The Biggest Win: Pro Football Players Tackle Faith
by Joshua Cooley
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Foreword by Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Jordan Hicks, and Chris Maragos.
The Biggest Win gives athletes and sports fans of all ages a unique, insider's look into the lives and faith of six Christian NFL players from the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl team—Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Jordan Hicks, and Chris Maragos. Through the ups and downs of their experiences, author Joshua Cooley shows how these high-profile athletes remain committed to God's Word, genuine Christian discipleship, and sharing their faith. Using their voices and stories, The Biggest Win gives sports-minded readers hope and direction for living out their faith while competing.
The Biggest Win is ideal for pastors, youth, and college leaders to use as a small group resource with students interested in sports. Questions at the end of every chapter will spark helpful conversations about living by faith as an athlete and fan. It is a MUST for coaches to use with every Christian youth sports and school teams. See your youth athletes' faith grow as they hear and learn from the amazing stories of these Super Bowl Champions. Also a perfect book for men's church groups.
The Biggest Win combines biblical truths with practical direction on issues that every Christian faces—including dealing with adversity, competition, change, success, failure, and how to thrive by faith in a pressurized world. Encouraging male and female athletes in any sport, The Biggest Win guides them in finding their ultimate identity in Christ, not their athletic achievements, and assures them that their greatest prize is eternal life.
Joshua Cooley is a New York Times bestselling author, a sports writing veteran of 20-plus years, and a full-time children’s minister. His latest book is The Biggest Win: Pro Football Players Tackle Faith. Also in 2018, he teamed with Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles to co-author the star quarterback’s bestselling memoir, Believe It. Joshua has written the Heroes of the Bible Devotional and The One Year Devotions With Jesus, among his other books. He lives with his wife and four children in Durham, NC.
“With icebergs, we celebrate and are amazed at what we see above the water but there is so much more below the surface. As the entire world watched Super Bowl LII, we witnessed and celebrated the amazing elements of sport that we can see. The Biggest Win takes you below the surface to see how much more God is at work in these players—as well as in our own lives—and how to win the biggest game of all.”
Shane Williamson, President/CEO, Fellowship of Christian Athletes
“Josh Cooley, a talented sports writer with unusual spiritual insight, has written a unique and engaging book. Neither fanboy nor critic, Josh shows these pro football players as what they are: authentic and imperfect brothers striving to honor Jesus. The timeless biblical principles at work in their stories carry over seamlessly to readers. Well written, true-to-reality, and spiritually uplifting, The Biggest Win is one of the finest sports books I’ve ever read!”
Randy Alcorn, Author of Heaven, Seeing the Unseen, and Courageous
“As the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive coordinator during their Super Bowl LII championship season, I enjoyed a close, personal look at how real the stories are in this book. These men are true brothers in Christ whose lives have impacted me significantly. In The Biggest Win, Joshua Cooley not only does an incredible job helping us learn from their examples, but he also uses the platform of sports to equip and inspire us in our Christian faith.
Frank Reich, Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts
“I couldn’t read this book fast enough. Throughout my baseball career, I always long for teammates who are hungry for God’s Word and bold about their love for Jesus Christ, just like the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles were during their Super Bowl season. The Biggest Win inspired me—and it will do the same for you—because it shows what genuine Christian faith looks like for any athlete as we compete.”
Adrian Gonzalez, Major League Baseball Player and Five-Time All-Star
“If you are an athlete struggling with how to balance sports and your walk with the Lord, I definitely recommend The Biggest Win. Joshua does a wonderful job showing how your faith can be strengthened—not compromised—while you pursue your athletic endeavors. After reading this, you’ll realize that true victory can be yours long before you even start the game.”
Jordan Matthews, NFL Wide Receiver
“The Biggest Win is far more than pro athlete testimonials. This book lays a much-needed foundation, starting with the Bible, for how athletes should view and engage in sports. Joshua has given us a great resource.”
Mark Householder, President of Athletes in Action
“In The Biggest Win, Josh, has done a wonderful job combining God’s word, real life athletic experiences, and thoughtful self-reflective questions regarding faith and how it intersects with life and sport. It’s like having a devotional and a road map to success for the Christian athlete and is a must read for any aspiring athlete or fan!”
Bryan Clay, Olympic Decathlon and World Champion; founder & CEO, The Bryan Clay Foundation
“Joshua Cooley, one of the premier Christian sportswriters in the country, shares fascinating stories about six NFL players who are playing for more than gridiron glory, but what I enjoyed most was how Josh shared spiritual insights and lessons that we can all take to heart.”
Mike Yorkey, Coauthor of the Every Man’s Battle series and Picking Up My Shattered Pieces with Gina Pastore
“As a pastor, I usually read non-fiction, theology books. But I was refreshed to read how the good news of Christ is powerfully revealed in the athletic world. I think you’ll find Joshua Cooley’s retelling the story of an unusual group of godly men who played on the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles to draw you in to the best story ever, the gospel. If you are a young athlete, an old athlete, or a non-athletic pastor, you will get both a great sports story and a glorious Jesus story in one place.”
