Especially in December and January, football fans cheer extra loudly for their playoff teams—hoping for the chance to head to the “Big Game.”
But over the past few months, fans have been cheering in another way, voting for their favorite stories in the National Football League’s “Together We Make Football” contest, where the winners will head to Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Ariz.
This morning, NBC’s “Today” Show, a partner in the contest, announced the winners, and Christian Osterhout, a high school football player in Edmond, Okla., was chosen as the winner in the individual category. His heartwarming story has ties to FCA area representative, Sarah Roberts. For the contest, the NFL asked fans what football means to them. For Christian, it means family.
Christian’s father passed away during his freshman year of high school, and just a few years later, his mother died as well. After Christian’s father died, his football coach at Crossings Christian School, Chris Roberts, asked Christian to lunch, and those meetings became weekly occurrences. Once Christian’s mother became sicker, the young athlete began to worry about what would happen if she died as well. The Roberts had become a second family to him, so he asked if he could live with Chris, his wife Sarah, the FCA area representative in Edmond, Okla., and their children. Plans were made with Christian’s mother before she died.
“The story of Christian Osterhout and the Roberts family truly shows what happens when sports and faith collide,” said Les Steckel, President and CEO of FCA. “Chris and Sarah Roberts gave selflessly to a student-athlete who needed them by opening their home and welcoming Christian into their family. The entire FCA family couldn’t be happier for the Roberts crew and Christian, and we hope they have a thrilling experience at the Super Bowl next month.”
All season long, the NFL accepted entries for the contest, and Sarah was the one to submit a video of Christian’s story. In November, Christian was announced as a “Together We Make Football” finalist, when Christian, Chris and Sarah visited the “Today” Show set—and the online voting around the country began. Voting closed Jan. 4.
This morning, the “Today” Show aired a video featuring former NFL star and NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders visiting the Roberts home to announce that Christian had won a ticket to the Super Bowl—along with seven more so he can take the Roberts family with him.
“We are overwhelmed at the support that we have received as a family, because it really has been an honor to show what the body of Christ looks like,” said Sarah Roberts, “We are ‘Team Roberts,’ so the fact that we are, as a team, going to watch the biggest game in football season is so exciting.”
To watch the story of Christian and the Roberts family, visit www.TogetherWeMakeFootball.com.