Most of us remember Michael Oher as the subject of The Blind Side. The inspirational movie told the story of his childhood poverty, adoption by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, and eventual career as an offensive tackle in the NFL. Now Michael Oher is playing in the Super Bowl for the Carolina Panthers, protecting quarterback Cam Newton from Denver’s defense, the best in the NFL.
But only because Newton asked him to. Here’s their remarkable story.
Oher played several years for the Baltimore Ravens, then was signed by his home state Tennessee Titans. His season there was disastrous—he allowed six sacks and twenty-six quarterback hurries in eleven games during a 2–14 season. The Titans later cut him. What he didn’t tell anyone was that he was playing with a torn bicep and an injured toe.
Cam Newton’s brother had played with Oher in Baltimore and thought Michael could help protect the Carolina quarterback. So he notified Newton, who texted Oher to say he needed his help. The Panthers then signed Oher to a two-year contract that was widely criticized. But Oher had an outstanding season for the team that is widely favored to win the NFL championship.
You’re familiar with the story of Peter walking to Jesus on the stormy Sea of Galilee. Here’s a part of the story I had not noticed before today: After Jesus rescued his drowning disciple, “they got into the boat” (Matthew 14:32a).
Peter needed the boat, but Jesus clearly did not. He got into their boat to provide the comfort and security his disciples needed. Then “the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God'” (v. 32–33).
Wherever you face a storm today, you’ll find Jesus there. He may call you out of the boat or join you in it. Either way, when you worship him you’ll find his power and peace. And others in the storm will be drawn to your Savior. Whatever his providence allows, his grace redeems.
What does Michael Oher want us to think about when we see The Blind Side? Leigh Anne Tuohy answers the question: “Talk about the message of the movie. Talk about that there’s Michael Ohers in every city in the United States, and if we all turned around and did one simple random act of kindness, it would change the world. Talk about how there’s 145,000 kids, adoptable kids, in foster care right now that will age out in the next ninety days and that there’s 250,000 faith-based churches and if one church took one kid, we would wipe out the need for foster care.
“Talk about that and the reflection of what the movie gives off. That’s what he wants.” I would say that’s what God wants as well.