Heisman Trophy winners Sam Bradford of the University of Oklahoma and Tim Tebow of Florida will be facing off Thursday at the Bowl Championship Series national title game.
In the days leading up to the big game, the 2008 and 2007 Heisman winners, respectively, have been highlighted by the media as having little in common aside from having been the only college sophomores to win the coveted football trophy.
One Christian ministry, however, is quick to point out that – in addition to being great players on great teams – they are believers of a great God.
"The key things I've learned are patience, perseverance and trusting God," says Bradford in a video interview on BeyondTheUltimate.org, a site developed by Athletes in Action, the sports ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. "Everything that God does He's doing for a reason. He has a purpose and we need to trust Him and know that His plan is the right way."
"I found true satisfaction, true happiness,” adds Tebow, “and it is not by having your name in a newspaper, it is not by winning trophies, and it is not by winning championships.”
“It is by having a relationship with Jesus Christ," the son of missionaries says.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Tebow said he wanted to influence as many people as he can with the platform that the game of football has given to him.
And that, he said, is “because that's gonna mean so much more when it's all said and done than just playing football and winning championships.”
The same AP article failed, however, to mention the faith of Bradford, noting the 6-foot-3, 218-pound right-hander only as a registered Cherokee just before diving into Tebow’s roots. More than that, however, Bradford is noted for being actively involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and reportedly outspoken about his faith.
Bradford and Tebow are also among the college football stars who are sharing personal and encouraging stories about their faith through BeyondTheUltimate.org, which Athletes in Action developed originally as a platform for Super Bowl XLI coaches Tony Dungy, Lovie Smith and their players to share the important role that faith in Jesus Christ has played in their lives.
College football players joining Bradford and Tebow to share their stories of faith at BeyondTheUltimate.org include:
• Orion Martin, Virginia Tech defensive end
• James Laurinaitis, Ohio State linebacker
• Glen Coffee, Alabama running back
• Freddie Brown, Utah wide receiver
• Chazz Anderson, Cincinnati quarterback
• John Gold, Texas punter
• Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State tackle