As much as I love football, this is not a post about football. It could be, maybe it should be, but it’s not. This is a post about pride. And how pride can be so dangerous in our lives.
I watched the playoffs this past Sunday and thoroughly enjoyed the games. Football is my favorite sport. Hands down. Nothing quite like it. I played quarterback in high school so in a small way I understand the passion, the intensity, and the excitement. And I don’t mind Richard Sherman being excited. That’s the way you have to play the game. What I do mind is what he said. It’s not how he said it, it’s actually what he said. Here’s the video.
My thoughts – which are worth less than “two cents” I’m sure. You’re going to the Super Bowl, rejoice in that. You made a great play, celebrate with your team. You tipped the ball, congratulations. Instead, he says, “I’m the best cornerback in the league.” Seriously? I’m blown away by the arrogance. Sheer pride on display.
Contrast that with Peyton Manning’s interview after their big win over New England. I couldn’t even find this interview on youtube because no one is talking about it. I remember him saying something like this: “New England is a great team, you could name the AFC Championship after these guys because they’re in this thing every year. Hats off to them. They played a great game.”
Instead of praising himself, he praised the other team and their efforts. Here’s what is absolutely amazing to me. The quarterback, who is most likely the best in the league and possibly the best of all time, doesn’t even mention his own ability. But the cornerback, who is no doubt extremely talented but most likely not the best in the league, decides to state his own superiority.
Again, I get it. I understand the game of football. No, I’ve never made it to the Super Bowl but I have a deep love for the game. In the end, there’s a much larger principle at play. Proverbs 27:2 says, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” And there it is. If you really are the best cornerback, or the best quarterback, you really don’t have to tell anyone. Others will know.
Pete Carroll, coach of the Seahawks, said he had a talk with his cornerback on Monday. It was clear that Sherman’s rant took away from the team’s victory. And I’m sure that wasn’t Sherman’s intent. This is why pride is so dangerous. It is insidious, ugly, and self-deceiving. It creeps into marriages, into families, into pulpits, into churches and it shifts the focus off Christ and off others, and onto self. We all fall victim to the snare of pride. This is just one more reminder of how destructive it can actually be.