The NFL's 2016 advertising campaign, "Football is Family," was impossible to miss last night during the 50th Super Bowl. The game between the Broncos and Panthers was interrupted often with a new "Football is Family" ad, displaying groups of "Super Bowl Babies" (those born in championship cities 9 months after a Super Bowl win).
NFL Chief Marketing Officer Dawn Hudson said,
"For 49 years, our fans have rallied around their favorite teams on Super Bowl Sunday and passed their pride and passion down to the next generation. We are excited to celebrate our football families by shining the spotlight on Super Bowl Babies, those fans born into a lifelong love of their team and the game." (read the article here)
Hudson's reasons for equating football and family boil down to two things:
- Passion for football has been passed down from generation to generation.
- Fans are born into a lifelong love for the sport and their favorite team.
Families do pass down passions to the next generation, whether for football, travel, Christmas traditions, or even a favorite Thanksgiving dessert. And, when one is born into a family, they do often find themselves sharing the same love for the things their parents love. Even my three kids, all under the age of 6, already cheer for the Dallas Cowboys simply because my wife and I do.
But does this mean football is family?
FOOTBALL IS NOT FAMILY
Football is something families may share a passion for and they may even cheer for the same team. But if family is about passing down passions to the next generation and loving what our parents value, then let us pray that all of this runs deeper than a game.
Why not let the Gospel be at the heart of our family? Why not let the Gospel find deep roots in our homes? Why not let the Gospel capture our love more than any sport or pastime?
Scripture calls families to pass down their passion for the Word of God to the next generation (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), and it is a beautiful thing when someone is born into a lifelong love for Jesus Christ above all else (see Timothy's story: 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15).
What a shame if our kids know the names of every wide receiver and the stats of every running back, but don't know the grace of Jesus!
What a shame if our families enjoy Sunday afternoons with the Patriots and Seahawks more than Sunday mornings with the church family!
What a shame if we pass down a passion and love for things that will fade and be forgotten, but fail to leave a legacy of faith!
What a shame if football is family!