Jay Thomas, Lead Pastor at Chapel Hill Bible Church, Chapel Hill, NC; author of Sex, Dating, and Relationships
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Biggest Win. Joshua Cooley seamlessly weaves solid biblical truth with the God-honoring testimonies of the six featured Eagles football players. Their stories bring the theological concepts Josh presents to life. The Biggest Win isn’t just a book for athletes; this is a book for everyone.”
Marty Machowski, Pastor; author of The Ology, Long Story Short: Ten- Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God, and The Gospel Story Bible
“With the question in the foreword, ‘Are you ready to glorify God?,’ the author had me hooked. In The Biggest Win Cooley’s spiritual commitment to the gospel is laced together with his journalistic field experience and his ability to craft a compelling narrative to produce an entertaining and encouraging read. Each chapter contains personal snapshots of well known athletes’ spiritual victories and struggles woven together with God’s Word to provide all of us a fresh challenge to glorify the Lord in all things.”
Ken Coley, Senior Professor of Christian Education, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC; author of Entrusted to the Faithful
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A Book Bigger Than the Super Bowl
Testimonies and Truth
Through the testimonies of Eagles players (those mentioned above and from the foreword of the book) and the sharing of biblical truth, Joshua Cooley gives the reader a theological foundation of living for the glory of God, finding identity in Christ, training for spiritual growth, committing to a Christian community, handling trials biblically, and placing hope in what will last. Each chapter highlights the pattern of sharing testimonials and truth as each chapter starts with a Bible verse related to the theme’s chapter followed, in most chapters, by a testimonial about a Christian Philadelphia Eagles player.
The writing style of Mr. Cooley captures the sports fanatic’s attention and engages the reader to apply the truth of these testimonials into their own life. He does a superb job balancing the personal stories of these athletes’ Christian faith while offering practical steps for the reader to take to grow in their own Christian faith, at the same time showing how when it comes down to it, these athletes are just like everyday people. The author not only provides the why and what of the biblical truths he shares, but he also draws up how these truths look in real life. Each chapter closes to cement this by giving readers “Questions for Reflection”.
Not Your Typical Sports Book on Faith
The testimonies shared and truths laid out in The Biggest Win make clear this is not your typical sports book on the Christian faith. That is because the Philadelphia Eagles players mentioned in this book are not your typical Christian athletes. Far from using God for their own ends in hopes of taking home the Lombardi trophy, these believers are a group of Christians committed and accountable to each other in Christian community with the ultimate goal to glorify God while finding their identity in Christ and using sports as a vehicle to proclaim the Good News. In fact, a couple of different times in the book, the author goes from sharing these athletes' stories to sharing the hope of the gospel with the reader.
This book also is not your typical sports book on faith because the sad reality is many sports books that deal with Christian faith do not delve into theological truths, at best, and take Scriptures out of context, at worst. The Biggest Win offers correctives for both. Chapter 5 addresses the false notion that practice makes perfect, pointing the reader to the perfect performance of Christ alone because, for the athlete, practice does not make perfect. As a result, the Christian athlete does not have to place themselves under the constant pressure of perfection but can rest in the perfect performance of Christ. Chapter 7 considers the most misinterpreted verse in sports that players fumble, Philippians 4:13. Highlighting this verse, Cooley takes the opportunity to equip the reader with a few pointers on rightly handling the word of truth. In both chapters 5 and 7, it is not only the author who proposes these correctives. The quarterback duo of Carson Wentz and Nick Foles likewise chime in on handling the Word and their lives in a sound and right way.
A Book for You
The Biggest Win: Pro Football Players Tackle Faith is truly a book about something bigger than the Super Bowl. If you are an athlete, Christian or not, who wants your life to count for something more than temporary glory in sports, this is the book for you. If you are a Christian, athlete or not, who wants to hear powerful Christian testimonies and profound biblical truths, this is the book for you. And, of course, if you are a Christian athlete who wants to know how to live out their faith in sports and life, this book is a must-read for you!
I received this book from New Growth Press in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.
Spiritual lessons from football players
The players include Carson Wentz, Chris Maragos (yes, he helped the Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII), Nick Foles, Jordan Hicks, Zach Ertz, and Trey Burton. These Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII in 2017. It was the first ever title in the 85 year old franchise.
The stories about the players include their football careers and how they came to be major league players. Cooley also explains how they use their careers to glorify God. The life examples are used as springboards for spiritual lessons. He writes about the temptation that comes with fame and success, what it means to be in Christ, how to use trials to glorify God, volunteer work, and much more. I was impressed with the comparison of football training with spiritual training.
This book is a good one, even if you are not a football fan. There is much about football but there are also great spiritual teachings included. There are a few questions at the end of each chapter so this book would be a good one for a teen or college book study for athletes.
I really enjoyed this book and I am not even an Eagles fan. (Go Hawks!) The stories about the players are inspiring and the teaching very good. I highly recommend this book to people who would like to know more about Christian athletes and how they live their faith within their athletic careers. Super Bowl wins are victories that fade with time. This book does well encouraging the kind of accomplishments that last into eternity.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Read With Audra. My comments are an independent and honest review.