Spring 2021 Magazine

10 years later: Colt McCoy's witness for Christ heard 'round the world

Colt McCoy was one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in University of Texas football history. He racked up numerous awards and set multiple school records. He was a two-time first-team All-American and a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist.

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Ten years ago today, though, McCoy was dealt one of the biggest blows in his career — on one of the biggest stages — and he used it as a platform to share his faith with a national audience.

During Texas’ first offensive drive against Alabama in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, McCoy took a hit that left his throwing arm with no feeling. He left the game, and it was the last snap he ever played in a Texas uniform. Alabama went on to win, 37-21.

After Texas was left out of the 2009 title game, McCoy decided to come back to Texas for his senior season. He talked about how badly he wanted to win that game his senior year — and instead he was taken out not long after it started.

McCoy told pastor Matt Carter of Austin Stone Church in 2012 that in that moment, he feared the injury was career-threatening. He didn’t know if he’d ever be able to play football again. He couldn’t feel anything from his neck down on his right side.

It was a crushing end to a great career, and while McCoy could’ve stayed in the locker room, he returned to the field after the game to speak with ESPN’s Lisa Salters, who asked what it was like to watch his last game as a Longhorn from the sideline.

“I love this game. I have a passion for this game,” McCoy said, holding back tears. “I’ve done everything I can to contribute to my team, and we’ve made it this far. It’s unfortunate I didn’t get to play. I’d have given everything I had to be out there with my team. But congratulations to Alabama. I love the way our team fought. Garrett Gilbert stepped in and played as good as he could play. He did a tremendous job.”

And with a national audience watching, McCoy shifted his comments toward God.

“I always give God the glory,” he said. “I never question why things happen the way they do. God is in control of my life and I know, if nothing else, I’m standing on the rock.”

McCoy was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft and has continued to have a steady career — mostly as a backup quarterback — that also includes a stint with the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins, where he’s been since 2014.

In the interview with Matt Carter, McCoy opened up about how he dealt with all the “why me?” type of questions for several years following that loss to Alabama.

“For me in my job, if you lose enough games, you lose your job. That’s a fact,” he said. “So for me, I’m not content with losing. But I am content in knowing that God is on the throne.” 

McCoy said the disappointment in losing was real, and it was tough. But he felt God showed him something in that moment.

“I don’t want to say that’s why that happened,” McCoy said, “but for me in my case, selfishly, I think in its own way I realized that if all that stuff was taken away — if football was gone, if my dreams were gone, everything I own, everything I had, everything I worked for was taken away — what I learned is that God has to be enough for me. Jesus has to be enough for me.

“Up until that point, I don’t think I could say that. I can say that now. I believe that now. I still want to play great. I still want to win games. That’s my job. I want to win a Super Bowl. But if that never happens, I’m OK. That’s what I learned through all this.”

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