can not coach with them, can not do it. I want winners. I want people that want to win.” It looked as if Davis would be one of those high-priced draft picks that just didn’t pan out. Someone whose ego was bigger than his helmet. But that was then. Fast forward to this season: Davis is in the Super Bowl, and he has acknowledged how much that incident paved the way for his success as a person. “I came in with the attitude to catch balls and get statistics and things like that,” he said at Super Bowl Media Day this week. “I didn’t care about the team. I was about Vernon, always but now I could care less about catching balls and getting statistics because I understand that Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images

“I didn’t look at it from a team standpoint. I grew. Coach (Mike) Singletary was here, and he helped me make that transition from a boy to a young man. I’m very thankful for that. I thank God for that.”


Trisha Leeper / Getty Images

Artistry in Motion Vernon Davis continues to surprise people, but it’s not only because of his personal transformation from ego-inflated NFL star to team-first, God-honoring player. Davis has an artistic side, but he was reluctant to show that as a child who grew up in Washington, D.C. because he thought people would make fun of him. He revealed that side on Dec. 12 in San Jose where he opened Gallery 85 (a nod to his jersey number) to help support the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts, which promotes arts education and art appreciation for at-risk youth. At the invitation-only event, where Davis wore a salmon-col54

SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2013

ored sports coat, he talked about his love for art while showcasing some of his own work and the works of other artists from that area, including youth. One in particular, Niyjale Cummings, was the recipient of the Vernon Davis Visual Arts Scholarship – another way that Davis is showing his love for the arts. “This is something I’ve been building toward for years,” Davis told the San Jose Mercury News. “Speaking for the 49ers, we’re proud to be part of one of America’s future cities.” - BRETT HONEYCUTT


Michael Zagaris / Getty Images

the team is much bigger.” “I didn’t look at it from a team standpoint,” he told USA Today. “I grew. Coach (Mike) Singletary was here, and he helped me make that transition from a boy to a young man. I’m very thankful for that. I thank God for that.” But events in Davis’ life, on or off the field, aren’t just by chance, he says. God orchestrates everything. When asked about luck on Tuesday at Super Bowl media day, Davis said the team’s success can’t be tied to something as trivial as that. “I don’t think that this is a game of luck,” Davis said. “I don’t really believe in luck, I

believe in God. I believe that He’s always the way, He’s the answer, so prayer is important to me. So as far as luck, it doesn’t really stick to me.” That faith in Christ has been a huge part of his transformation. “My faith as far as keeping me focused kind of works hand-in-hand,” said Davis at Super Bowl Media Day. ”When I’m playing the game my faith is what keeps me going, keeps me humble, it makes me a leader. As far as off of the field I can stay away from the negativity that life brings you and that transforms me into a leader as well because I can go back and implement what I do off of the field to my teammates.”

“I want people to remember that I was a man of God, I was a leader and that I was dedicated to this game. I also want them to remember that I gave this game everything that I had as a tight end. I gave it everything. I gave it my all.” Brett Honeycutt is the managing editor at Sports Spectrum magazine.

SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2012

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ANOTHER ANGLE

BY STEPHEN COPELAND

OPINION

stephen.copeland@sportsspectrum.com | Follow @steve_copeland

Life is a hard drive

C

igarette smoke sunk into my skin like cologne. I was in a random man’s garage—I think his name was Bob—and I had just met him. Bob had wrinkles in his face like he had been tanning and smoking for decades and an unbuttoned shirt that revealed his skinny, almost sickly, chest and stature. I’ve never met a mass-murderer, but if I ever do, I imagine him looking like Bob. Part of me wondered if I was right, if Bob was going to kill me, if I had naively wandered into his trap. Bob supposedly ran a data recovery business for damaged hard drives...out of his garage…in the middle of nowhere. Also, I found him on the Internet. The scene was as sketchy as a drug deal. But I was too stressed to fear anything. Jumping out of a plane would have felt lackluster because I was so consumed in my anxiety, numb to every other feeling. All I could think about was my crashed hard drive—all the files, projects, articles, interviews, and books, that I had lost. I felt like a part of me had died. My computer was my life. And I lost it. Bob was my last, desperate attempt to recover the data. He could have ran his business out of a big white van, blasting ice cream music, and I still would have hopped in. I’m not saying I was smart, but Bob was all I had left. After doing who-knows-what to my hard drive with the equipment in his garage and using computer terminology that was as foreign as ancient Greek, Bob walked toward me. He lit a cigarette. His dog eerily followed him around and stood at his feet. “Can’t do it,” he said in a raspy voice. “It’s dead.” I hung my head and felt like Charlie Brown. “I’ve killed it,” I thought to myself. Bob went on to tell me that if I wanted to get my hard drive repaired, I’d have to potentially shell out thousands to send it to a data recovery plant. In case you’re wondering, most writers don’t have thousands of dollars lying around. They have Ramen noodles lying around or a ton of emotional issues or likely both. I never recovered the data on my hard drive, but I learned a valuable lesson that week: Life is hard. That week I had been reading about Paul and his persecution in the Bible, you know, like many Christians do when they face a trial of any kind and write it off as persecution—even though they aren’t getting martyred or stoned or imprisoned for their faith. But it’s not persecution—it’s far from it—it’s life. And life can be hard. That’s normal. That was a year ago. Fast forward to last weekend, two days before I was supposed to leave for New Orleans to cover the Super Bowl for Sports Spectrum, our biggest opportunity to gather content every year. My computer crashed. Again. I turned it off and on, off and on, called the Apple store, pulled out my hair, took it to the Apple store, confirmed it was dead, turned it off and on, blared angry punk rock, called a tech hotline, took it to the Apple store again, called another tech hotline, turned it off and on, prayed, screamed, all the while slowly recalling crucial interviews for upcoming stories, documents, and

important emails I had lost. The same feelings I felt a year before standing in Bob’s garage, wondering if he was going to kill me and not really caring if he did, started to return. Now, I had done better with backing up my files routinely to an external hard drive, but it’s not like I back up my files every day. The last time I backed them up was probably before Christmas. By the way, if an Apple-nut is reading this, no, I don’t use iCloud. Yes, I know I should, but there’s something frightening to me about some of my unpublished and uncensored writings and thoughts floating around somewhere for the government to potentially access. I’d probably be labeled a security threat. Remember those emotional issues I talked about earlier? Once again, I found myself in my car driving to meet someone I found on the Internet, this time, to purchase a computer so I could do my job down in New Orleans. I suggested we meet at a Panera Bread, not in a garage that very well could have been a torture chamber. There’s something comforting and safe about Panera Bread; that’s a fact. Right when I sat down at Panera, I learned another lesson. The man opened his computer, and his desktop background read, “God is in Control.” If God doesn’t have a sense of humor, neither does Chevy Chase or Will Ferrell. I ended up buying the computer, stopping at a Best Buy on the way to New Orleans, and successfully recovering data from my old computer, which was now unusable. But even if I wouldn’t have been able to recover my data, the truths from my two computer experiences still apply: 1) Life is hard, and 2) God is in control. Hockey star Rocco Grimaldi recently told me, “Life is life, and God is still good in the midst of it.” At Media Day in New Orleans, I asked John Harbaugh about the crazy year he has had as the Baltimore Ravens head coach. “The biggest thing I’ve learned faith-wise is that God is in the driver’s seat,” he said. “That is what faith is. It’s the belief in the things that are unseen, that are uncertain, that we can’t be sure about.” Driving, I think, is synonymous with life. It’s rarely perfect. There’s weather, traffic, potholes, tragedy, and inconveniences. Also, Kesha is on the radio. Faith is about having God in the driver’s seat, as Harbaugh said, on this sometimes hard and sometimes joyful road of life. Life is life, and God is still good in the midst of it. He’s Stephen Copeland is a staff still in control. writer and columnist at Sometimes it takes a Sports Spectrum magazine. desktop background to His column tackles sports remind you. and faith from another

“If God doesn’t have a sense of humor, neither does Chevy Chase or Will Ferrell.”

angle, whether it’s humorous, personal or controversial. SPORTS SPECTRUM ~ DIGIMAG 2012

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February 2013 DigiMag