- NFL running back Christian McCaffrey has turned to the Bible for guidance throughout his career.
- His favorite verse is Proverbs 1:7. He states “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”
- This mantra has shaped his approach to opponents and drives him to play without fear.
In the New International Version of the Bible, the verse Proverbs 1:7 reads, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
For NFL All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, the verse is more than just handwriting, but a mindset he uses on every play.
“If you fear God, it’s not like you fear him, but it’s about respect,” McCaffrey told Insider. “As an athlete, it tells you not to fear anyone. I’m not afraid of anyone, and that can kind of give you that boost of confidence that you need in life, that there’s only one person you should fear and respect in this high esteem, and that is God.”
After a 2020 season in which he missed 13 games with a sprained ankle, a twisted quadruple and a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 8, McCaffrey s relied on the fearlessness of his faith to overcome something more unknown than an NFL opponent. : his physical mortality.
“The first time I missed a game was this year, so it was new for me and it was tough for me,” McCaffrey said. “I just went through the fire, and I think that’s the best way to get through something. If you’re sad, you’re sad, if you’re really p—-off, you’re p– — off, but you feel that emotion and you can just control it to nudge you in the right direction.
“All you can ask for is the opportunity to honor God, and that means triumphs, and that means struggles.”
As a lifelong Catholic, McCaffrey’s faith was central to his mental conditioning as an athlete.
It has grounded him since his high school career at Valor Christian in his home state of Colorado, where he excelled to earn United States Army honors in 2014. And before that, at St. Thomas More Catholic School from kindergarten to eighth grade.
“I wore the pants and the collared shirt every day for about nine years,” McCaffrey said. “When I’m right spiritually, and I’m right mentally, and everything in my life aligns, that all matters when it comes to performing well, too.”
This upbringing earned him a football scholarship to Stanford University as a second generation legacy. He broke program records as a first-team All-American en route to being drafted 8th overall by the Carolina Panthers in 2017.
From his rookie season, McCaffrey put his faith at the forefront of his platform as a public figure to deal with daunting circumstances. In September 2017, when the NFL saw its first wave of players kneel during the national anthem in protest inspired by Colin Kaepernick, McCaffrey advocated for the spread of respect, positivity and kindness to overcome bullying. of racial injustice.
“There’s a lot of hate in the world today, and I think it’s really important for everyone to take a step back, look in the mirror, and when they wake up, just try to be the best possible person. people with respect, put a smile on someone else’s face,” McCaffrey told reporters during a locker room scrum. “I’m a religious person, and I think the Bible is a great place to start; spreading positivity, being selfless, being generous and being kind is the main thing I want to show.”
For McCaffrey, overcoming fear is complemented by this commitment, as seen in his favorite chapters of the Bible.
“My favorite chapters of the Bible are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, simply because they all offer a different perspective on the life of Jesus,” McCaffrey told Insider. “Whether you believe it or not, the kind of person he was, it gives perspective on how we should all live.”