Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals: A Comeback Story
By: Al Robertson
Oh, the heartaches that come from being a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan. You’d think I would be used to it by now — always starting the season with visions of Super Bowl championships dancing in my head only to have my hopes dashed by a late season choke.
Don’t get me wrong — I do love my heartbreaking Cowboys. But their 21-22 season is over and done with. Maybe next year! Maybe next year!
The good news for me is that Super Bowl LVI is less than a week away, and I am stoked. Joe Burrow, the best college quarterback in history who led the best college team in history (the 2019 LSU Tigers) to a national championship only two years ago, has pulled the unlikely Cincinnati Bengals out of the NFL cellar and led them to the Super Bowl. I don’t even have to get new gear — Bengal is just a fancy word for Tiger. Go Bengals! Go Tigers! Same thing, right?
Burrow rode the pine at Ohio State and transferred to LSU in 2018, finally leading LSU to an undefeated season and the national championship. Oh, and they threw in the Heisman Trophy for good measure. From benchwarmer to champion. What a journey.
Then there’s the Bengals. Perennial losers, Burrow led them to more wins this season than the last two seasons combined.
I love comeback stories in sports because … well, I just love comeback stories. But sports are just that — sports. At the end of the day, it’s just a game — nothing more. It doesn’t really mean anything. Not really. We have fun with it and argue about it, but we all know it’s kind of silly, just a distraction.
What really fires me up is when Lisa and I are able to be a part of someone’s transformation from moral destruction to redemption. We live for those kinds of comebacks. Like when a marriage, for all appearances, is over but God steps in and jerks the couple out of the fire. Or when people who are in the vice grip of addiction are suddenly liberated from their prison and make an all-out assault on the gates of hell.
Sports comebacks are one thing, but comebacks from spiritual battles that seem to have been lost to the lies of the Evil One are the comebacks that shake eternity. Eternal, destiny-changing comebacks that cause us to be awestruck at the power and majesty of God — that’s what we live for.
The New Testament is a really a promise that anyone can have their own comeback story, that they can rebound from being on the brink of destruction. In fact, the entire Bible tells the same story. King David was almost destroyed by his adultery and his murder of Uriah. God rescued Peter after he denied he even knew Jesus, even after he denied him with bitter curse words. Paul, after murdering and harassing the followers of Jesus, bounced back to become the author of most of the New Testament.
This is why Lisa and I are so passionate about telling others about Jesus. He is a comeback savior who himself came back from the grave to sit at God’s right hand. No one is too far gone, and no one’s sin is too great for his grace.
I don’t know who will win Sunday’s Super Bowl, but you can be sure that I’ll be sitting in my recliner wildly cheering for the Comeback Kid and the Cincinnati Bengals. But in the back of my mind, I’ll be thinking about all those people we know who’ve come back from Satan’s control. And if you are one of those people still in his clutches, we’ll be thinking of your future comeback too. God is faithful — he will continue to speak truth to your broken heart.