Watching the AFC Championship game literally in a thatched hut on the side of a hill in Honduras with a half-dozen Colts fans, I had no idea that what would determine the outcome of the game weren't the dropped passes, the touchdowns, the kick returns, the refs' calls or the sacks. In fact, nothing actually happening on the field determined who would win or lose that game. Which team would represent the AFC in the Super Bowl would be the team that won the battle that was raging on the sidelines.
While New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was focused on calling plays, while defensive players were trying to recover after long Colts drives, and while Tom Brady was looking at pictures of the plays of previous drives, the Colts weren't worrying themselves with meaningless tasks like these. They were on their sideline doing what any team that really wants to win would do. They were laser-focused on finally beating the Patriots, and they knew there was one sure way to finally overcome their arch-nemesis.
They were praying.
"I said, 'Lord, don't let these guys celebrate on our field,'" Colts coach Tony Dungy said after the game. Dungy has been a vocal Christian for years and will be honored at a fundraising dinner in March for the Indiana Family Institute, an organization that focuses on preventing gay marriage and adoption rights in Indiana.
The senior pastor at Dungy's church was praying that Dungy would have an even larger stage to preach his Christian beliefs. He got what he wanted.
"We wanted God to bless Tony to have the opportunity to get into those very visible games, especially the Super Bowl," Moore told the Indianapolis Star. "We knew that he would give his Christian testimony. We prayed for that. And that is exactly what he has done.
With every passing victory, Moore expects Dungy to talk more and more about Jesus and God and the miracles of prayer.
"To have a man of faith walking the sidelines is a sermon in itself," Moore said. "Tony will reach millions for Christ. He will reach people for Christ that we could never begin to reach in our pulpits."
Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri agrees. "It gives us a big podium and great opportunity ... to be out there and glorify Him," Vinatieri said of Super Bowl XXXIX, in which his Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles.
After the game, both Dungy and Colts owner Jim Irsay thanked "the Lord" for their team's victory. Not their players. Not their fans. "The Lord." (This was, of course, 12 months after they had burned their Bibles following last year's crushing defeat on the same field of the playoffs, when God had picked the Pittsburgh Steelers to win that game.)
Colts center Jeff Saturday was also praying on the sidelines. Against the Patriots, Saturday became one of the very rare offensive lineman to have scored a touchdown in the NFL playoffs. And he said it was all because of God.
"There's no rhyme or reason why, but God gets the glory because he did it," Saturday said.
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was praying, too. As was wide receiver Reggie Wayne. It was a regular revival in the RCA Dome last Sunday, and God obviously had taken the Colts laying the three points. If only Belichick and Brady had taken a knee, bowed their heads, and had a moment of silence with two minutes left in the game, maybe they would have won instead.
Why has God suddenly shone His light on a team that has been known for years as a pack of choke artists? Surely the Colts had prayed before and been crushed by defeat. Why did He, the Lord Almighty Our Savior, choose that game to shed His glory on His Colts?
You have to look no further than the team's two big changes since their embarrassment at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers, whom God went on to help win Super Bowl XL.
First, they got rid of Edgerrin James, who is surely a non-Christian (or if he is, he's probably an Episcopalian, for heaven's sake). You wonder if James is a true Christian? Just look at what God has done to him to punish him for failing to believe in His plan for His Colts: With the Cardinals this year, James was reduced to his worst per-carry yardage in his career and his fewest touchdowns since 2002. Plus, he was on a team that lost over twice as many games as it won.
Putting His Colts in the Super Bowl the season after James left was just throwing salt pillars on his wounds.
The second was the title-clincher. It changed the power structure of the entire NFL. What looked like the signing of a position considered lowly among NFL experts has become the most significant acquisition in league history.
The Colts acquired Adam Vinatieri, the Messiah returned, the Son of God, Jesus Our Lord and Savior.
Consider this. The archaic symbols for male and female are to the right. The entire book "The Da Vinci Code," about the bloodline of Christ, is based on these symbols. If these two symbols were letters, they would be the letters A and V: Adam Vinatieri. The inheritor of Christ's blood. The holy grail. Our savior.
Call it "The Dungy Code."
Coincidence? Believe it or not, there's more!
Revelations 19:14 discusses what will happen when the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the son of God and Christ Almighty, returns to earth: "The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean."
Three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse in their white uniforms. The end is near.
The uniform of the Colts is white. A colt is, afterall, a horse. And "clean": The Colts play indoors on a manmade surface with no dirt.
Victory for the Colts is not just determined by God; It was decided by Him over 1,500 years ago when the New Testament was written: Vinatieri is the Messiah and the Colts are the horsemen of the apocalypse. Get your life insurance while supplies last.
If only Bill Belichick had read the New Testament, he would have given Vinatieri all the money he wanted. Instead, Belichick, by allowing Vinatieri to go to the white-clad Colts, assured the destruction of humanity.
So will a Colts victory, as happens upon the return of the Messiah in the Book of Revelations, signal Armageddon and the end of life as we know it? While it's entirely likely, we can't be sure.
But one thing is for sure: If the Indianapolis Colts win the Super Bowl, we can expect a heck of a lot more of "God," "He," "Him," "The Lord," "My Savior" and "Jesus Christ" in the post-game interviews