THE STEELERS ARE WAITING FOR NEXT YEAR, BUT IT WAS STILL A GREAT SUPER BOWL!

by David Sisler

During Super Bowl XXXIV there were two really good commercials and two great celebrity interviews. Oh, and a good game, too.

The "If They Are Smart Enough to Come Up With This Idea and Have Enough Guts to Risk Their Money on This Ad, I May Just Give Them Some of Mine to Invest Award" goes to E*trade and their great spot with the chimpanzee and two goobers listening to music. "We just wasted $2 million bucks. What are you doing with your money?"

The "Thank Goodness for Forrest Gump Technology Award" goes to Federal Express for their updated version of the Wizard of Oz. Out of loyalty to my son-in-law, Jack, I only wish the Wicked Witch of the East had been squashed by a large brown truck.

One celebrity interview was great because it did not happen. It did not happen because those who are mentoring Jane Fonda in her new-found faith in Jesus Christ have, so far, managed to keep her out of the limelight (and this venue was ready-made for crass self-promotion ask John Elway about his sneaky "dot com" puffery). It won't happen for a long time yet if Christians have the sensibility to allow Jane to grow in the faith before making her the headliner for a television show or revival crusade. The Apostle Paul spent three years in virtual seclusion, nurturing his personal relationship with Jesus before venturing into the public arena. To Christians everywhere pray for Jane Fonda. Do not try to recruit her for your brand or branch!

And then there was the celebrity interview which did happen. I watched the entire game (and I have never watched an entire game, not even Super Bowls IX, X, XIII and XIV when the Steelers were the team of the 70s, missing six straight Super Bowl appearances by only two games) because I knew "it" was coming.

You've read about Kurt Warner. You've heard his incredible story. It is one worth repeating if only to challenge each of us to believe in ourselves and not allow our dreams to be shelved (even if for a time we are paid to stock shelves).

Kurt Warner prints his own trading cards. It is not because he has an incredible ego which needs stroking, or because Topps, Fleer, or Upper Deck have not come up with enough cash to sign him to an exclusive that would make Tiger Woods jealous. When someone asks him for his autograph, he wants something worthwhile to give to them, a witness that may make an eternal difference in that person's life. Kurt Warner's trading cards do not feature his professional football statistics, but rather the story of how he came to Christianity.

Kurt became a Christian watching Christians deal with tragedy. Lloyd Abbott, the preacher who performed the wedding ceremony for Bonnie and me more than 31 years ago, said he did his best ministry at a funeral. Ben Haden, national speaker for Changed Lives, said, "God goes to great length to afflict people he loves it would be a tragedy if that affliction were wasted." Kurt and Brenda were still dating when Brenda's parents were killed by a tornado. A writer for Religion Today said Kurt watched her deal with that tragedy, and others, with poise and grace, not self-pity. Her testimony showed him "what was really important in life."

You know the rest of the story. Kurt Warner is the MVP for the 1999 NFL season, the Super Bowl MVP, the owner of the Super Bowl record for passing yardage, and he will be the starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl Game (If only Dan Rooney could trade Kordell Stewart, Mike Tomzack, along with Terry Bradshaw's jersey for Kurt Warner). When the post game microphone was handed to Kurt he said, "First things first. I have to give praise and glory to my Lord and Savior up above! Thank you, Jesus!"

I waited throughout the entire game for that. It was a great Super Bowl.

Follow-up:

One raindrop is hardly noticed, but enough of them will produce a flood.

In my column of January 22, commenting about the rumor that Madalyn Murray O'Hair was not behind Federal Communications Commission petition RM-2493, and the FCC's December ruling against a Christian television station in Pittsburgh, I asked, "If evangelical Christians can get worked up over a hoax, can we mount equal enthusiasm against the real thing?"

On January 28, the FCC rescinded its earlier unconstitutional ruling restricting religious expression on noncommercial education TV stations. Legislation, written within days of the original ruling, by Representative Mike Oxley (R-OH) was a large rain drop. So, too, were your letters, your prayers, and those of concerned citizens from around the nation. The FCC was flooded with outraged response and reversed itself.

-30-

Published in The Augusta Chronicle 2/5/2000

Copyright 2000 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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