By Chad Bonham
Super Bowl XXXVIII (February 1, 2004): New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29
When the New England Patriots called Brian Kinchen late in the 2003 NFL season, it was a shocking development for the retired athlete turned middle school teacher and coach. Kinchen had been away from the game for nearly three years and was dumbfounded when a playoff bound team offered him a tryout to replace not one, but two injured long snappers.
He won the job a day later and did his best to regain the form he had developed over a venerable 12-year career. After two solid regular season games, however, Kinchen started to feel the pressure during the playoffs. The weight of an increasingly likely appearance in the Super Bowl grew heavier with each snap. Things only got worse when the team arrived in Houston a week before the big game and Kinchen considered asking team officials to send him home.
But during his most tumultuous inner struggles, he referred back to an Old Testament verse that gave him the courage to overcome the raging doubts that wracked his mind.
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
On Super Bowl Sunday, Kinchen was still fighting nerves and prayed that the game would not come down to a kick. That particular prayer went unanswered as quarterback Tom Brady marched the Patriots down the field and set up a game-winning field goal attempt for Adam Vinatieri with just nine seconds remaining on the clock.
Kinchen positioned himself over the ball and leaned on that passage in Ecclesiastes one more time. His snap was perfect and the kick was true. New England defeated Carolina 32-29 in one of the most exciting Super Bowls in NFL history.
Not long after his heroic moment, Kinchen would come to realize the greater purpose behind it all.
“I could not accomplish what I had to do without God,” Kinchen told CBN. “It was like He was just stripping me down….just to depend on Him, because I had no clue where that ball was going.”
This devotional is brought to you by Museum of the Bible, a 430,000 square foot museum being constructed 3 blocks south of the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. and is set to open in November of 2017.
Brian Kinchen is the subject of the forthcoming documentary Before The Kick.
(Photos: Scott Pioli; Brian Kinchen; Kelly Kerr)