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Wide out blames God for dropped ball
November 29th, 2010
11:22 AM ET

Wide out blames God for dropped ball

By CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson dropped a game-winning touchdown in the end zone Sunday in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Anyone who has ever tossed the pigskin around in the back yard dreams of that scenario - minus the drop, of course.

Johnson did not even have to work for the ball. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's pass was text-book perfect, landing squarely in Johnson's hands.

After the game, Johnson's twitter account filed this faithy tweet:

@StevieJohnson13

I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO...

Johnson was emotional in the post game press conference.

"It was a great call; it was something we knew we could beat them on....It came to the back of the end zone. I had the game in my hands and then dropped it. That's it."

He said the play was something he would never get over.

"How would you feel? You've got this game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and you got this kid coming up in the NFL making plays..All of a sudden, when the biggest play needs to be made, you don't make it. You feel bad. I'm devastated right now."

Just last week Johnson was fined $5,000 by the NFL by for wearing a t-shirt under his jersey that said, "Why so serious?" After scoring a touchdown, he lifted his shirt to reveal the Batman-inspired quote from the Joker.

Interestingly enough, he praised God for helping him make that catch.

At a press conference last Wednesday, Johnson said, "It happened. And if it wasn't going to happen, I wouldn't have caught the ball." Then he was asked by reporters if he regretted his actions. "I don't really regret anything. I'm playing under God. So if it happens, it happens," he said.

This brings us to a larger theological question: Does God hate the Buffalo Bills? You may remember this is the very team that lost four straight Super Bowls.

What do you think?

Check out a piece we did on this earlier: When did God become a sports fan?

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: New York • Sports • United States

soundoff (616 Responses)
  1. Chris

    It's not God that hates the Bills. It's the Cigarette Smoking Man.

    November 29, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  2. thurisaz26

    He needs to get over it. I played football my jr. and sr. year and was not really good, but I tried hard. I was given the nickname Rudy because I was undersized but tried hard. On the last game of the season on my senior year, in the final minutes of the game, I caught an interception and ran it back 98 yds for a TD, but it got called back. I was devastated. I am a very devout Christian, and I knew that God was going to give me something special on that day, but instead I saw failure. Years later, I thank God for that disappointment because I have learned a lot from it. God never promises that life will be rosy for a Christian, in fact, the exact opposite is assured. Pain and failure are good tools for teaching.

    November 29, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • Mike

      All the starving children around the world must be learning some great lessons.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • thurisaz26

      20 "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
      21 "Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. "Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
      22 "Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!
      23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. (Luk 6:20-23 ESV)

      God will make all things right, and the blessings that the poor will receive in heaven will be far greater than anything I can hope to obtain. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. My job on earth is to be the instrument of God who helps to take care of these poor.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • Howard Markowitz

      Another religious con game that things will be paradise after death. It certainly enables society to keep a reign on the poor. I think the greatest experiences our 'being' will ever have is in our corporeal form right here on Earth. Only with a body can we experience the great many varieties of pleasure and happiness. And the pursuit of enlightenment is a more interesting experience and adventure than actually receiving it. I do not believe that our being or soul continues after death. But if it does, it would be the natural order of things and not anything that has to do with faith. I don't see how a soul without its body would now suddenly have spiritual revelations.

      The most ludicrous of all beliefs is the fanatical belief entwined in the Jihad. You kill yourself in order to kill people that you are told are infidels. Being told that your reward is an eternity of pleasure with virgins. I am pretty sure that the Islamic faith, as all other faiths believe, that once you are dead the soul leaves the body behind. So how can one enjoy the physical pleasures of being with virgins without a body?

      November 29, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
    • Scott of the non-believer tribe

      Lets not forget the 70 Virgins. If you are a martyr in a certain religion...then there is that. Foolish you say? HAH! They are believers in fantasy just like all the other believers of faith. Lets help the poor by promising something to them for their trouble. What a great idea. Thats priceless. I love it when christians quote the bible as fact. I mean really....sorry for your luck poor people.

      November 29, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
    • thurisaz26

      In the Christian belief system, the ultimate hope is in a physical resurrection. The hope is that God will create a new earth and the faithful will dwell in it as God originally intended. That is based on the belief that Jesus rose from the dead and that he is the first example of what will happen after death. If you disbelieve that, then there is little that I can say. For the Christian, though, the faith is that God will right all wrongs at the end. I also mentioned that it is the job of the Christian to help the poor, needy, and widows in this life, for human life is important, for humans were made in the image of God. My counter to those who don't believe in a final judgment is how do you deal with the injustices in the world? Do you just let people live with the hand that they've been dealt? My faith demands that I care for the poor and that I sacrifice my life for others. What hope do you offer the disenfranchised? Don't worry, you'll soon be dead and it won't matter?

      November 29, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  3. Anise

    I appreciate this angry tweet. I've been wondering for years why players who win insist on thanking God (as if they don't work out, practice and have every right to claim responsibility for what they did on the field) but players who lose DON'T say, "I was doing great until Jesus made me fumble!"

