This week Noah had the opportunity to talk to Buffalo Bills legend Pete Metzelaars about his football career, how he got into coaching, fun experiences, and his faith journey. Pete was a tight end in the NFL for 16 years and was blessed to play with the Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, and Detroit Lions.
Pete was drafted in the third round in 1982 by the Seattle Seahawks, and played there for three seasons before getting traded to Buffalo. Pete spent most of his time in Buffalo, playing for the Bills for nine seasons. Pete was a part of the Bills' Super Bowl era and made a big impact for the offense every time he stepped on the field. After his time in Buffalo, Pete played for the Panthers for one season and the Lions for two before retiring.
After playing for 16 seasons in the NFL, he turned to coaching. Pete coached all levels of the game: high school, college and in the NFL for 12 years. As a coach he finally earned a Super Bowl ring as the assistant offensive line coach for the Indianapolis Colts. Pete has quite the resume, but when you get to know him in the podcast, you find out he has a great heart for the Lord and for others around him.
How was your time in Buffalo? How did you get into coaching?
Pete loves Buffalo despite his initial reaction upon arriving: the team had a record of 2-14 and the weather was harsher than he expected. His goal was to think positively and he set about trying to change the culture of the downtrodden team. As the years went on, he found out how loving and loyal the people are, how great the food is, and now has a deep appreciation for the city.
As for those four Super Bowls, Pete says, “It was the best times and also the worst times."
Pete believes the hardest loss out of the four was the first one because he truly thought they were the better team. On a positive note, Pete’s fondest memory with Buffalo was the greatest comeback game when the Bills were down by 32 points against the Houston Oilers in the 1992 AFC Championship and ended up winning in overtime. In the podcast, Pete says the energy in the stadium was off the charts, and it is hard to put the feelings into words.
After his amazing career in the NFL, he knew he wanted to pursue coaching. Pete started coaching his son in high school at Charlotte Christian School for four years. After getting a taste of coaching, he climbed the ladder, starting as an offensive coordinator for Wingate University. Having played in the NFL, he was able to take all of this experience and get an internship with the Indianapolis Colts. Ultimately, he became a full-time coach in 2004 on Tony Dungy's staff.
Pete returned to the Bills as a coach for a few years, helped with the Chargers, and now is back with Charlotte Christian School, where he has lead them to four straight state titles.
How did you come to know Christ?
Pete grew up Catholic and knew of Christ but didn’t really understand the idea of having a deep relationship with Him. Pete’s faith journey was a slow progression. Pete started seeing great examples of Christian men when he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. Some of the men in that locker room led by example and showed what it truly looked like to live a Godly life. This made him look at God in a different way.
Pete struggled with God while going through a tough time in his life. His brother passed away, and then Pete was traded and injured. Pete knows this time was so rough God was not his foundation through all of that, and it’s challenging when God isn’t in your corner.
Pete really saw who God was when he went to a conference with his teammates. He heard meany speakers present the gospel. Pete accepted Christ in May 1987 and has never looked back. When hard times come now, he has a solid foundation with Christ. This, he says, gives him a sense of peace.
Since accepting Christ, Pete has been very involved in the church and even helped with Watermark Wesleyan Student ministry when he was a player for Buffalo.
To hear this conversation between Noah and Pete Metzelaars check out, “The Sweat Room: Sports and Faith” Episode 60.