Football has been a big part of Roman Gabriel III’s life. His father was a star quarterback at North Carolina State University and advanced to the National Football League (NFL) to play for the Los Angeles Rams for eleven seasons, then five seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles. The son followed his dad with a short stint in the NFL until he was sidelined by injuries.
Image captured from YouTube
Tony Dungy, seen here in this video screenshot, and Roman Gabriel, Biblical Recorder sports correspondent, are promoting a live Super Bowl Rally Feb. 1 for churches to use.
Gabriel remains closely connected with his football roots through an organization he founded, Sold Out Sports. Sold Out is a sports and character education program that places Gabriel in schools where he challenges students to abstain from alcohol and drugs.
His calling takes him all over his home state of North Carolina. But every year Gabriel reserves a week of his schedule to attend Super Bowl events where he spends time with big name athletes and sports media personalities. For the past five years he has served as the Biblical Recorder’s sports correspondent at this big event.
But the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston, Texas, will be much different for Gabriel and a host of other sports figures that have worked together to launch a rally the Wednesday night before Sunday’s big game on Feb. 5. The rally will be broadcast directly to churches and other faith gatherings with a clear message of the gospel.
“We’re partnering with Tony Dungy’s group, All Pro Dad, which is a fatherhood/parenthood engagement charitable organization out of Tampa, Florida,” Gabriel told the Biblical Recorder. “Coach Dungy’s coming alongside to help us promote it to the churches.”
In a promotional video Dungy said, “Our goal at All Pro Dad is to help men love their family well.”
The rally will originate from Grace Community Church in Humble, Texas. The Faith, Family & Football rally features testimonies and conversations with coaches, players and other sports personalities. Joining Dungy in the broadcast will be CBS sports personality James Brown, sports agent Leigh Steinberg, NFL alumni Dan Pastorini and Shawn Alexander, and the NFL’s first female coach, Jen Welter. Additional guests from the competing teams will be added to the schedule.
“Our whole goal with the program is to lead to a gospel presentation so that churches, through their men’s ministry and through their family ministries, can invite people to attend who might not ever go to church, but would come to a Super Bowl event,” Gabriel said. “At the end of the one-hour program there will be a clear altar call and gospel presentation.”
Gabriel said he hopes to get approval from the NFL Commissioner to make the rally an official, annual Super Bowl event beginning next year in Minneapolis.
All Pro Dad already has an official Super Bowl event. “It’s a youth mentoring camp,” Gabriel explained. “So we hope to bring our event alongside Dungy’s camp that reaches out to families in the community who can’t afford to experience Super Bowl events otherwise.”
Churches are invited to host the broadcast in their location. Although the live simulcast is on Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. (CST), Gabriel said, “churches that cannot fit the Wednesday event in their schedule, can download the video and host their own event on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday or any time that fits best for the church.”
There’s a nominal fee of $299 for a church of any size to access the video. Gabriel said, “We want to work with churches of all sizes to help them reach their friends with the gospel.”
Small groups and individuals can sign up to download the simulcast for only $19.99, but a special rate of $9.99 is available for those who sign up by Jan. 22 at faithandfootballlive.com.
The American Family Network and other ministries are joining the effort. You Version Bible app is providing a six-day follow-up program. “Those who make decisions for Christ at the rally or local church event will be provided access to this spiritual growth tool that will walk them through the decision they made,” Gabriel said. “This gives churches a way to begin the discipling process for each new believer.”
A new faith-based awards program is another addition to Gabriel’s project. Five awards will be given to deserving faith-based sports personalities, coaches, players and people in the sports media business.
Gabriel said, “Coach Dungy will be giving out the All Pro Dad award. Spencer Tillman will present an award to a local high school athlete who has faith and family principles. There will also be a mentoring award and a first female coach award for Jen Welter’s impact with women in sports. There is no other event like this at the Super Bowl.”
Gabriel invites church leaders to use the rally as an outreach tool. He emphasized the evangelistic potential of the event as churches host a gathering on the day and time of their choosing.
“Coach Dungy so represents integrity and godliness in the world of sports,” said Gabriel. “He’s honored as the most trusted sports broadcaster in the business. We’re so pleased he is willing to bring his persona to this event.”
Discounts are available for groups that sign up by Jan. 22. For more information, visit faithandfootballlive.com.