Inspiring NFL Hall of Fame Speech Shows Relevance of Faith for Athletes, Says Faith-based Website

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Curtis Martin’s honest, grateful enshrinement speech resonates with fans and athletes alike, says faith-based website,

Curtis Martin: "The only way I was going to be successful at this game called football was if I played for a purpose that was bigger than the game itself"

He was never a fan of football and he never wanted to run, but on Saturday, all-star running back, Curtis Martin, was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Upon his enshrinement into the Canton, OH, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Martin delivered a stirring acceptance speech in which he detailed his spiritual journey through the game of football.

Beginning with his humble upbringing in Pittsburgh, Martin detailed the pain of growing up in a broken home. He described in detail how his father used to abuse his mother, how, at a young age, Martin discovered his grandmother murdered, and how he himself narrowly escaped several “brushes” with death.

“I was too young to recognize that God was saving my life,” Martin told the crowd of 12,000. Martin described how he “made a deal with God”: If God would allow him to live past the age of 21, then Martin would “try to live right.”

According to his former coach, Bill Parcells, Martin upheld his end of the bargain. According to a CBS News report, Parcells told the crowd, “He is, I think, the poster child for what the NFL is supposed to be. You come into the league, maximize your abilities, you save your money, you make a smooth transition into society and then you pass all those things on to other people.”

For Martin, football was a way out of the despair and pain of his childhood, he told the crowd. As such, he had “never really been able to identify with the love and passion” that many of his peers felt about football, he said.

So what drove Martin to play for in the NFL for over a decade? “The only way I was going to be successful at this game called football was if I played for a purpose that was bigger than the game itself-- because I knew that the love for the game just wasn't in my heart,” he said.

As the video of Martin delivering his emotional speech circulates on the web, one faith-based website explains why so many are drawn to Martin’s story.

Pastor Jamie of faith-based startup,, says, “Martin’s speech reveals that even professional athletes need to find a source of strength and hope greater than themselves: for Martin, that was his faith in God. People admire that sort of honesty.” That, he said, is an ingredient for Martin’s internet popularity.

Indeed, Martin was reluctant to take the credit for his success on the grid-iron. “I’m not living—I’m not breathing—my life is nothing without God,” Martin concluded on Saturday.

Martin was among six inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Saturday’s ceremony.

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