Top Ten Catholic Heroes of the Super Bowl
A favorite receiver of quarterback Phil Simms, Bavaro caught four passes for 51 yards in the 1987 Super Bowl against Denver, including a 13-yard touchdown that put the Giants on top for good. The Giants went on to win that game, 39-20.
Four years later, in Super Bowl XXV, Bavaro caught five passes for 50 yards from quarterback Jeff Hostetler, including two key third-down catches to keep drives alive. The Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills that day, 20-19.
Bavaro was known for his Catholic faith and for his support of the pro-life position. Among the pictures on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s NFL preview issue for the 1987 season was a photo of Bavaro doing his trademark touchdown celebration: Genuflecting in the end zone and making the sign of the cross.
During and after his NFL career, Bavaro has been very active as a member of Life Athletes, a pro-life, pro-abstinence group founded by teammate Chris Godfrey (see #9 above).
#2: Brett Favre
After a spectacular comeback year that saw the Green Bay Packers turn their poor 2006 season into a division-winning 13-3 record in 2007, Brett Favre seemed poised to lead his team to another Super Bowl appearance. A loss to the New York Giants, the eventual NFC champion, ended that dream season. Green Bay no doubt wants him back next fall to try again.
The durable quarterback led the Packers to a Super Bowl fictory in 1997 as they defeated the New England Patriots 35-21. In that game, Favre completed 14 of 27 passes for 246 yard and two touchdowns, including a 54-yard bomb to Andre Rison and an 81-yard catch-and-run to Antonio Freeman. He also ran for a third touchdown.
The following year, the Pack was back. This time, however, it was the year for John Elway to shake the “can’t-win-the-big-one” monkey from his back and rouse the Denver Broncos to victory, 31-24, in Super Bowl XXXII. Despite the loss, Favre’s stats were even more stellar than they were the previous year. He was 25-for-42 passing for 256 yards and three touchdowns against only one interception.
Favre’s Catholicism has been well publicized in recent years. His practice was not so strong in college, when he and his future wife, Deanna, had a child out of wedlock, but before long the Catholic faith began to become a significant part of their lives again.
His faith was renewed and strengthened particularly when Deanna was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and had to undergo four months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She was later declared cancer-free, and the whole experience brought the Favres closer to one another and to their Catholic faith. Family tragedies were perennially arriving at that time: Prior to the cancer diagnosis, Favre lost his father and Deanna lost a brother. When Hurricane Katrina swept over the Gulf Coast in 2005, the Favres’ family home was destroyed.
Since overcoming breast cancer, Deanna has become a spokeswoman for breast cancer prevention. She founded the Deanna Favre HOPE Foundation in 2005, which provides grants for uninsured and underinsured women battling breast cancer.
Brett established the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation in 1996. Since that time, through an annual golf tournament, celebrity softball games, and fundraising dinners, the foundation has donated more than $2 million to charities for disavantaged and underprivileged children in his home state of Mississippi as well as to those in his adopted state of Wisconsin.
The Favres are members of St. Agnes Parish in Green Bay during football season and St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Hattiesburg, Miss., during the off-season. Brett and Deanna both grew up in Kiln, Miss.
#1: Roger Staubach
Roger Staubach took over as quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys in 1971 and rattled off 10 consecutive victories including a 24-3 rout of the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI. The former U.S. Naval Academy star was named the game’s Most Valuable Player as he completed 12 of 19 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
He stayed with the Cowboys through the 1979 season and was a six-time Pro Bowl selection. During those years, he would lead Dalls for three more Super Bowl appearances. In 1978, he guided the Cowboys over the Denver Broncos, 27-10, in Super Bowl XII; but he would also be on the losing side the big game twice, both times to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dalls lost 35-31 in Super Bowl XIII, despite Staubach’s three touchdown passes, and 21-17 in Super Bowl XI, where he threw for two scores but three interceptions.
Staubach’s Catholic faith was evident in one of the best highlight-reel plays in NFL history. In a 1975 playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings, he threw a 50-yard bomb to receiver Drew Pearson in the final seconds to win the game, 17-14. Interviewed after the game, Staubach joked that he had said a Hail Mary just before he threw the ball.
From that point onward, any long desperation pass in an attempt to score in a game’s final seconds would commonly be referred to as a “Hail Mary pass.”
A Hail Mary pass? Perhaps professional football is still a Catholic sport after all.
- - -
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.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Diocese News
- Newman Centers are anchor of faith at public colleges
- A Pinprick to Revive Devotion
- Family celebration: Utah women travel to India to meet with sponsored children
- Deportation of Wis. eighth-grader reveals immigration policy's painful side to class
- Mandatory drug testing to be implemented in Oklahoma City Catholic high schools
- Catechesis of the Good Shepherd ‘hands-on’ religious education gets a look in Texas
- Food versus fuel: Is biofuel production to blame for our present food shortage?
- Spirituality key to the dying patient’s ‘quality of life,’ says Catholic doctor
- Bioethics battle is between contrary visions of the human person, says Rome professor
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?