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One of my favorite devotions from my son Jake’s book (an A-Z football devotional) – FIRST AND GOAL – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up

Position – Eleven players from each team are on the field at a time, and each player has a position, role, and responsibility to complete the offense, defense, or special teams.

I am a firstborn. My little brother, Nick, five years younger than me, was the last addition to the gang. In his baby years, he was happiest in one position–cradled in my lap, watching the screen as I played video games. At first it was a pain, but I got used to playing with him.


Playing video games with Nick.

My favorite games were Madden sports games. It wasn’t long before Nick’s position changed. He soon sat beside me, holding his own controller. Later, he was a real competitor, learning the football positions and eventually becoming a formidable challenger.

At age 17 I zipped up my suitcase, ready to leave for college.

“Let’s play one more game before you go.” Nick wiped a tear on his sleeve.

I took my position on the floor with Nick beside me. He beat me. I didn’t even let him. Soon the game ended. The hardest thing about leaving for college was watching my little brother tear up when I said my final goodbye.

While I was in college, I got a call from Nick. “Hey, I’m with my friends, playing you on Madden NCAA 2012.”

By that time I was actually in the college football video game, and he was proud to be picking me as a player. “Give me extra strength,” I said. “Pump up my muscles.”

“Right now I’m giving you a really huge butt and little chicken legs.”

Chuckles came through the phone.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another (Romans 12:10 nkjv).

Through the laughter I could hear Nick’s pride and love. When he was a kid, he’d sometimes drive me nuts always wanting to hang out with me and my friends, but I had done my best to bring him into my world. It’s what a big brother should do. Most of my friends were cool with Nick hanging out with us.

Now when we get together, I want to spend all my free time hanging out with Nick and his friends.

Nick and his teammate Daniel Cadona.

Nick and his teammate Daniel Cadona.

He’s also a football player, a tight end. Same position I played through high school, college, and into the NFL.


Nick, a Ragin’ Cajun @ The University of Louisiana – Lafayette

There’s nothing like having a brother, especially one like Nick. God says to give preference to one another. That means putting that person first, be it a brother or one who is like a brother to you. The paybacks are great.


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Sister Betsy and Nick

With Nick at a college football camp, giving him a few pointers while I was with the New Orleans Saints.

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Nick, sister Betsy


So proud of my kiddos, Jake, Betsy and Nick and so pleased that they are all the best of friends–from childhood to adulthood. First and GoalThe devotional above is an excerpt from Jake’s Book, FIRST AND GOAL – WHAT FOOTBALL TAUGHT ME ABOUT NEVER GIVING UP, now available from most all booksellers. Published by Harvest House Publishers 

Bio for Jake: Jake Byrne grew up in Rogers, Arkansas. A type 1 diabetic since the age of fourteen, he has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger.

Jake blogs at www.typewon.net.

Facebook Page (Type Won): www.facebook.com/typewon1

Twitter: @sugarfreejb82

Instagram: Jakebyrne81

Email: typewonquestions@gmail.com

First and Goal Book Page: https://www.facebook.com/FirstAndGoalTypeWon