Thousands upon thousands of people will head to Miami next month to celebrate Super Bowl LIV. Many events will be featured on South Beach this year, but only one will intersect sports and faith: Athletes in Action’s annual Super Bowl Breakfast, held the day before the Super Bowl (Feb. 1 this year).
The big names and their stories will bring people to the event, but organizers of the Super Bowl Breakfast hope those in attendance will leave with an understanding of who God is and what the Gospel is all about.
“If we can put on an event at the Super Bowl — and we do them at the Final Four and NBA All-Star Weekend as well — and have some of the top names in the NFL come, we’ll attract people who maybe never will attend church and really aren’t interested in the spiritual things,” Terry Bortz, director of the Super Bowl Breakfast, told Sports Spectrum. “But they’ll come because they’re going to see their heroes up on the stage and they’re going to hear stories that they would never hear anywhere else. It’s just been amazing to me what God does every year.”
Bortz described it as an awards ceremony with an inspirational message. The big award given out each year at the breakfast is the Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award — an honor voted on by players for a player who exemplifies exceptional integrity, character and leadership, both on and off the field. This year’s winner is New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, making it the first time two brothers have won the award, as Eli’s older brother Peyton took the honor in 2015.
NFL players have voted Eli Manning as the 2020 Bart Starr Award Winner! Mrs. Starr called to personally congratulate him 👏
— New York Giants (@Giants) January 4, 2020
Peyton will be in attendance, along with Tony Dungy, Derrick Brooks, Anthony Munoz, Jerry Kramer, James Brown and members of the late Bart Starr’s family, including his wife Cherry and son Bart Jr.
Akbar Gbajabiamila, co-host of American Ninja Warrior, will emcee the event.
The first hour will include interviews, some humor, and highlights on a big screen. Then someone from the program, who Bortz said has yet to be determined, will give their testimony, share the Gospel, and people will have an opportunity to respond.
They’ll fill out a comment card and get some follow up information with videos from Tony Dungy and other people. They’ll also have a chance to connect with local ministries if they’re interested or have questions.
There’s a box on the comment card where people can check if they made a decision upon hearing the Gospel, and event organizers can follow up with them and make sure they’re plugged in.
Bortz said the faith aspect of this event is what makes it unique.
“It varies city to city what the response is,” Bortz said, “but we also hear stories of people who invited unbelieving friends and went and had breakfast or lunch with them a week or two later and said, ‘What’d you think about what you heard at the Super Bowl Breakfast?’ And they’ll actually pray to receive Christ a few weeks later. So we love to hear stories like that. We know we’re planting a lot of seeds. We know that God is working in the people that are sitting in that room. Some will respond that day and some will respond down the road. But it’s just a unique thing — using the platform of sports to change lives.”
This year’s Super Bowl Breakfast will take place at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Fla. The event is open to the public and tickets can be purchased at www.superbowlbreakfast.com while tickets last.
— Jaguars’ Calais Campbell accepts prestigious Bart Starr Award at Super Bowl Breakfast
— Eugene Robinson sends thanks to coach Dan Reeves for prayer after SB transgression
— Benjamin Watson receives Bart Starr Award at Super Bowl Breakfast, shares Gospel