Top Ten Catholic Heroes of the Super Bowl
in 1961 and went on to earn honors as NFL Rookie of the Year.
He was later traded to Philadelphia, but it was with the Dallas Cowboys that he won his first Super Bowl ring. That was in 1972, in Super Bowl VI, when Ditka caught a seven-yard touchdown pass to seal the Cowboys’ 24-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
His playing career over by the following year, Ditka became an assistant coach for eight years with the Cowboys and won his second Super Bowl ring in 1978. He went on to coach the Bears, whom he led to victory in Super Bowl XIX. Ditka is one of only two individuals ever to have won Super Bowls as a player, an assistant coach, and a head coach.
#6: Joe Jurevicius
Joe Jurevicius has the uncommon distinction of having played in three different Super Bowls with three different teams. In 2000, he was on the losing side with the NewYork Giants; in 2002, he won a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his third game, as a receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, his team was defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-10 in 2006.
Jurevicius has been hobbled by injuries during his career, but he still managed to play with distinction in two of his Super Bowls, taking four passes for 78 yards in the Buccaneers’ victory and five passes for 93 yards in the 2006 game, leading his team in yardage gained both times. His real heroism, however, has been off the field.
In 2003, just days before the Super Bowl, Jurevicius’ wife, Meagan, gave birth one month prematurely to their son, whom they named Michael. Doctors quickly diagnosed Michael with sialidosis, a rare genetic disease that inhibits the body’s ability to break down fasts and carbohydrates. Two months after the Tampa Bay victory, little Michael died.
Today, Jurevicius, now with the Cleveland Browns, dedicates each game to Michael and scrawls a giant “M” in the end zone before each game. Michael provides him with a special motivation to excel, and he thinks of Michael with every touchdown he scores.
Jurevicius dedicated the 2003 Super Bowl to his son. He has told reporters that he looks forward to the day when he can present Michael with the ring himself.
#5: Bob Griese
Quarterback Bob Griese led the Miami Dolphins to nine winning seasons in the 1970s while running an balanced offense that did not require a lot of passing. He was the field general for the celebrated 1972 Dolphin team that went 17-0 and played in three consecutive Super Bowl games.In Super Bowl VI, the Dolphins lost to Roger Staubach’s Cowboys, 24-3. The next year, Miami’s perfect season, Griese was eight for 11 with one touchdown as the Dolphins prevailed over the Washington Redskins, 14-7. The following January, Griese’s arm was needed even less, as he completed six of his seven passes in a 24-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Miami’s head coach of that era, Don Shula (a devout Catholic himself), called Griese “the most unselfish player I have ever been around.” He was content to win, even if it was due largely to a strong running game.
Having lost his first wife to cancer in 1988, Griese has raised funds for Judi’s House, an outreach for grieving children founded by his son, Brian, who presently is an NFL quarterback for the Chicago Bears. Reportedly both Bob and Brian are strong Catholics with devotions to praying the rosary.
#4: Ed McCaffrey
Ed McCaffrey played professional football for 13 years and was three-for-three in the Super Bowls. In Super Bowl XXIX, he caught only a single pass for five yards in the 49ers victory over the San Diego Chargers, 49-26. He was a major factor, however, in the Denver Broncos’ back-to-back Super Bowl victories.
In 1998, he was Denver’s leading receiver with 45 yards on two catches, including a 36-yard gainer, as the Broncos topped the Green Bay Packers 31-24. A year later, he caught five passes for 72 yards as Denver triumphed over the Atlanta Falcons 34-19.
Injuries forced an end to his career a few years later, but not before he set a team record for most receptions in a season (101).
Ed and his wife, Lisa, have been active in Catholic Charities in the Denver archdiocese. Citing the couple’s charitable work, strong faith, and dedication to family life, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver presented the McCaffreys with the J. Francis Cardinal Stafford Award for Justice and Charity. “They give a marvelous witness to families,” the archbishop said.
Today, McCaffrey is involved with the McCaffrey Family Foundation, which assists children with special educational and medical needs in Colorado.
#3: Mark Bavaro
Another Notre Dame graduate, Mark Bavaro was the perfect tight end, one who could catch a pass as well as he could throw a block. In his six NFL seasons with the New York Giants, he set many team records and won two Super Bowl ...
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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