Super Bowl LVIII: Inside Sin City’s Christian Quarterback Duel
News Story by Clemente Lisi | Religion Unplugged
The Feb. 11 Super Bowl showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers may be contested at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas — known as Sin City — but it will feature two very pious quarterbacks.
Patrick Mahomes, who will attempt to win a second straight Super Bowl, faces off against Brock Purdy. While both men have superb throwing skills and running abilities, the quarterbacks are also practicing Christians not afraid to talk about their faith.
Brock Purdy’s Testimony
“Honestly, I think it’s just a testament to God and where He’s taken me in life,” Purdy told reporters following Sunday’s win against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship. “I’ve never been the biggest, the fastest, the strongest, or any of that. I feel like I’ve always had to sort of fight for what I get and work for what I get. But God’s always given me an opportunity, whether that was in high school, college and then obviously in the NFL.”
In fact, Purdy, who is an evangelical, credited God for getting him this far this season.
“Getting drafted last, people overlook you and all that kind of stuff, and then all you need is an opportunity and watch and see what He does. I put my faith and trust in Him and He’s gotten me where I’m at,” he added.
Religion and football have been a talking point for years, especially in the NFL. Quarterbacks get all the love and attention in football. It’s no surprise that ones who are openly Christian — like Nick Foles, Jalen Hurts and C.J. Stroud — often stand out even more.
Down to the Lions 24-7 at halftime, Purdy, 24, said he reflected on his faith while in the locker room.
“So when I’m down 17 at half, honestly, I’m just thinking, ‘All right God, You’ve taken me here, and win or lose I’m going to glorify You.’ That’s my peace, that’s the joy, that’s the steadfastness. That’s where I get it from,” he said. “And that’s the honest truth. So I leaned into that and sure enough, we were able to come back.”
The 49ers did come back, defeating the Lions 34-31. The victory set up the Super Bowl matchup against the Chiefs.
Patrick Mahomes’ Faith
While Kansas City gets lots of attention for Travis Kelce’s romance with singer Taylor Swift, it’s Mahomes, 28, who remains the star. He’s also been unafraid to talk about his faith and display his Christianity before the start of each game.
Mahomes, an evangelical Christian, bends on one knee before kickoff and says a prayer.
“My Christian faith plays a role in everything that I do,” he said. “I always ask God to lead me in the right direction and let me be who I am for His name. So it has a role in everything that I do.”
Last year, NFL analyst Michael Irvin didn’t hold back in his praise of Mahomes.
“Patrick Mahomes is basically God playing quarterback,” he said.
At the time, Irwin added that Mahomes was a “phenomenal, phenomenal talent.”
While the comment may have been seen as blasphemous, it was yet another example of how the language of football and faith are so closely tied together.
The Game’s Significance
The Super Bowl consistently attracts one of the largest TV audiences in the United States. Advertisers pay significant amounts for commercial slots during the game, leading to the creation of high-budget, entertaining commercials. The halftime show also features top musical acts, further adding to the spectacle.
The game — seen last year by a U.S. television audience of 115 million — is a cultural event as much as a sporting one. Many people who might not regularly watch football tune in for the game, the halftime show and the commercials. Super Bowl parties are very common, creating a social aspect around the event.
Super Bowl LVIII is a rematch of Super Bowl LIV played in 2020. Both teams are in top form, although Mahomes may have the edge after his exhilarating performance in Sunday’s 17-10 win against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship.
The game, however, goes beyond the quarterbacks. If the 49ers want to win their first Super Bowl in 29 years, they’ve got to do it on the ground with help from Christian McCaffrey. At the same time, the Chiefs — in their fourth Super Bowl in five years — features a defense that can pick up the slack should the offense stall.
‘He Gets Us’ Ads Return
Off the field, there will be plenty of religion to see as well. The religious brand platform “He Gets Us” said it plans to return to the Super Bowl. The ads — a campaign to promote Jesus and Christianity — sparked a lot of buzz and some controversy last year and are sure to do so again this time.
Bill McKendry, founder and chief creative officer at BrandHaven, confirmed that “He Gets Us” plans to advertise during the game, but that the organization was “waiting for a final cut of the commercials before doing any interviewing.”
At the same time, amid increasing reports of antisemitism since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will help give the issue airtime during the game through his Foundation to Combat Antisemitism.
The Super Bowl’s significance goes beyond a football game. It has evolved into a cultural event that captures the attention of a broad audience in the United States and around the world.
Seeing two openly Christian quarterbacks take the field — in Las Vegas no less — can certainly serve as an evangelizing tool on such a large stage as the Super Bowl. The notion isn’t lost on some of the players.
“Obviously, we’ll be on that huge stage in the Super Bowl that He’s given me,” Mahomes said before last year’s title game, “and I want to make sure I’m glorifying Him while I do it.”
Clemente Lisi is the executive editor of Religion Unplugged. He previously served as deputy head of news at the New York Daily News and a longtime reporter at The New York Post. Follow him on X @ClementeLisi.