When the New England Patriots went on a last-minute, go-ahead drive and eventually headed into overtime in the AFC championship game on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, seemingly all of New England was praying for a miracle.
However, one man had faith all along that this was the plan. Two days earlier, Rev. Mark Tanner of Skowhegan Federated Church in Maine had changed the sign outside his church to read a positive message for his Patriots.
mark tanner is god there i said it pic.twitter.com/EIZiTk5I0P
— isabelle (@izgrignon) January 21, 2019
The Patriots took a 31-28 lead with 39 seconds left after Rex Burkhead’s 4-yard touchdown rumble, and, surely, Tanner would have been happy with just a win. But after Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker’s 39-yard field goal effectively sent the game into overtime, there was a strong possibility that the exact score would play out.
A coin flip later, and the Patriots charged down the field, scoring on another Burkhead run. And with the final score exactly matching his 37-31 prediction, Tanner’s phone blew up with people remarking on his preternatural guess.
“I would like to think it was divine intervention, but I’m not that crazy,” Tanner said to CentralMaine.com on Monday.
Tanner later added in the interview that he thinks the Patriots will beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, but he didn’t have a score prediction yet. Until then, all eyes will be on one particular sign in central Maine.
More churches offer optimistic sports signs
Tanner isn’t the only religious leader to share a message of hope for his local team, although he certainly is the most prescient.
During the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoff run, Tampa-area pastor Tyler Moore’s signs went viral when he offered his best wishes for his Tampa Bay Lightning, who were facing off against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Moore created signs referencing the saving abilities of both God and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, how the sport fits into the Ten Commandments and Job’s take on hockey. And even though he didn’t issue a prediction for any of the games — and the Bolts lost to the Hawks in six games — Moore did offer a positive message after the season was over.
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