The first weekend of the NFL Playoffs featured little in the way of compelling play. Weather greatly impacted many games, as snow and brutal cold neutered some teams and generally handicapped the quality of the action on the field. Factor in the outrage from many fans regarding the streaming-only situation that Peacock and the NFL cooked up for the Saturday night game featuring Taylor Swift and the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins, and it made for a disappointing first weekend.
However, that isn’t to imply that there weren’t compelling storylines. Tampa Bay stunned the Super Bowl runner-up Philadelphia Eagles, the Green Bay Packers and first-year starter Jordan Love bounced the Cowboys in the first round yet again, and the Detroit Lions ended years of misery by winning their first playoff game since 1991.
The most compelling storyline of the weekend, however, was Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. The superstar rookie became the youngest player to win a playoff game in league history as he wrecked the Cleveland Browns vaunted defense in Houston. What happened after the game courtesy of NBC is drawing criticism now.
Stroud is a Christian, and he openly professes his faith and thanks Jesus Christ for his abilities and being blessed to be an NFL quarterback. Naturally, that open praise and worship doesn’t sit well with the television broadcast networks or the liberal media.
After the victory over the Browns, Stroud was interviewed on the field and immediately thanked God. NBC Sports sideline reporter Kathryn Tappen asked: “CJ, your first playoff game and your first NFL season and a record setting performance for you. What does this moment mean?” The young superstar quarterback began as he always does, thanking his Lord and Savior. He began: “First and foremost, I just want to give all glory and praise to my Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Stroud then went on to talk about Houston and the season they are having. He continued: “I mean, it’s been amazing, being in this city as short as I’ve been, but the love that I’ve got; I really just be doing it for Houston, man. People back home, I’m blessed enough to be in the position I am and blessed enough to be playing at a high level right now and we got to just keep it going.”
After the broadcast, NBC clipped the comments and removed the portion where Stroud professed his faith before posting it to social media. Backlash on social media has been swift and harsh for NBC and the NFL. A group called Citizen Free Press commented: “NBC edited out Houston QB CJ Stroud’s praise of Jesus Christ in their post-game interview posted to X. “Why did @SNFonNBC remove Stroud saying ‘First and foremost, I just want to give all glory and praise to my Lord, Jesus Christ.’” They followed it up by asking, “It’s disconcerting to realize NBC is actively censoring a player praising Jesus after a massive win. Would NBC have censored his speech if he praised transgenders or Palestinians?” Watch the clip here:
It’s a fair question that NBC likely will never answer. It has become more acceptable to show support for terrorists and radical agendas than to praise Jesus Christ on national television. In the end, controversy sells, and praising Jesus isn’t popular on network television. Considering the success of C.J. Stroud, the networks better prepare themselves for years of open praise and worship.