Football in the NFL is a particularly violent sport. It is therefore something of advantage to be mentally insulated from reality. Thus you will find that NFL football players tend to be significantly more religious than the average fan in the big cities where they play. Brought down to its essence many of these athletes in the NFL take the hopeful attitude that God will protect me.

Moreover, there is the added factor that medical experts say that the human brain does not fully mature until about the average age of 25. This is what makes youth under that age a little wild and reckless — the reason why army’s tent to want to send young men into battle before doubt about the wisdom of charging headlong into enemy fire begins to take hold. The same is true of young men coming into to hyped up violence of the NFL

Now take the young quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, Carson Wentz, for example. Wentz is a particularly religious fellow who grew up in fairly isolated North Dakota. Went is always taking about his lord and savior Jesus Christ. It would be reasonable to assume that he, his family and friends in the far north lived in a sea of the Christian faith.

Then suddenly the rapidly maturely Wentz finds himself in a big eastern metropolis where much of the fan base is somewhat indifferent to God and religion — a sophisticate sea of many perspectives and beliefs. Sure a lot of folks around him may go to church on Sunday, but it’s more a social habit thing rather than a true believer cause.

Wentz’s faith was reinforced in Philadelphia by the fact that many of his fellow players and his coach were serious Christians. His backup quarterback and the 2017 Super Bowl MVP, Nick Foles, another true believer, however, has left the team for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Combine that factor with fact that in Philadelphia he is no longer swimming in a sea of intense Christian belief, along with a brain that is gaining intellectual maturity, one wonders how much mental insulation from NFL violence has been worn away. Yes, he may be suddenly failing because many of the key players around him have been lost to injury, but it seems to be more than that — the doubt that can creep in with an erosion of faith caused by a maturing intellect and boarding experiences.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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