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Rams and Bengals coaches, players: two stories of faith

While the LA Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday night’s Super Bowl, some players and coaches kept a faith over football perspective leading up to the game.

Cincinnati Head Coach Zach Taylor last week was asked how faith, family and football play a role for him in preparing for the match-up.

“In that order, that’s how I was raised, and certainly I’m a believer and believe that my faith has put us in a position to do some really special things.”

Taylor also spoke about the significance of his family, especially his wife, Sarah.

“My family is very important,” he said. “I think all of our coaches’ and players’ families are a big part of this, the support systems that we have at home. I’ve got the best wife going around, and she’s been so supportive. It’s difficult for them, too, and they get to enjoy these moments just as much as we do.”

Sarah, the daughter of former Green Bay Packers and Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman, shared how her mother taught her how to handle being a coach’s wife.

“I always think of how she remained calm in tough times, no matter my dad’s role,” she said. “Whether it was a position coach or head coach, she was the same. She always made sure to have a life and friends outside of football and always took us to church. I have so much respect for her and how she lived her life in such a stressful environment, and I ask her questions constantly.”

She also shared how prioritizing God and family has kept them grounded in the midst of hard times, especially in football.

“I always try to remember that when I get bitter or we are facing a heavy loss season, I think that there are a lot of young guys who would kill to have had the jobs my husband has had, and he works really hard to get where he is,” she said. “The highs are high and the lows are low, but if you remain strong in your faith and keep God and family No. 1 in your life, it is incredible how this profession can bless you.”

Taylor agreed.

“We’re here with the team, it’s special, I love enjoying it with them,” he said. “But I also love going home and seeing the excitement on my family’s faces when we’ve done all these great things that we’ve done recently.”


It’s a similar story for the Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp. Before the game, the wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams also talked about his faith.

“This moment. These moments! Thanking God for every one of them. We have prayed for a season to glorify our Savior Jesus Christ and you are doing just that my lovey @cooperkupp. SURREAL!,” his wife Anna Marie wrote just days  before the Super Bowl.

Before the postseason, Cooper became the fourth player in NFL history to earn the triple crown with 145 receptions, 1,947 receiving yards and 16 receiving touchdowns, all of which led the league. Since then, he has helped his team with crucial catches and touchdowns to win the playoff games that got them to the Super Bowl.

Kupp and wife, who met in high school, have relied on each other and their Christian faith since the start of his football career.

“We just were so aligned in terms of what our goals were and what we wanted to do moving forward and what we wanted to be about as a couple,” he said. “And the belief that football was the community, was the place that I was supposed to be, that we were supposed to be, and that’s where God placed us.”

While they attended Eastern Washington University, Anna Marie worked at a restaurant to help pay for their college expenses. Cooper had become too tired from working his job to keep playing his best at football.

“Without a doubt, there’s no doubt in my mind, not only would I not be here where I am today without her or accomplishing the things that I would be doing,” he said. “I really believe I may not be in this. I may not be in the NFL if it wasn’t for her and what she has inspired in me and pushed me to do.”

He believes God will always be his ultimate source of hope.

“At the very basic levels of my life — as a husband, as a father, as a football player — knowing how much of a failure I am at these things, if it wasn’t for my faith if it wasn’t for knowing that Christ has told me who I am in his eyes and know that how far short I fall in all these things, that he’s bridged every gap and that he’s called me to even greater things,” he said.