God and the Super Bowl

SuperBowl2Every year about this time I can’t help but ask myself the following question:

What does God think about the Super Bowl?

Since “Super Bowl” doesn’t appear in my Bible index, each Super Bowl Eve I search Google using the phrase “God and the Super Bowl.” The results are always fascinating. This year, in 0.48 seconds I got 191 million items to choose from. Here’s a mere sampling …

Super $$$? Some facts & figures:

  • 111 million people watched all or part of last year’s game.
  • A 30-second ad costs a whopping $5.25 million or $175,000 a second.
  • The ratio of commercial-to-actual-football time is nearly 5 to 1.
  • Each member of the winning team gets $118,000. The losers get $59,000.
  • The average ticket price is more than $4,000. If you want a reeeeally good seat you could pay more than $100,000.
  • Fans are expected to spend $15.3 billion on Super Bowl-related purchases, including more than 3 billion pounds of popcorn, 11 million pounds of potato chips and 1 billion chicken wings (washed down by more than 300 million gallons of beer).
  • Here are a few other facts & figures that might just make you want to spend your $$$ a little differently.

Does God Pick the Winner in Advance? This was the very first article that popped up in my search, which cites a survey indicating that 26% of Americans believe that God plays a role in the outcome of the Super Bowl. So, is picking the winner a matter of simply adding up which team has the most/best Christians? Another article offered this take:

We quickly devolve into silliness when forced to imagine God wearing a particular jersey … or that he is somehow predisposed toward one major institution or another at the conclusion of March Madness. Yet even if God operated in this cartoonish way, even if we could put all the “righteous” on one team or another, God has a history of allowing his people to lose on the field so they can somehow win in the deeper, soul-centered arenas of life.

God the Underdog? You can now wager on virtually anything remotely related to the game, all the way from how many times the President tweets during the game to what color beverage will be poured on the winning coach to whom the MVP will thank first in his post-game interview. As for the latter, sadly, God is running a distant second at the moment.

Top God-Thankers? Speaking of thanking God, this article ranks the top 12 “God Thankers” of all time. The list includes such notables as Drew Brees, Reggie White and Tim Tebow.

Is It OK to Pray for Your Team to Win? 25% of Americans say that they’ve prayed for their favorite sports team to win. If millions of Rams fans pray for the Rams to win and the Patriots stomp them, does that mean that God doesn’t answer prayers (or that he’s a Patriots fan)? Uhh … no. As this author points out, God isn’t a “cosmic vending machine.”

How Do YOU Super Bowl? Here’s an article from the folks at Desiring God on how to avoid getting too much bad stuff in your brain while watching the game.

Super Sunday School?  Here’s a Pinterest page devoted to Super Bowl-themed Sunday School ideas. Or check out Sunday School Super Bowl, a game in which kids answer Bible trivia questions for a chance to get into the eternal end zone. There are Super Bowl-based Bible studies for adults, too — here‘s one written by Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy that asks “What’s your game plan?”

(Sources: Statista.com; Business Wire; CNBC; Christianity Today; Forbes; The Guardian; Kantar Media; Nielsen; National Retail Federation; Public Religion Research Foundation; PRRI)

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