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The Hot Receiver - by Nate

This Sunday the Seattle Seahawks square off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the biggest football game in existence: the Super Bowl. The two teams are fairly evenly matched with strong running attacks and equally strong run defenses. But the Pittsburgh Steelers have one player that gives them a distinct edge: Troy Polamalu.

In the Steelers' playoff win over the Colts, Polamalu was a threat at all times. He would creep to the line and blitz - or back off at the last second. Sometimes he backpedaled deep into the secondary. He has earned the reputation as player who flies around the field like a human rocket and intimidates opponents with the way he hits.

The problem the Seahawks coaches face is this week is determining where Polamalu is attacking from, which is as tricky as figuring out Polamalu himself. The Steelers' zone-blitz scheme sometimes sends defensive backs like Polamalu after the quarterback, with linemen dropping into coverage. The idea is to confuse quarterbacks. Polamalu is like an all-powerful queen in this chess game - he can go anywhere. Polamalu's propensity for flying to the ball along with his long, black, curly hair bouncing onto his back earned him the nickname: 'The Tasmanian Devil.'

A quarterback in the NFL will often counter a player like Polamalu by designating a 'hot receiver'. When the quarterback thinks a blitz may come before the play starts, he will change the play (call an 'audible') and designate one player as a 'hot receiver'. The Super Bowl may rest on how welll Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck can read Steeler's blitzes and find his hot receiver.

The idea behind having a hot receiver is simple: If the quarterback sees a blitz coming or gets in trouble, he can quickly throw the ball to a wide-open 'hot' receiver to avoid getting sacked. The hot receiver's goal isn't to make a big play or score a touchdown. Instead, his job is to always be open and ready in case the quarterback needs him. A hot receiver is quite literally the go-to-guy when the quarterback is in trouble.

The question for you to consider today is, 'Do you have a hot receiver in your life?' A few years ago a group of guys and I would meet once a week to share what was going on with our lives. That is rare because guys rarely talk about the important stuff with each other. But we committed to be completely open and honest with our struggles, to bear each other's burdens and to pray for each other on a weekly basis. We grew so close that we were literally able to call each other at any time of night if we needed to. It was an amazing feeling knowing that someone has your back 24-7.

God knew that we were not meant to go through life by ourselves. He created families, spouses, and friends for us to help carry our burdens, help us make right decisions, and to provide wisdom for our lives. If you don't have a hot receiver in your life right now, now may be the time to make a change. Maybe it is time to make a commitment to meet that friend on a weekly basis, to talk about your lives, to pray for each other, to be there for each other 24-7, be each other's hot receiver.

And of course, remember that you always can go to the ultimate hot receiver, who always is available for you to call upon him when you have need:

Hebrews 4 says:

"14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

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