Football has given Tadman platform to witness
Playing football at Boise State University, Marty Tadman has made such a name for himself that someone else has it.
“I have a kid named after me, Tadman. It was (by) some random fan. It was kind of weird, surreal,” Tadman said.
A 5-11, 185-pound senior safety from Mission Viejo, Calif., Tadman was named first team All-Western Athletic Conference this season, Boise State’s defensive player of the year and helped lead the Broncos to a 10-3 record.
With 83 regular-season tackles, 10 pass break-ups, two interceptions and two career-high games of 12 tackles (Southern Mississippi and Louisiana Tech), Tadman was described on national television as the best defensive player on the team.
His dramatic recovery of a fumble by East Carolina’s Chris Johnson in the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 23 led to his 47-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 38 with 1:25 left. Boise State, ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press poll entering the game, had trailed 38-17. East Carolina won 41-38 on a field goal as time expired.
During the Broncos’ magical 2006 season when they finished fifth in the nation after defeating Oklahoma 43-42 on a two-point conversion in overtime in the Fiesta Bowl, Tadman was named the bowl’s defensive MVP. He intercepted two passes, one for a touchdown.
It was his most memorable experience in football, he said.
Representing the Western Athletic Conference, Boise State (13-0) finished as the only undefeated team in the nation.
“Marty is probably our smartest player on defense,” Boise State defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said. “He has great instincts for the ball and while he may not be the biggest player at his position, he always puts himself into a position to make plays.”
There was a time when no parents would name their son for him.
“I was a drug dealer and alcoholic,” Tadman said. “I was addicted to drugs. I partied all the time. I was in trouble with the cops and with my parents. I did pretty much the biggest sins in life you can think of.”
Tadman, who grew up Jewish, made a 180-degree change in 2004. He accepted Christ as his savior.
“It was not a moral decision,” Tadman said. “It’s not an influence on me. It’s me. The very blood of Christ and the heart of Christ is in me.”
His arms, hands and neck proclaim the gospel through tattoos. During a nationally televised games this season, ESPN announcer Chris Fowler spoke of Tadman’s faith and the significance of Tadman’s tattoos which reflect his life in Christ.
“Football has given me a national platform,” Tadman said. “It has opened many doors that otherwise would not be opened. I have been able to reach people that would not have listened to a word I say. It’s been awesome.
“The biggest witnessing tool you have is your life,” he continued. “I am living for heavenly things. I want to share my life being a loving testament to Christ. God wants me to stand up for myself and faith in a bold way. He wants to use me in a powerful way.”
With a goal of playing in the NFL, Tadman said that he worships God through football.
“Playing football is fulfilling the purpose God has created me for and that is to worship Him,” he said.
His favorite verse, Galations 2:20, mirrors his life: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by the faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Through his own research and study of the Bible, Tadman made the decision to become a Christian.
At first he was scared of what his parents might think. “They were 100 percent supportive,” he said.
One of his tattoos is the Shema prayer, “The Lord Our God, the Lord is One.” He has worn a T-shirt during a television interview with the Hebrew word “savalte,” which means “you suffered.”
Tadman, who married his high school sweetheart Nicole in 2006, teaches a campus Bible study twice a week and is on staff of Eagle Christian Church in Boise where he is a minister to young adults. He preaches all over Idaho in the offseason.
He preaches the message of salvation found in Acts 4:12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
“We’ve already been set free from sin,” Tadman said. “Sin has been defeated and we are to live victoriously. There is no need to live a defeated life.”
His football career has enabled him to build relationships, he said, and “taught me how to love and be patient with all sorts of people.
“Football has been a storybook,” he said. “You couldn’t dream it up any better.”