Chaplain for New York Giants speaks to Trading Ford Baptist Church congregation
By Sarah Nagem
Football fans know David Tyree as the guy who made a game-winning catch for the New York Giants in the Super Bowl last winter.George McGovern knows him as a devoted Christian.
McGovern, who is the chaplain for the Giants, told the congregation at Trading Ford Baptist Church last week that Tyree is a respectable guy.
In fact, McGovern said, Tyree is the only player he would feel comfortable asking to speak to a religous group without the fear of him getting arrested for some wrongdoing the next day.
“David Tyree is a Christian,” McGovern said. “He’s a committed Christian.”
He said Tyree is convinced that God chose him to catch that pass during the Giants’ last drive of the game to make an example of him.
McGovern spoke to members of the church on Long Ferry Road last Wednesday. His wife’s parents, Bud and Peggy Pettigrew, moved to North Carolina a few years ago and attend Trading Ford Baptist Church.As a guest speaker, McGovern talked about the status of athletes and people’s willingness to listen to them ó even when they talk about God.
Oh, and he talked about football, too.
“This has been a remarkable year in the NFL,” McGovern said. “The Giants came out of nowhere, really, to upset some teams.”
McGovern serves as chaplain for the New York Yankees as well as the Giants. He said he places the players in an “up and outer” category. That is, they have more than they need.
Other folks are in the “down and outer” category ó having less than they need to get by, McGovern said. Or they are part of the “in and outer” category, which he described as having less than they need sometimes and more than they need other times.
People are most likely to listen and be influenced by the successful “up and outers,” such as professional athletes, McGovern said.
After all, he said, companies pay athletes big bucks to endorse their products.
He wants athletes to use their status to reach people in positive ways.
But too many people are allowing outward appearances and affluence to define “the finish line in the race of life,” McGovern said.
Materialism has become too important, he said, and life is about so much more.
Often, McGovern said, the ladder of success “is leaning up against the wrong building.”
He said professional athletes, who are role models for youth, have all the material possessions they could want. But some of these athletes are at a loss for purpose and meaning in life, McGovern said.
He conducts Bible studies with the players and sometimes meets with them one-on-one, he said.
An average of 20 to 25 Giants players and coaches attend McGovern’s worship service on Saturdays before games, he said. The team has 53 players on its roster and 16 coaches, he said.
His wife, Cindy, ministers to the wives and girlfriends of coaches and players.
McGovern said he became a Christian during his freshmen year of college. He worked in campus ministry, mostly at Rutgers University, from 1976 until 1990.
Then he served as chaplain for the New York Mets and Jets until 1995.
He switched to the Yankees and Giants the next year.
McGovern wasn’t much of an athlete himself in high school. But he did play golf.
“In 1970, if you said you played on a golf team, they felt sorry for you,” McGovern said. “That was the closest I got to varsity athletics.”
But McGovern said he hopes he’s converted a few people to become Giants fans along the way.
One member of the congregation asked him, “What’s your inside take on what’s going to happen when the Giants play the Carolina Panthers?”
That game isn’t scheduled until December. But McGovern had an opinion anyway.
“I’m not a betting man,” he said, “but I would bet on the Giants.”