CJ Stroud Responds to NBC Cutting His Jesus Christ Mention From Postgame Interview

We sat down with CJ Stroud to discuss his special rookie season, playing for Demeco Ryans, the best player in the NFL, his faith, and much more.

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When evaluting the best quarterbacks in the NFL currently, Pat Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow are the first names you think of off the bat. One player that has already made his way into the conversation after just one season is Houston Texans rookie quarterback CJ Stroud.

After being selected with the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Stroud immediately made good on his promise as a prospect, helping lead the Texans from last place in the AFC South to a divisional championship in his rookie season. The team success and individual success this season has turned Stroud into an immediate star and one of the future faces off the league. Although he had one of the greatest rookie seasons for a quarterback in NFL history, he isn’t satisfied. He knows this is just the beginning.

“The way that you separate yourself is through preparation and being really detailed,” Stroud tells Complex. “Doing the small things right add to the big thing.”

We sat down with Stroud to discuss his special rookie season, playing for head coach Demeco Ryans, his faith, the best player in the NFL, his partnership with Cheetos, and much more.

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity)

You and Cheetos have a partnership and are planning to bring it to life this coming Super Bowl, can you explain the partnership?
Around football season and the Super Bowl, buffalo wings are everybody’s favorite snack to eat while watching the games. So Cheetos has come out with a new flavor of crunchy buffalo sauce and we're trying to take that second best spot. The new flavor is really good. I've got to try it as well. 

And then we're doing the watch party in Vegas. So people can go and, and try to meet me at the watch party by just going to Instagram and commenting a chicken wing under one of the crunchy Buffalo posts on Cheetos. And you're doing that, you can be one of the lucky winners and then if not, what somebody's gonna win $22,000. So, just really taking that second spot and trying to be the best with it and I'm just trying to help that out cause I'm known to be the second in a couple of things and still try to bring the heat. 

Growing up, everybody at Cheetos. Did you ever envision yourself working with the company, especially with a buffalo wing sauce partnership?
Nah man, I mean, I was just saying earlier like I've always loved Cheetos. I always eat them, especially with my sandwiches and stuff like that, and to be able to, you know, work with a childhood memory is pretty cool. So I'm excited about the new flavors.

The new flavor is bomb. I'm not a huge fan of buffalo stuff, but actuallyI I really liked it. So I know that people are gonna really like it because buffalo wings and buffalo sauce is really big and has been big for a long time. So I think it's gonna be really bomb. 

Pivoting to football, can you elaborate on what you learned or experienced during this rookie season?
I really just came in and was trying to be as confident as possible. I knew that I was going to make mistakes, but I mean, those mistakes are going to make me better in the long run. But we got a pretty good rhythm after around like week three and really started playing some good ball. So, I think this year has been a successful one and just a learning experience, you know, trying to hopefully get back to that moment where we were in the divisional game and, and find a way to win. So, a lot of things to learn from and I am really just really blessed and excited to have such a great year and hopefully do better next year.

You've already established yourself as one of the elite quarterbacks in the league in year one. How does it feel to already have experienced this level of success this early into your career?
The respect part is probably the biggest thing. Like after games, going to some of your favorite players that you grew up watching and being able to look them in the eye, and they show you respect right back and tell you they respect your game. And, you know, just to keep going, a lot of great advice I got in some of those conversations. It's been cool just to see that. And with a lot of success comes a lot of expectations and a lot of people watching. So really, I'm just going to try to be on my A-game, stay humble through everything and just rely on my faith and things like that. My family, and really just try to have a better year next year for sure. 

Was there any player this year that you got a chance to speak to after a game that showed you respect and it meant a little more getting their respect than others?
Myles Garrett. I didn't play against him the first time we played them in week 16. I was hurt with a concussion and then I came back and played against him in the playoffs. I got to talk to him after the end of the game and a little bit during the game and it was just a lot of respect there, you know. I told him he's probably the best player in the league, just every year that he's definitely the most talented, but he puts in the work.

He's a freak of nature, and I think him and Laremy Tunsil had a great battle that day. LT did a great job protecting me and we got the win, but just to see that respect from one of the best players to ever play the game, you know, it was really cool for sure. 

This wasn’t only your first year, but also your head coach Demeco Ryans’ first year as a head coach. Can you explain what your relationship is like with him and how you both fed off each other this past season?
It was dope man. Demeco is a great coach. He's somebody who's played at a high level. So he gets that and, he's a player's coach, he wants the best for his players. I told him once, it’s not on us, it’s in us, we just have to get our rhythm. Once we get the ball rolling, just don't look back. He's a great coach, he's a great coordinator, and a great play caller. He made me better a lot, and especially in practice and things like that. So, I'm really blessed to be with a head coach that not only is a great football coach but a great person, a man of God. 

You’ve spoken about your influences before with African American quarterbacks, how Michael Vick is the reason you were No. 7. How does it feel to be part of the current Black quarterback renaissance in the NFL?
I'm super blessed to just bring hope to our community. Growing up, it wasn't it wasn't always like that. So I know Michael Vick was a big person for me. Cam Newton, Deshaun Watson, a lot of guys and honestly. Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, my dad used to make me watch their tapes growing up. So, it's really cool just to be able to keep the train going. But I really just want to give respect to the guys who started it, even in different sports. Like Jackie Robinson, Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Bill Russell, guys like that who really blazed a way for our community to be able to play these sports that we love for sure.

You aren’t the inventor of "The Squabble" but you definitely popularized it this year. The dance has taken over not only the NFL, but sports and pop culture as a whole. How does it feel being from California and seeing your culture become a staple in pop culture?
Yeah, it was cool man. I've been doing that dance as long as I can remember, probably since like seventh, eighth grade. We used to hit our squabble, you know, me and the homies. So it's cool just to see California have something that we can get involved in. Like a lot of other dances are from the south or like up north like New York, you know, stuff like that.


CJ Stroud is Squabbling all over the league 🔥 #nfl #nfluk #squabble #cjstroud

♬ original sound - NFLUK

But for us to get our swag in there, there's a lot of us out there and we just needed a little start. So I'm going to pull out a couple more little Cali dances next year for some touchdown celebrations. I have to get Tank [Dell] right so we can do it together. But nah it was cool just to see the world and just really the sports world do the dance.

You mentioned how strong your faith is. There has been recent controversy about NBC cutting your praise to Jesus Christ out of your postgame interview they aired after your playoff win over the Browns. Do you have any feelings about that, seeing that your faith is a big part of who you are and what you represent?
I'm not angry about it. I wish that it wasn't that but, you know, I pray for people and I think God has called us to love one another through thick and thin, mistakes or success. I just want to show love. We're not all perfect as people, even myself, I follow the Lord but I'm not perfect and I try to just be that light in a dark time.

There's a lot of darkness in this world. I think God has called us to really just be a light to one another and just show love. I just pray for people and I don't have any ill will or any anger to that. I wish that it wasn't that, but, I'm just being myself always. I grew up in the church and I found Christ in myself and I'm just trying to get better and I just want people to feel the love that I felt from God. So I don’t feel any ill will about it, it's all love.

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