    The idea that a supreme being would have the slightest interest in sports is ludicrous. But if you're going to give him all the credit when things go your way, you also have to blame him when they don't. You've already decided that you play NO ROLE in what happens in your life!

    November 29, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  4. Locode

    That's right, it can't have been your own fault butterfingers.

    November 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
    • God Illusion

      Fair enough, so let's stop crediting god for the catches then. OK?

      November 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  5. Mike

    I wonder what former Providence point gaurd God Shammgod thinks of all this?

    November 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  6. Mike

    Awwww poor baby. Guess the other team prayed aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiitle harder.

    November 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  7. Jenea

    Same comment I made to Kay–would you have said this if he caught the ball and thanked God for it? "Now let me get this straight–WHO caught the ball??? Oh Stevie–that's right. Quit crediting God for your own success. Grow up and act like a Christian is supposed to."

    I don't hear Christians complaining when athletes give God credit; why complain when they give him the blame?

    November 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  8. sam99999

    StevieJohnson: "I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO..."

    God: "Sorry. I blessed you with exceptional athletic ability, you earn millions a year, people wait on you hand and foot, you work 6 months a year, and you don't have a 9-5 dead end job or financial worries. Can't you do a little for yourself once in a while?"

    Some people never quit looking for a handout.

    November 29, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
    • Chrissy Montagne

      The ending of handouts start with your turning off the damn television and doing something productive there on football day.

      November 29, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
    • sam99999

      Hey Crissy (is that your grown-up name?) I didn't see this game on television – I read about it here, the same way you did. So I guess you think this pampered fool is perfectly within his rights to blame God for his screw-up?

      November 29, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
    • gordon

      who cares

      November 29, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
    • gordon

      He doesn't make that much money in NFL standards.

      November 29, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  9. Sean

    Maybe God was mad at him for a bad haircut

    November 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  10. Luke

    I am not a believer and I think the whole praying for winning thing is so silly. I mean if there was a god, and it helped a team win wouldn't it also help a team loose? Why would a god do that and how would it decide who wins or looses? I respect believers, I am just not one of them and like to point out the illogical. I can see how they would pray for a safe game for everyone and maybe at the end pray for thanks for being able to be given the opportunity to play in the first place and live to play again.

    November 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
    • jonathan

      If you had people competing for your million dollar a year job all the time... every training camp, you'd be on your knees to buddy..unless you get that long term gaurenteed contract.... then you say God???? who is dat???

      November 30, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  11. Michaele Marix

    Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

    November 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
    • Sean

      They call that Free Will. People forget that God gave it to us, and we are judged by how we use it. He doesn't make us win or lose football games. We decide that ourselves. It's how we act afterward and how we carry it that we are judged on.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      Anyone who believes in a religion where person A can die for person B's crimes should not talk about "personal responsibility".

      November 29, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • jonathan

      personal responsibility is to find fault... this young man blames his God...he identified the source of his consternation ... you seem pretty high and mighty sitting in judgment ...have you ever disappointed a whole city? ...ever felt the burden? 🙂

      November 29, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  12. Peace2All

    Well, from reading the article and his comments, Stevie Johnson seems to be an equal-opportunity non-responsibility taker.

    He seems to give credit to God when he is successfull, and credit to God when he is not. Which, I guess, at least seems reasonable given his 'model' of the world. I can see that someone having such an extreme world-view about God running aspects of your life could cause one to really feel like your own life was not under your control, but being controlled by the unknown decisions and the reasons behind said decisions by...God.

    In terms of the 'Free will v. Determinism' argument, I'm gathering that he is in the 'Determinism' corner. I am guessing from a lot of the comments here on this blog and others that turning one's life fully over to God comes with a lot of, ultimately in the long-run supposed benefits- not going to hell, but going to an eternal heaven, as a believer in God's word and Jesus as one's savior.

    On the potential downside in the 'here and now' of that 'world-view' or 'model of reality,' this can and would potentially create in a lot of followers and believers of this 'God-in-the-mix' model, a lot of tremendous uncertainty, and possible railing against God, for not doing things the way you want them done... or having the outcomes that you desire. Basically, feeling like you kinda' have no control over your life, as it is God that can, does and will intercede at any moment and change the results of your life that may not be what you desired.

    While a lot of research nowadays shows that for most people one of the aspects of 'happiness' is having some sense of a 'spiritual' belief or aspect, and one of the major factors researchers have found to be attributed to 'happiness' in one's life is a sense of control– of feeling like you have the ability to influence your lives to a measurable extent. Apparently 'both' seem to be important. Not to say that there aren't lots of people that are atheists, or agnostics, who have varying levels of belief to non-belief, but... feeling a sense of control and influence in one's life and not at the whims of the gods, is definitely a strong indicator for happiness and fulfillment.

