The 15th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration kicked off Super Bowl weekend, in New York City, and Grammy award-winning singer Patti Label headlined, along with Mary Mary, Natalie Grant, Tamela Mann and Donnie McClurkin for a night of worship ahead of Sunday’s XLVIII game.
The lineup also included, Motown vocalist Tasha Cobbs, who performed during a pre-show and the NFL Players Choir, which comprises active and retired football players. Among the NFL choir members where the Green Bay Packers Victor Aiyewa, the Cincinnati Bengals Terrence Stephens, NY Jets Josh Cribbs and Philadelphia Eagles Jason Avant , Bryan Scott, Cam Newton, Stephen Pierce and former New York Giant Keith Hamilton.
Talk show host Wendy Williams and “EXTRA TV” Correspondent AJ Calloway co-hosted the event. SBGC attendees have been gathering to rejoice at sell-out shows for more than a decade in Super Bowl host cities including San Diego, Tampa and Houston.
The night was not just about football. The event also served as a charity fundraiser, with a portion of the proceeds raised going to select organizations. This year’s proceeds will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Pro Player Insider’s Theresa Villano caught up with former Buffalo Bill Bryan Scott, former player Cam Newton, and Eagles Jason Avant at Madison Square Garden to find out about their experience in the choir, their faith, and their love of music. Check out their interviews below:
PPI: You spoke on some of the powerful moments you have experienced practicing with the choir. Tell me about one of those meaningful moments.
Scott: Well, during rehearsal, it was like a retreat for us. We fellow shipped, we prayed together, we cried together and just kind of leaned on each other for different things that guys are going through. This is really a time where we come together and just use each other for strength and encouragement.
PPI: Who are the strong voices in the choir?
Scott: I don’t want to give away too many secrets but we have some very strong singers this year. You’ll see a couple guys new to the choir, like Cam Newton. His voice is unbelievable and he loves The Lord and he lives the same way.
PPI: What’s your favorite bible verse?
Scott: Hebrews 11:1. All about faith.
PPI: What role does music first, and faith play in your life?
Newton: I’ve been singing all my life. I grew up in the church, been apart of groups all my life. It’s very important to me to keep it going on and its good to be amongst most of my friends.
PPI: Which guys in the NFL choir do you personally know and hang out with?
Newton: Bryan Scott, I actually record in his study with him.
PPI: What instruments do you play?
Newton: I try to play the drums but I’m really not that inclined with the instruments.
PPI: Describe in a couple sentences what gospel music does for you?
Newton: It definitely soothe the soul. It warms my heart, you know? It really takes control of everything.
Avant: Just coming out to enjoy Jesus Christ and to enjoy some of the other fellow NFL players. Also, number 1–to let our youth know that you can be strong, tough and stuff and all those things and still serve god and we’re not ashamed of him. So, to give someone a different avenue, a way out of some hard times by directing their life through Christ.
PPI: Tell me in a few sentences, describe how your faith has helped your career and how it plays a part in the Eagles.
Avant: It’s everything. We have human nature and you feel certain feelings or emotions of fear. You feel emotions of depression. You feel all these different emotions that everyone else feels, but when you have Christ, you know that you can overcome the darkest hour and the roughest time. You have the courage down in the inside that tells you not to give up and that’s how Jesus Christ really affects us. You have no fear. You’re literally, unstoppable and he brings that no fear.
Questions: Who is the spiritual player in the locker room for the Eagles?
Avant: We have a lot of them. We have Brad Smith who just came, myself, Nick Foles. “Nice” is going to another level and that’s a huge part of his turnaround from early to late. [That's] him surrendering himself totally to the word of god and surrendering to what the bible is saying.
PPI: What is your favorite bible verse?
Avant: I don’t have a favorite bible verse. This is what I do have and want to say…’The bible is so in!’ Whatever I’m going through, that’s my favorite bible verse. There are so many different bible verses, but the Lord is my life, my salvation. Who should I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Whom should I be afraid? All of those scriptures. Whatever is coming through to me or speaking to me in the situation I’m going through, that’s my favorite scripture.
Friend of PPI Stephen Pierce (former Chicago Bear and NFLPA Former Players San Diego Chapter President) has participated in the Super Bowl Gospel celebration for over 5 years. Throughout the week Pierce promoted the star studded even represented the NFL Players Choir on Good Morning America in Times Square. Check out some of his insider pictures from the week:
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