Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is undoubtedly one of the strongest players in the NFL--and also one of today's most influential and outspoken athletes regarding his Christian faith.
Nearly one year after the Seahawk's Super Bowl win, the 26 year old football star led his team to a shocking and historic 28-22 overtime victory, defeating the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game.
Following the game, Wilson wept and prayed openly, giving all praise to God above anyone else on the field before leading his team in prayer.
"I just believe that God prepared me for these situations. God's prepared our team too as well. Like I said, I'm honored to be on this team. I'm going to the Super Bowl again," he told sideline reporter Erin Andrews.
"[Wilson's] leadership on the sidelines and in the huddle on Sunday was huge," added receiver Jermaine Kearse, who caught the winning spiral. "The power of positive thought."
Then, on Tuesday, just days before he makes his second-consecutive Super Bowl appearance on Sunday, Wilson explained how his faith drives what one sports analyst called his unstoppable,"rare mental toughness."
"Faith is a big part of my life, and I talk to my pastor Judah Smith almost every day. One thing that he has really instilled in my heart this season is the idea of 'surrender and surround.' Surrender yourself to a higher cause, and surround yourself with special people," explained Wilson in a personal account in The Players' Tribune where he also serves as senior editor.
Despite his immense success, Wilson has remained steadfastly humble during his short but impressive career. His Twitter account is not filled with personal accolades, but with Bible verses, expressions of gratitude, and pictures with children in hospital gowns.
"There's a Bible verse that is very close to my heart. John 3:30. 'He must increase, I must decrease.' That defines this year for me," explained Wilson. " In my life personally, I've noticed that people tend to put you on a pedestal when things are going well. It's easy to hit the reset button when things are going bad. But will you be able to hit the reset button when things are going well? That's a challenge that's bigger than football," he said.
Wilson's humility combined with his overwhelming talent is what makes his faith so compelling to a watching world, writes secular writer and HuffPost contributor Candice Russell.
"Russell Wilson's brand of Christianity never feels judgmental or fueled by hate. On the contrary, it is full of a joy so contagious that even if you don't follow the same religious tenets you can't help but feel the power of positivity that his faith radiates. His love for his God is private and personal while at the same time being completely revealed in the way he lives life every day. Full of a deeper purpose he pulls from a faith that he wears proudly, one he never takes off regardless of the season. He doesn't have to tell you he is a Christian for you to know that there is something higher driving every single thing he does, on the field and off. In a time where Christianity has little or nothing to do with Christ, Russell is a shining example of what walking like Jesus actually looks like."
The Seattle Seahawks will play against the New England Patriots in SuperBowl XLIX on Sunday at the University of Phoenix Stadium, in Glendale, Arizona.