    Even if he has this model and it gives him tremendous pain and uncertainty from time-to-time, I am hoping that he will learn(as he asks God what is he supposed to learn from this..?) to possibly take a bit more responsibility for his thoughts, beliefs, and actions, thereby creating in himself...by himself a sense of self-empowerment–'without' having to give up his 'model' of God stepping in and being a 'determining' factor on events, etc... that happen in his life.

    Peace...

    November 29, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • whoa.

      wow.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
    • jeff

      Good post, my friend! Asking "you expect me to learn from this!?!" is the beginning of knowledge. We're all taking baby steps – some may seem more silly to us than others. My questions these days involve wondering what I can do to help people who are drinking themselves to death, asking if surely there isn't more that can be done than just showing compassion for them as they circle the drain...

      grace and peace,

      -jeff

      November 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
    • jonathan

      I know that Jesus invading my world cause I was weakling, and suffering, needing help , and crying out sure has been helpful..now I employ him full time... in every thing I give thanks even if I don't like all these things knowing that he can make everything better...I have found him so...that nothing shall be impossible to me.. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      November 29, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @jeff

      Hey Jeff...!

      Good to hear from you... Thanks for the kind words...!

      Also, I concur with your att-itude about doing more to help others.

      Peace...

      November 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  13. Shaun

    God is a New Orleans Saints fan! Who dat!

    November 29, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  14. TireODaCrap

    Fact is, God can do a lot more with your drop than your catch, Stevie!! Would you have even mentioned him (much less Tweeted) if you'd caught the ball. I think not. We'd have heard about all the work YOU put into the game, etc, etc.

    A man's true character comes out in defeat....and now we all know what Stevie has inside!

    November 29, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  15. Doc Vestibule

    I used to worship Bacchus until He gave me my first hangover
    Then I worshipped Gaia, but I got hayfever.
    I sacrificed goats to Poseiden, but my canoe still sprung a leak.
    I ditched Sjofn after my girlfriend left me.
    Heqet got my ti-thes until that froggy harlot afflicted me with erectile dysfunction.
    For years I gave thanks at the Kamigami shrine, but then I started balding.

    I sympathise with this football player. It can be hard to find a God that isn't fickle.
    However, he should really read organizational chart a bit better. Jesus is a busy deity, so he has administrative staff to sort out prayer priority for him. If Steve wanted results, he should've prayed to St. Sebastian.

    November 29, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  16. Jim X

    Since one's perception is their reality, if that is what he believes, then it is his truth. Some people have some very strange perceptions, however. Funny, I thought he might have blamed the devil, kinda like Flip Wilson, "the devil made me do it". Maybe next time.

    November 29, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  17. paul 1st

    God, Hall of Fame linebacker, .... and corner back, quarterback, tackle, guard, tight end, wide out, fullback, kicker. Stevie has to up his level of play.

    November 29, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  18. JWH

    You know not whom you worship. If he knows God, he would know that he is a holy God and the Lord God Almighty. How disrespectful. I hope he comes to know the Lord. God could care less about the idol called football.
    To know God is Love and fear of him.

    November 29, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • jonathan

      What does Holy mean? Me , i ask many people their answers never satisfy . Do you have answer ?

      November 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    • A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

      Jonathan, you seem to have many questions. I can't give you every answer, because I too am seeking answers of God. Holy is that which is without sin. We have been called to be Holy even as our Heavenly Father is Holy. I know you may not receive that and may question how any man can be Holy or sinless or perfect. And the answer is we can't; not in ourselves. But when we accept Christ's sacrifice for our sin, we are covered by His blood and made righteous, set apart from the world and made new in Him (Christ).

      God loves you Jonathan and came to this world to die for you. Is your decision whether or not you receive what He did for you. I pray that God touches your heart to truly seek Him and I pray that He opens your eyes so that you may see the truth (Ezekiel 12:1-3)

      November 29, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

      Jonathan, you seem to be on point. I had to re-read your comments. Let it minister to someone else. Continue to let your light shine and God bless.

      November 29, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  19. MikeMazzla

    How about the fact that there is no such thing as God and the mere discussion whether he/she cares about a football game is ludicrous in and of itself

    November 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
    • dman11

      So why are you commenting on a religious story? In the End, every knee will bow and every voice confess. You didn't create yourself and neither did the big bang theory!!
      Religion might not be all that it is cracked up to be...not God's fault...blame men who really don't believe in nothing but themselves and use their charisma to mislead people.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • jonathan

      The one asks the question , why do you enter a discussion about something that doesn't exist ? 🙂

      November 29, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @dman11

      You Said:-"So why are you commenting on a religious story?"

      Most likely, #1– They have the same free speech rights as you... and #2– They are stating their *opinion* about 'religion,' just like you are.

      You Said:-"In the End, every knee will bow and every voice confess."

      Please see # 2 above...

      Peace...

      November 29, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
    • dman11

      @ Peace2All

      November 29, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @dman11

      I found your response to mine, down below. I responded back to you.

      Peace...

      November 29, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  20. Peepu

    I thought god liked soccer?

    November 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
    • Tinytim

      No he likes baseball.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.