On Monday night, freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa boosted the Atlanta Crimson Tide to victory over the Georgia Bulldogs, making a powerful 41-yard pass to beat Georgia in overtime. When interviewed by ESPN, the rising star didn’t take glory for himself — he gave it to God.
When asked what his victory means to him, Tagovailoa balanced the elation of his victory with humble thanks to God. “In this moment, it means the world but at the same time, all glory goes to God,” the freshman quarterback said. “I can’t describe what He has done for me and my family. I thank God for that.”
Tagovailoa even bucked the sports trend by thanking God before thanking his parents. “First and foremost, I just want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, with whom all things are possible,” the quarterback declared. “That’s what happened tonight.”
Tagovailoa, who had never started a game and appeared in only seven games this season, became the offense MVP of the NCAA championship game. Thrown into the second half of the game, he threw two touchdown passes before overtime and set Alabama up to win the game in overtime. He won the game in overtime with a powerful 41-yard pass. He led the Alabama offense with 166 yards.
Yet, at his moment of glory, Tagovailoa gave the glory to God. This echoed the spirit of his “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Jesus, whom Christians believe was the very Son of God, spoke humbly, saying things like, “I can do nothing of myself” (John 5:30).
Jesus taught that the poor in spirit and the meek are blessed, and lived a life of meekness and humility, as an example to His followers. (“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” — Matthew 11:29.)
Jesus submitted to the will of His Father, becoming obedient even to a painful and humiliating death, so God elevated Him, giving Him “the name above all names, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).
Jesus told His disciples, “For if any man is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).
Tagovailoa was not ashamed of Jesus, boldly declaring Him before men, in the very moment of his great achievement. He gave God the glory, rather than seizing it for himself. In this, he followed the example of his Lord and Savior.
Throughout the Bible, God promises that “whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12, Luke 14:11, I Peter 5:6, Psalm 138:6, Proverbs 3:34). This does not necessarily mean Tagovailoa will continue to be a rising star in college football and beyond, but it does mean the Son of Man will not be ashamed of him in the world to come — and God will exalt Tagovailoa, whether in this life or the life to come.
Watch the video of this rising star’s comments below.