Win or Lose, C.J. Stroud Praises God

In Articles by Carter Brooks

The legend of C.J. Stroud continues to grow.

The Houston Texans’ second overall pick from the 2023 NFL Draft earned his way to the starter’s role for Week 1, and by most accounts put up a season more than deserving of the annual Offensive Rookie of the Year recognition.

His 4,108 passing yards as a rookie ranked him third all-time, while his 23/5 touchdown/interception ratio was tops among all quarterbacks this season. Stroud also set NFL rookie records for most passing attempts without an interception to start a career (192) and most passing yards in a game by a rookie (470).

He did all this while working with a depleted offence and offensive line. No one expected much of the Texans heading into the 2023-24 season, but thanks to their first-year quarterback, Houston made it to the NFL postseason with an AFC South-best 10-7 record.

Stroud, who started Week 1 under centre at the tender age of 21, almost flawlessly transitioned from college football stardom to the gridiron that makes up America’s favourite Sunday afternoon pastime.

A finalist for the Heisman Trophy as college football’s most outstanding player in both 2021 and 2022, C.J. Stroud continued operating at the same pace in his first professional season.

And much like that of his work ethic, Stroud also maintained a calm demeanour and an outspoken attitude toward his strong faith in Jesus and his Christian beliefs when dealing with the media.

“It’s been a blessing, it’s been a heck of a year,” C.J. Stroud said following the completion of the regular season. “I thank God I can just go another week with my teammates. This is like a dream come true as a reminder of how close we are as a team.

“But it’s hard,” he continued. “People hold you to a standard, and that’s what we want as Christians. You know we’re holding our own crosses and we’re trying to be like Christ as much as possible…We make mistakes. We’re not perfect. But, at the same time, we know that with God, we can do all things through Christ that strengthens us. I’m just really blessed to be part of a great group of God-fearing men.”

On January 13, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound gunslinger became the youngest NFL quarterback to win a postseason game (22 years, 102 days) while tying the rookie record for most touchdown passes thrown in a playoff game, as his Texans beat the favourite Cleveland Browns 45-14.

“I can’t do nothing but thank my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” Stroud said in his post-game interview following the Wild Card victory. “I’m just blessed enough to be the vessel that Christ picked to lead this great franchise. So, I can do nothing but thank the Lord.”

C.J. Stroud’s Texans did not fare quite as well in the divisional round, dropping the second postseason game of his career to former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, 34-10. But for Houston head coach DeMeco Ryans, one game does not take anything away from Stroud’s sensational season.

“Proud of him, proud of his resolve, his confidence, throughout the entire year,” Ryans said. “He was the guy breaking our team down, he’s the leader of our team, and I’m so proud of him, proud of how he’s grown as a player and as a leader. It’s fun to watch. Really awesome young man, and the sky’s the limit for him and what he can do in his career.”

Then it was Stroud’s turn to face the music, as he took to the podium for his media conference following the season-ending loss. His words drew the attention of the football world—or rather, the Christian community.

After being asked to provide his thoughts on the loss, Stroud once again began by giving praise and thanks to God. He then continued to answer reporters’ questions about the game, before being asked by a reporter about his ability to praise God and rely on his faith despite the difficult result.

“It’s what I lean on through thick and thin,” he said of his faith. “Honestly, I know I’m upset right now, but I’m really just blessed looking back on this year, this opportunity we had today to play in front of millions of people. I’m just really grateful to God for all the opportunities that He’s blessed me with. I’m just going to lean on Him, and I know that this isn’t the end for me, it’s more football for me to play and I’m just excited for that.”

“I’m just super blessed with the guys who I line it up with every week this year, and I’m just really, really thankful to God just on how much He’s brought me from. Really, from I can go all the way back since I was a kid, to college, to Week 1 to now, I’ve grown as a person and as a man of God in a lot of different ways, so I’m just really blessed for that.”

At just 22 years old, C.J. Stroud is sure to give football fans in Houston a fighting chance to see their team in meaningful football games for the foreseeable future, all while deflecting his praise the right way.

Carter Brooks
Carter Brooks is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, coaching hockey is his favorite pastime.
Carter Brooks
Carter Brooks is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, coaching hockey is his favorite pastime.