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“Football Had Become My God”: Frank Reich, From Pastor to Indianapolis Colts Head Coach

This fall, former pastor, seminary president, and NFL star Frank Reich started his first season as the head coach for the Indianapolis Colts.

Along with fans, Reich is just as surprised by the unexpected trajectory of his career.

“I could never have predicted this path,” Reich told The Washington Post. “It’s crazy. It’s fun.”

Though it’s certainly not the first time the former Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) president’s path has taken an unexpected turn.

Reich first got his start at the University of Maryland on a football scholarship where he finally had his chance to start in 1984, following the graduation of All-American quarterback Boomer Esiason.

Only a month in, he suffered a severe shoulder injury that put him on the bench. Unfortunately, Reich’s replacement played so well that the coach informed him three weeks later he would not be getting his spot back.

Dumbstruck and defeated, Reich recalls staring at his apartment ceiling for a straight week thinkingGod, I thought you and I were goodWhy are you doing this to me?”

It was then that he came to a striking realization:

“Football had become my God… When that was taken away from me, I realized I had to reprioritize my life.”

So he diligently worked on restructuring his priorities and putting God as the first love of his life.

And if anybody knows about comebacks, it’s Frank Reich, who’s been affectionately coined ‘The Comeback Kid.’

Just a few weeks later, he was pulled from the bench at halftime against the Miami Hurricanes, with the Terrapins down 31-0. He led his team to a 42-40 victory over the next two quarters. For 22 years, it remained the greatest comeback victory in the history of college football.

Reich was a third-round pick by the Buffalo Bills the following year, and as he made his way into the NFL, his faith in Jesus followed.

“It was just a life-changing moment for me when I realized that I needed to make that the top priority in my life and to understand that I can still excel at football,” Reich told Sports Spectrum. “I can still excel at whatever it was that I wanted to do. But also understand how it integrates to every point of your life.”

He continued to play in the NFL for 14 seasons, with his most memorable moment being orchestrating the greatest comeback in postseason history when the Bills came back 32 points to beat the Houston Oilers 41-38.

Kelsey Straeter
Kelsey Straeter
Kelsey is an editor at Outreach. She’s passionate about fear fighting, freedom writing, and the pursuit of excellence in the name of crucifying perfectionism. Glitter is her favorite color, 2nd only to pink, and 3rd only to pink glitter.

Chip and Joanna Gaines: 11 Godly Secrets to an Epic Marriage and Family

Chip and Joanna Gaines are teaching us important lessons about marriage and family as they walk away from their HGTV show for the sake of their family.

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