The League

Dick Vermeil
Former Head Coach

Dick Vermeil

Has won the Super Bowl, the Rose Bowl and multiple coaching accolades.

Strength in Faith


There is definitely a place for religion in football as there is a place for it in all parts of life. It is a deep part of all locker rooms. Every team I've been involved with has had a spiritual leader. They have no particular responsibilities, but rather act to bring players together. When I coached the Philadelphia Eagles, the spiritual leader was Randy Logan. In St. Louis it was Ray Agnew and then Kurt Warner. In Kansas City it was Tony Richardson.

I coached the first the guy who ever knelt in the ends zone -- Herb Lusk, he came over to my place for the big game. NFL Films did piece on him. To anyone who would say there is "too much" religion in football I would have to ask: how could there be too much of something that improves the chemistry and attitude of a team whether that be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual? It is completely voluntary and really brings teammates together, sharing beliefs, thoughts, messages.

In my decades of coaching, I never recognized a problem with it. In most aspects of life, spirituality helps bring people together, that's our culture. Sometimes on a team different religions become one faith, they become a belief in each other, a belief in the team and strength grows out of that.

By Dick Vermeil  |  February 4, 2009; 10:09 AM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Dick Vermeil , NFL , Pittsburgh Steelers , Tony Dungy Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: There is No God In Team | Next: Separating Church and Stadium


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You assume all players share the same religious values. What about Muslim players? Would you approve their facing Mecca and praying to Allah after winning a game? Would the Christian players be so understanding?

Pro sports is a socialized industry. As long as it feeds off the public trough, it should observe the separation of church and state. Or let the fans vent their religions, or lack thereof, as well.

Posted by: Garak | February 4, 2009 12:11 PM

The sad fact is that believers can never see how others might not feel as they do, might not want religion thrust upon them constantly.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 4, 2009 12:33 PM

"It is completely voluntary..." Oh, c'mon! Ever hear of peer pressure? Especially in a locker room, I'm sure the guy who says, "Y'know, I'm not a believer and I don't want to kneel and pray" would find himself talking exclusively to his locker door. It's just the same old conform-or-die mentality as the military and any other corporate entity. Play along or you're out.

Posted by: stephenlouis | February 4, 2009 4:11 PM

I believe the moral codes inherent in most religions should play a role in each of our lives every day. I feel its appropriate for players to pray for personal excellence, health and safety.

In fact, a more religious set of players would stop pretending to have caught passes that they know hit the ground. A more religious player would not deliberately try to covertly break game rules, as we often see them do. Perhaps a more religious coach would refrain from publicly humiliating his players.

However, I have a hard time seeing, with my limited view, why God would have a football team preference(Unless it's the Colts :) - see what I mean?).

Posted by: jsump | February 4, 2009 4:14 PM

There is logic behind the very old moniker, "dumb jock."

Posted by: AIPACiswar | February 4, 2009 5:35 PM

Good argument Dick. Do you mind if I call you dick?

I also think cheerleaders and pot parties would also help to improve chemistry and team attitude.

Of course Steelers don't have cheerleaders. And they shouldn't be bothering viewers with all this God nonsense. And ask Barry Bonds about Pgh's reaction to cocaine use.

Excuse me dick...but on second thought, your argument sucks.

Posted by: jimmyminder | February 4, 2009 10:23 PM

Nice to see the traditional hatred of others beliefs spewed out by "tolerant" liberals.

Of course, this hatred is accompanied by juvenile name calling and ad hominem attacks. What else are these hateful people going to do? Make a cogent argument?

Posted by: bobmoses | February 5, 2009 10:26 AM

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