If there was any player the sports media wanted to hear from on the first weekend of the NFL playoffs, it had to be quarterback C.J. Stroud.
Stroud, a rookie first-round pick by the Houston Texans, a team in the basement of the AFC South last season, looked like anything but a first-year player in his first playoff game.
After leading the team to a surprise division title with a victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the final game of the season, Stroud tied a record by throwing three touchdowns in a 45-14 blowout by the 10-7 Texans over the favored 11-6 Cleveland Browns on Saturday.
The three TDs tied a record for most in a game by a rookie — and Stroud is in good company, too. According to CBS Sports, Washington Redskins legend Sammy Baugh initially set the record in 1937, and it was tied by two other worthy candidates: Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott in 2016 and last year’s unlikely rookie sensation, the San Francisco 49ers Brock Purdy.
He also ended the game with a 157.2 passer rating (out of a possible 158.3), the fourth-highest for any quarterback in an NFL playoff game, period. (And the highest for a rookie.)
His final numbers clocked in at 16 of 21 for 274 yards. Not to throw any shade on Bryce Young — the Alabama quarterback picked ahead of Ohio State’s Stroud with the No. 1 choice in the 2023 NFL Draft, and who struggled mightily in his rookie season — but there are plenty of people in the Carolina Panthers’ front office with huge bruises on their shins from kicking themselves repeatedly during the Texans-Browns game.
All of which is to say, wouldn’t you like to know where a 22-year-old with massive expectations on his shoulders coming to a bottom-dwelling franchise got the strength to weather the storm of transitioning to the NFL and not only surviving, but thriving?
As a matter of fact, you don’t have to pry too hard: Mr. Stroud is more than happy to tell you that all glory is to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Funny thing, though: Despite the fact he said this in a post-game interview, NBC decided to cut that whole part out when it was posted to social media. Funny how that works.
The initial, uncensored clip featured NBC Sports sideline reporter Kathryn Tappen asking Stroud about his “record-setting performance” and what it all meant.
“First and foremost, I just want to give all glory, praise my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Stroud said.
“I mean, it’s been amazing, being in this city for as short as I’ve been, but the love I’ve got — I’ve really just been doing it for Houston, man … I’m blessed to be in the position that I am, blessed enough to be playing at a high level right now,” he continued. “And we’ve got to just keep it going. But I’m super blessed.”
At the end of the interview, Stroud made sure to tell Tappen, “Thank you, God bless.”
CJ Stroud had one of the best playoff performances by a rookie QB in NFL history & then gave praise to his “Lord & Savior Jesus Christ” 👏 pic.twitter.com/L11ySZhJiU
— Jon Root (@JonnyRoot_) January 14, 2024
All in all, a powerful, faith-based message about what’s important in Stroud’s life and how he organizes his priorities around God. He realizes his blessings and where — or, more importantly, Whom — they come from.
And roughly 95 percent of the impact of that message was edited out by NBC when a clip of the interview was posted on social media:
CJ Stroud has a lot of love for his city ❤️ pic.twitter.com/fZ4zFrcqWt
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) January 14, 2024
Yes, we hear Stroud talk about his blessings — but not about Whence they came. What a shocker.
Apparently, some genius video editor thought that eliding over this part of Stroud’s quote would go unnoticed. Spoiler alert: It didn’t:
You thought people wouldn’t notice that you edited out Stroud’s statement of faith and gratitude but we have the receipts.https://t.co/bmkgPYre5g
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) January 17, 2024
what was the first words out of his mouth from the interview? must’ve been a glitch
— Caleb (@Calebsmi28) January 15, 2024
He also has a lot of love for Jesus. Unreal what you’re doing
— Wade Taylor (@W_Pickss) January 15, 2024
On one hand, it’s little surprise that any mention of God gets excised from media coverage if it can be. To say that the media has become aggressively secular is an understatement. It used to be that networks would censor filth and violence; now, they censor God.
The funny thing about God is that He is, well, God — which is to say, omnipotent. By excising Stroud’s profession of faith, what NBC did was draw attention to it; nearly all of the comments on X were individuals lambasting the network for its decision to omit his praise of the Almighty.
In trying to silence Stroud’s piety, all NBC did was amplify it.
It’s almost as if God had a plan that a video editor couldn’t thwart. Imagine that.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.