The Faith of the West Point Football Team

The RecordOnline reports on the many faithful members of the US Military Academy’s football team:

They sprint onto Blaik Field and head directly to the north end zone. About 20 or so Army teammates take a knee and pray individually.

Some prayers last a few seconds. Others are deeper. They ask for both teams to be safe. They express how thankful they are for the opportunity and ability they’ve been given.

“Sometimes, I stand up after I’m done praying and I look around and I couldn’t be happier,” said Jon Crucitti, a sophomore running back. “There’s just so many guys down there. They are here for all the right reasons.”

Faith and football has an interesting and wide-ranging history, from Fisher Deberry at the US Air Force Academy, to Midshipmen at the US Naval Academy, to Tim Tebow, now of the Denver Broncos.  It seems much of the West Point football ritual involves teammate-led prayer and reflection:

Justin Schaaf stands on the 33-yard line and prays before each game. “That’s the age Christ died,” says Schaaf, a senior linebacker.

Just minutes earlier, Schaaf is leading the team in a pregame prayer inside Army’s locker room. It’s called, “Schaaf Time,” on the team’s game-day itinerary. Schaaf reads a passage from the Bible, helping his teammates get mentally prepared for what lies ahead.

Kick returner Cadet Scott Williams has a similar drive from his faith:

Scott Williams says West Point was his calling…

“The whole reason why I’m here is because of religion,” Williams said. “I honestly don’t know how people get through without religion. I base everything on what Christ did and he was the ultimate warrior.”

These West Point cadets have brought their faith to their profession, and they are integrating their faith into their lives.  By all accounts, some of their teammates have joined them, and they give no indication of anything but positive responses.

Becoming a military cadet — whether at West Point or any of the other military academies — does not mean you have to abandon your faith.  In fact, as some of these cadets have mentioned, being a football player or military cadet of faith can give you an immensely influential platform to share your faith.


  • As one who ran around the same turf as a footballer (1960-62), was the Heavyweight Brigade Boxing Champ, later played college ball (University of Cincinnati, OH), was drafted & signed (12th round) by old Baltimore Colts (NFL) and who also played with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL), don’t you think it’s time we give up these supernatural creations of the human mind and get down to business?!?!? Our destiny is to get on out there and colonize this solar system – as a starter, first. I ask you, where would our space exploration program be if we steered instead to it the total resources that we now divert to religions (wars included) ?

    Take a look at and/or (just click on Atheism in the gray box near the top).

    GROW UP FOR BUMBA’S SAKE!!! It’s stories like this that almost make me want to worship BUMBA — see

  • Go ahead and worship BUMBA…more power to ya.

    If you’re a non-believer, fine…good for you. But why must you discredit those with faith?

    I don’t complain that someone doesn’t have faith or doesn’t thank God for what they have…

    Where is the mutual respect and tolerance?

  • @Lt Frank
    The mutual respect is violated by the religious in this country with the newer motto: In God We Trust. Don’t you think the original de facto motto of our country since 1782: E Pluribus Unum, better reflects the atmosphere of mutual respect and tolerance you’re asking for? Why perpetuate such unilateral invasion of religious neutrality by maintaining this newer motto put in place due to political calculations from the era of Cold War?

  • wow. just wow.

    a pathetic display of belief in something which anyone can see is made up, and it somehow should be ‘good for the spirit’?

  • The ultimate warrior?!

    Are we talking about the same “Christ?”

  • Amazing how those who complain about “tolerance” are most intolerant themselves. Kinda funny actually…

  • ……pearls before swine

  • “Our destiny is to get on out there and colonize this solar system(…)where would our space exploration program be if we steered instead to it the total resources that we now divert to religions (wars included) ?”

    Socialist-technocratic delusions. The “Star Trek Utopianism” that is so typical of so many militant-atheists. All “reason” and “science” and yet most of you fail to have the most basic understanding of science, engineering, economics and Human nature.