Summer 2024

49ers star Christian McCaffrey says his faith in Christ is 'the most important thing in my life'

LAS VEGAS — Among the many entertaining aspects of Opening Night at the Super Bowl — when hundreds of media members have access to all the players and coaches participating in the game — are the interesting, sometimes off-the-wall questions the teams receive. Some are related to the game, some aren’t; the players laugh at some, they cringe at others.

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But they always enjoy getting questions from kid reporters. On Monday night, a young kid, who was with former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, got the chance to ask questions to players on both the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs. When he got to 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey, the kid asked if there was a teacher McCaffrey is grateful for from his younger days.

“Yes, there is,” McCaffrey said. “I had a math teacher, Mr. Scott, who I still stay in touch with to this day. He was a great influence in my life and gave me a couple second chances that I really appreciated, so I was always thankful for him.”

Mr. Scott would be Riley Scott, who is still teaching at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, where McCaffrey attended and led his team to state championships each of his four years there. Scott had McCaffrey as a freshman in Honors Algebra 1 and again as a senior in Precalculus, and also taught McCaffrey’s three brothers (Max, Dylan and Luke, all of whom attended Valor and went on to play Division I college football).

“One of the things I respected most about Christian, and all of the McCaffrey boys, was that they did not expect any special type of attention or treatment,” Scott told Sports Spectrum. “They were all pretty low key within the walls of Valor. Obviously they had a lot of success in the athletic arena, but having worked with Christian in multiple classes, I was always impressed that he never brought attention to himself, asked for any special favors, or expected anything more than his classmates.”

Scott said Christian was and remains competitive with everything, even in “Mathketball” (a review game played in math class) and ping-pong. “The dude always wants to win and absolutely hates to lose,” Scott said.

But the teacher is most proud of the man of God that McCaffrey has become.

“I appreciate seeing him achieve success on the field, but more importantly, I love seeing him continue to pursue and grow in his faith, use his gifts and abilities to honor our Creator, and develop into the fine young man and soon-to-be husband that he is today,” Scott said. “To me personally, that’s more meaningful than any accolade or championship he’s a part of.”

Minutes after the kid reporter on Monday, Sports Spectrum asked McCaffrey how important his faith in Christ is to him.

“It means everything to me,” McCaffrey said. “My faith has gotten me where I am in life and through all the ups and downs when I rely on God. Anytime I’m having a tough day or having a bad time in my life, I just get back to getting in the Word — it’s got all the answers. So it’s the most important thing in my life and it’s something that I know I’ll always have to lean back on and to make a priority.”

When asked if there was a particular Bible verse that’s been speaking to him lately, McCaffrey — who often posts Bible verses on Instagram — said Jeremiah 29:11, which reads, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”

The NFC-champion 49ers acquired McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers in October 2022, returning him to the Bay Area, where he was a collegiate All-American at Stanford. He’s been incredible on the field since joining the team. McCaffrey rushed for a league-leading and career-high 1,459 yards this season, while also catching 67 passes for 564 receiving yards. He totaled 21 touchdowns (14 rushing, seven receiving) to tie for the league lead among non-quarterbacks.

McCaffrey’s MVP-caliber play is a big reason why San Francisco is back in the Super Bowl, going for the franchise’s sixth championship, which would tie them with the Steelers and Patriots for the most in NFL history. Super Bowl LVIII with the Niners and Chiefs kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday.

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