Sunday night, Vikings quarterback Case Keenum led his team to one of the most improbable last-second comebacks in NFL history. Down 24-23, with the clock running out, the Vikings had time for one last play. From his own 39-yard-line, Keenum found a receiver down the sideline for the winning score. But it is what he said after the game that matters most.
In a post-game interview, Keenum called this the third best day of his life. What is first and second? Keenum identified “the day I gave my life to Christ” and “the day I married my wife” and numbers one and two.
This journeyman quarterback, listed as third string to start the season, is suddenly on the precipice of the Super Bowl, which will be played in his home stadium. But there is more to Case Keenum than just football.
I discovered that for myself four years ago. Case spoke at my alma mater, Houston Baptist University. After the meeting I sat with him at lunch. He’s the real deal: humble, kind, and most of all, passionate about his faith.
Keenum was born into football. His dad coached football at McMurry University in Texas. He starred as quarterback at Wylie High School in Abilene, Texas. He then attended the University of Houston, the only major program to offer him a scholarship. At UH, he set major college football records: most passing yards (19,217), passing touchdowns (155), and was twice awarded the Sammy Baugh Trophy as the nation’s top passer.
Undrafted by the NFL – for being undersized at just over six feet – he was signed as a free agent by the Houston Texans. He has bounced around the league, playing for the Texans (twice), Rams (twice), and now the Vikings. He started this season third on the depth chart. But when injuries thrust Keenum into action, he was ready. He responded with one of the best seasons any NFL quarterback has had. He now has the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Case credits his faith for his success. “My faith is the number one thing that makes me, me. It is what my identity is in; it’s not in this game. I know that, although I do put everything I have into this game. But it’s not a life-or-death thing for me.”
He continued, “I want to do the very best I can, all the time. And I want to honor God when I do that. I think I do when I leave it all on the field.”
Case Keenum is an All-Pro NFL quarterback, just one game away from reaching his football dream of playing in a Super Bowl. But he has already achieved his greatest dream. He says, “I am a child of the King. So I win, regardless of what the scoreboard says at the end of the game.”