Jon K. Rust

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian and co-president of Rust Communications.


Eagles QB Nick Foles inspires off the field

Kudos to Nick Foles for leading the Philadelphia Eagles to victory over the New England Patriots and being named Super Bowl MVP. I didn't watch the game live, but I read about it in the Southeast Missourian, and it sounded like a barnburner. (I did watch a few highlights on youtube: More about that later.) Foles threw for three touchdowns and caught another, the first time in history a player has both passed for and caught a TD pass in the Super Bowl.

Foles, who was a backup until Philadelphia starting QB Carson Wentz went down with an injury in December, almost quit football a couple of years ago when he was cut by the Los Angeles Rams. Foles attributes his faith in God as sustaining him, even though he was equally prepared for life after football. If you didn't know, Foles is taking online seminary classes at Liberty University with the goal of becoming a pastor some day. Here is a quote from a video on the YouVersion Bible app, which I found online at relevantmagazine.com, where Foles talks about almost retiring.

"I kept reading Scripture, I kept praying, I kept asking God -- and so many of us ask God for signs, we ask God, 'Hey, please just put it on the wall, like, I want to know,' but that's not how it works. He's not always going to do that. He was shaping me. He was bringing me down to my knees ... At that moment, through that prayer, He said, 'Hey, just take a step of faith. You're either going to stop playing the game of football and you're going to go onto a different area of your life and I'm going to be with you, I'm going to be the most important thing in your life, or you're going to step back into football and you're going to continue to play and I'm going to be with you every step of the way and you're going to play to glorify me."

In a story on churchleaders.com, which ran just before the Super Bowl, Foles talked more about his faith, including his future plans to pastor with high school students.

"When I speak to (students), that's such a time of young men and young women's lives that there's a lot of things that are thrown at them. So much temptation in this world, so much going on with social media and the Internet that you want to talk to them and address it, and share all the weaknesses I have, because I've fallen many times. It's something I want to do. I can't play football forever. I've been blessed with an amazing platform, and it's just a door God has opened, but I still have a lot of school left and a long journey."

What about being in the Super Bowl, Nick, after almost giving up football?

"A lot of people look at this moment and say, 'Wow, aren't you super excited that you made that decision and you're in the Super Bowl, what if you wouldn't have? But I look at it this way: It wasn't a matter of that. I'm grateful to be up here, I'm grateful to have this opportunity to speak and play in this game, but at the same time, if I would have made the other decision my life wouldn't have been a loss. I would have gone and done something else and glorified God in that instance."

Congratulations again to Nick Foles. And thank you for the inspiration.

Talking about the Big Game. Here is an excerpt from an article in The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 5, which reports on how viewership of the NFL (and TV overall) continues to drop. Apparently, I wasn't alone in skipping the event.

Super Bowl Least-Watched Championship Since 2009

There were 17 Super Bowl records set in Sunday night's thriller between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, but the size of the audience wasn't one of them.

The Eagles' 41-33 nail-biter win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII averaged 103.4 million viewers on NBC, according to Nielsen, making it the least-watched football championship since 2009.

This year's ratings marked a 7.1 percent drop from last year's 111.3 million people who saw the Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime on Fox.

The decline in viewership for the Super Bowl is in line with declines the National Football League experienced during the regular season. The average audience for an NFL game for the 2017 season was 14.9 million viewers, a nearly 10 percent decline from the 2016 regular season, which was down 8 percent compared with 2015. Ratings for the playoffs this season were also down.

Other big events have also seen their audiences shrink. Last week's Grammy Awards audience slipped by 24 percent and the Golden Globes were off 5 percent.

Ratings for all television programming are on the decline as viewers embrace streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Furthermore, more viewers are recording shows or watching them on video-on-demand instead of live, although sports have typically been immune to that trend.

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian.