Peyton Manning – a missed opportunity

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Peyton Manning is probably a good guy. He is certainly a great football player and one of the stars of Super Bowl 50. On Sunday night he won his second Super Bowl and his 200th career NFL game. What makes his Super Bowl victory even more remarkable is the fact that he walked into Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA after an injury-riddled season in which he threw a career-low nine touchdowns with 17 interceptions.

Manning did not have a superlative performance on Sunday evening, but he “managed” the game and the Bronco defense did the rest and were primarily responsible for the win over the highly touted Carolina Panthers.

After the 24-10 Bronco win the cameras immediately went to Manning. Some reporters wanted to know if the Denver quarterback, who will be 40 in March, had played his last NFL game. He explained that Tony Dungy, who had coached him when he played for the Indianapolis Colts, had counseled him never to make an emotional decision.

So Manning said, with the world watching, “This has been a very emotional week and an emotional night. I have a couple of my priorities in order. I want to go kiss my wife, kiss my kids. I want to go celebrate with my family. And I am going to drink a lot of beer tonight – Budweiser. Those are my priorities at this time. I will take some time to reflect on the other. I am going to say a prayer and a ‘thank you’ to the man upstairs for this opportunity as well.”

In a post-game interview to Super Bowl 50, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's comments on beer and God caught the attention of evangelicals. Screen grab cbssports.com In a post-game interview to Super Bowl 50, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's comments on beer and God caught the attention of evangelicals. Screen grab cbssports.com

Anheuser-Busch spent about $15 million for Super Bowl advertisements this year to promote its beer, but may have gotten a freebie from the Bronco’s quarterback. Manning’s first mention of planning to drink a lot of Budweiser to celebrate his Super Bowl victory came in a post-game interview with CBS’s Tracy Wolfson. Shortly thereafter on the winner’s podium the five-time National Football League MVP again brought up the popular brew, saying, “What’s weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth.”

Some news outlets reported that Manning was paid handsomely for his Budweiser endorsement, but Budweiser said it had no part in the impromptu promo. Nonetheless, marketing experts noted Manning gave the beer barons from St. Louis two separate endorsements, benefitting the beer maker to the tune of $3.2 million for those two mentions.

I liked it far better when the winning Super Bowl quarterbacks announced, “I’m going to Disney World.” Manning could have said a lot of other things that would have made him a more noble role model for the millions of young people watching the game. It is a shame when the heroes of America’s youth squander an opportunity to say something positive and wholesome.

I must also confess that Manning’s reference to “the man upstairs” was disappointing. Supposedly this is a reference to God, but does it reflect the respect and reverence we are to have for the One who is the Sovereign of the universe, the One in whom we live and move and have our being – the Creator, the Sustainer, and our Redeemer through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ?

Kyle Butt, who writes for Apologetics Press says, “Most of the time, when a person uses such phrases (like the man upstairs), that person attributes to God more power than other men, and places God higher (upstairs) than other men, but still views God as some kind of giant, powerful Man.

“In fact, the Greek and Roman religions took the 'Man upstairs' idea to its logical conclusion and attributed to their gods personalities and character flaws that were seen in mere men. The pagan deities lied, cheated, stole, consorted, and murdered like 'little' humans, only their dastardly deeds were perceived to be on a cosmic scale.

"In truth, the Bible paints a very different picture of God than is contained in the thought of 'the Man upstairs.' The Bible repeatedly insists that God is not a man.”

It is possible that Manning used his euphemism for God as an expression of intimacy or affection rather than disrespect and only he would know that. But as a general rule our attitude toward God will be reflected in our description of Him.

The Psalmist said, “”O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth” (Psalm 8:9). The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty. The Lord is clothed with strength ... Thy throne is established of old; thou art from everlasting” (Psalm 93: 1-2). Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great, thou art clothed with honor and majesty” (Psalm 104:1).

alcohol, athletes, beer, role model, sports, Super Bowl, witness

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