Super Bowl LV champion and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady shared a heartfelt message to Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson during the 22nd-annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration televised on BET Saturday night.
The virtual production kicked off with a dynamic prayer led by Pastor Mike Todd and was hosted by television and radio personality Rickey Smiley.
In between musical performances, Watson was presented this year’s “Faith In Action Award” by retired NFL running back Warrick Dunn, a man of faith who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons during his career.
Dunn had been a big inspiration to Watson as a child. Watson grew up as the son of a courageous cancer survivor. As a kid, Watson and his mother were provided housing through one of Dunn’s philanthropic initiatives.
Watson has since followed in those footsteps and is now one of the NFL’s youngest humanitarians.
He works passionately to support families and youth in underserved communities through his charitable foundation. In partnership with other groups, the Deshaun Watson Foundation provides rent and mortgage assistance to struggling families, college scholarships to deserving students and aid to families confronted with life-changing medical situations.
"This is one of my favorite awards that I've been able to receive in my lifetime,” the former Clemson University standout said during the presentation.
“My mom, she'd definitely enjoy it because this is what we live about. This is what she prays us kids on, is having that faith in action and standing tall for what we believe in and helping people around in the community.”
Watson, 25, went on to thank and bless everyone and said he would certainly celebrate being honored in that way.
Super Bowl LV MVP and seven-time champion, Tom Brady, congratulated his young peer.
“Deshawn, congratulations on receiving this year's faith in action award,” the 43-year-old said. “Your continued dedication to providing resources to the underserved communities makes a huge difference in improving the lives of so many, especially for the next generation.”
“I know this past year has been more challenging than most,” Brady added. “It's been challenging for everyone, but the work you're doing ensures a bright future for everybody. Again, congratulations on this special honor and keep up the great work both on and off the field.”
Dak Prescott, the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, also sent in a congratulatory video.
“I want to send a huge congratulations to Deshaun Watson on his well-deserved honor,” Prescott said. “You're a true champion that stands up for everything you believe in, on and off the field. And it doesn't go without notice. Keep inspiring me and so many others around the league being the leader that you are!”
Throughout the event, other NFL players also made appearances. Those include Desean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jacoby Brissett of the Indianapolis Colts, Teddy Bridgewater of the Carolina Panthers, Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, Odell Beckham Jr. of the Cleveland Browns and hall-of-fame wide receiver Cris Carter.
Beckham encouraged viewers to remember “our faith can move mountains.”
In line with Watson’s honor, The American Cancer Society, in collaboration with the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, also highlighted the need to eliminate barriers to prevention and treatment in the black community. Those watching were encouraged to make donations to help.
The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration is the only inspirational concert sanctioned by the NFL. The event first began in the lead-up to Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami.
This year’s celebration featured performances by the NFL Players Choir with Erica Campbell, Voices of Fire presented by Pharrell Williams, PJ Morton with Zacardi Cortez and Darrel Walls, Koryn Hawthorne, as well as gospel music pioneer John P. Kee featuring Kierra Sheard.