Last month’s edition of Sports Illustrated featured an article about one of the worst decisions ever made in a major sporting event. It was Super Bowl XLIX (49). The New England Patriots were playing the Seattle Seahawks. It was the final seconds of the contest. The Seahawks were on the one-yard line. It was second and goal. Coach Pete Carroll called for a pass play from quarterback Russell Wilson. With three downs to run it in from the one-yard line the call was made to pass, and the call came from the coach. The head coach, Coach Carroll.
The ball was snapped, Wilson dropped back, fired the pass, and it was caught by Malcolm Butler, cornerback for the New England Patriots. Intercepted. Game over. Patriots guaranteed a four-point win. But not just a win, this was the Super Bowl! Many regarded Coach Carroll’s decision as the single worst decision in Super Bowl history. No argument here. I was wondering why they didn’t run it in with a running back like Marshawn Lynch, who already had over 100 yards rushing in the game, including a touchdown.
The SI feature article said, “A gutsy coaching call cost his Seahawks a ring at Super Bowl XLIX, but Pete Carroll isn’t sweating it. Instead he’s using lessons he learned from the defeat – and counsel from visiting rappers, dancers and Army officers – to boost his team’s chances for a return to the top.”1 While I wouldn’t recommend getting counsel from “rappers” and “dancers,” (the Army would be awesome), I do recommend people not get caught up in their defeats.
Too often we treat a single decision with way too much importance. We may have just made our biggest mistake. But it doesn’t have to be our last, unless we decide to let it be our last. We don’t have to sign the death certificate on our future, and no one else has the authority or ability to do it for us. That’s our call.
So is the decision to move on, learn from our mistakes, try again, do better, give it another shot. Pete Carroll decided he wasn’t going to let that single decision at the Super Bowl in February, define his destiny or the destiny of his team. In fact, they just finished the preseason and are gearing up for the their first game on Sunday, September 13.
As we gear up for the fall, football and all, is there something you need to leave behind? A decision you need to forget? A mistake you need to move on from and move forward?
As Christians, we serve the most forgiving Person of all. I don’t have any rappers or dancers to give you advice. But I can tell you what the Bible says, and it’s the best counsel of all. Romans 8:1, says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
You know what those verses mean? That this fall is a new season, and like a football team with renewed faith, hope and determination to get back to the Super Bowl, you and I have even more reason to have renewed faith, hope and determination for our future.
Don’t miss kick-off or the opportunity to win it all this fall!
© 2015. Barry L. Cameron
1 Greg Bishop. “Who’s Moved On? This Guy,” Sports Illustrated, 3 Aug. 2015: 41-47.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.