With the NFL counting down to Super Bowl 2014, Seattle Seahawks is one of the four playoffs teams standing. For football fans who are Christians, they are either cheering for Seahawks, whose players - Russell Wilson, Chris Okung - are devout Christians - or they face a predicament of having to choose between their home team or Seattle to root for.
To make the matter easier for fans, Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman, 23, who has been deaf since age three, shared his inspirational life story of perseverance in Duracell battery's latest commercial that has gone viral with close to five million views on Youtube.
Coleman, who was diagnosed with an incurable genetic hearing impairment, had been told that his dream of playing in the NFL could never be done. In the video, he shares how he was always picked last and coaches didn't know how to talk to him. But he managed to overcome his disability by listening through a hearing aid and learning to lip read as a kid while growing up in California.
After nailing his high school career with stellar performances, Coleman played for NCAA powerhouse UCLA.
At a game in Oregon, he recalled turning off his hearing aids because the noise became unbearable. "I didn't move until the ball was snapped, and then I just read our quarterback Kevin Craft's lips. The only thing I didn't hear was the whistle. But I guess that makes you work even harder because you don't stop."
Rick Neuheisel, his coach at UCLA, told ESPN that Derrick has made up his disability in such a way that "no one even notices it's a disability."
"He comes and grabs you on the shoulder to make sure you look at him. He'll tell you what you said when you're on the sideline 35 yards away because he can read lips," said Neuheisel.
Although Coleman later graduated with a degree in political science, his dream was not immediately realized as he was make the NFL draft. In the Duracell video, Coleman did not waiver in self-pity or doubt. Instead, he became even more determined to achieve his goal.
Coleman, who is a Christian, eventually made the Minnesota Viking's practice squad last season but failed to make the final cut. He was then invited by Seahawks to join their practice squad in December 2012, where he finally found a place of belonging. He was officially signed on to the team, becoming the first legally deaf football player in NFL history.
In 2013-2014 season, Coleman played for 12 games. His first NFL touchdown came in the December game against the New Orleans Saints when he caught a tipped pass from quarterback Russell Wilson, who is also a firm believer, at the goal line and dove in for the goal.
"I think everyone has their unique story and that just happened to be mine," he said, explaining why he decided to allow Duracell feature his story of perseverance, the Sporting News reports. "I just hope to inspire people, especially children, to trust the power within and achieve their dreams.
Moreover, Coleman did not hide the source of his blessings.
"Everyday I wake up and I get a chance. I always say that God blessed me this morning and I can do what I do," he said in an interview with FOX Sports. "Our time in this world is very limited. It can be gone now or it can be gone later, so I take advantage of every opportunity I have whether it's playing football, working or whatever. I'm just a happy guy."
His Christian teammates and coaches - Russell Wilson, safety Chris Maragos, long snapper Clint Gresham, offensive tackle Russell Okung, running back coach Sherman Smith - have leveraged their influence as one of the nation's elite football team, and produced an outreach video titled "Making of a Champion" and passed it out in DVDs to fans during a game in October 2013.
While Seahawks are poised to win the Super Bowl 2014 championship, these players' public testimonies and stories of perseverance have already shown the public the qualities of champions.