Half of Americans Believe God Will Decide the Superbowl Winner
A new study conducted by the Public Research Institute found that 50 percent of Americans think God will determine the winner of Sunday’s Super Bowl.
The NFL and Jesus have become practically synonymous in this country. Teams hold prayer circles before, during, and after games. The NFL is among the most fervently religious sectors of American life. On any given Sunday you’ll hear players claiming, “God was with me today” or “I give thanks to God for our victory.” Prayer and praise of the Lord Almighty is not confined to the game’s participants, either. PRRI found that more than 25% of Americans pray to God specifically to help their team.
Some highlights from the survey include:
One-in-four (25%) Americans who report being a fan of a particular team believe that their team has been cursed at some point in time.
Roughly 1-in-5 (21%) American sports fans report performing a ritual before or while watching their favorite team.
The best finding in the study was that, “One fan reports that he wears “a dirty pair of underwear … over my pants and then I put my jersey on.” While that’s not specifically a ritual tied to Christianity, it is no less absurd than praying for divine intervention.
It’d be easier to digest the fact half of the country believed a supernatural force was the puppeteer behind a football game if more than half of the country could name their congressmember, the country America declared its independence from, more than two Constitutional Amendments, and the location of the two countries we have been at war with during the previous decade on a map. It’s when you couple the nation’s third world level hyper-religiosity with pandemic anti-intellectualism that many free thinkers suffer heartburn.
The Bible says, “For everyone who asks receives,” and according to the PRRI study, half of all Americans believe athletes of faith are rewarded with good health and success. This extraordinary level of “belief” is based, evidently, on not thinking about things, which is again why 50% of the country continues to vote against its own self-economic interests, but that’s a whole other peccadillo.
So are truly faithful NFL players rewarded with success on the field? Football is a data driven pursuit, so let’s breakdown the stats:
The Broncos and Seahawks teams have an equal number of Christians.
50% of all NFL players playing on Sunday will win the Super Bowl.
In conclusion, the number of rewarded NFL players on Sunday will be exactly equal to the number of unrewarded NFL players on Sunday.
So are truly faithful NFL players rewarded off the field? Let’s breakdown the numbers:
The average life expectancy of the American male is 78 years.
The NFL players association says the average life expectancy of an NFL player is 58 years old.
The suicide rate of NFL players is 6-times the national average.
So there’s that.
Prayer and football are considered traditional American values, (it’s a pity education and ending poverty is not), and that’s the problem. The problem being that when prayer is synonymous with football, and by extension America, then, by inference, to not engage in football related religious rituals becomes un-American itself, and that would really piss off the Founding Fathers. David Niose, author of Nonbeliever Nation, writes, “The belief that Americans are a “religious people” is one of the key reasons that politicians typically ignore the Secular American demographic. Another is the fact that many non-believing Americans chose not to identify openly as secular because of popular attitudes that vilify nonreligious people, particularly atheists, as bad and undesirable.”
Americans are down with the whole prayer in NFL thing until the game becomes increasingly popular with men of other faiths. Last year, the Jets signed a Palestinian Muslim to a 4-year deal. One can only imagine how America (Fox News) will react the day when Oday Aboushi plants his prayer rug on the sidelines and points it towards Mecca. There’s a reason the Supreme Court determined organized prayer in the public square to be unconstitutional.
Last week American Atheists launched a new billboard right next to the venue of Sunday’s Super Bowl – MetLife Stadium that takes a swipe at prayer in football. The billboard features a priest cradling a football with text reading, “A ‘Hail Mary’ only works in football. Enjoy the game.” American Atheists President David Silverman says, “Prayer is superstition, plain and simple. It trivializes the dedication of the players and takes away from their achievements. A third of football fans pray in hopes of helping their team. These are adults we’re talking about—people with children, people with careers, people who vote. It’s 2014; it’s time to stop believing that prayer works. Give credit where credit is due and celebrate what this is really about—coming together to cheer on hard-working athletes doing what they do best.”
He’s right. Not only does prayer trivialize the accomplishments of the athletes, it trivializes every problem we face as a nation. It says we don’t need to actually think about things like climate change, poverty, and whatever else because God has our best interests in mind at all times. That more Americans believe God will influence a sporting contest than in the scientifically proven fact the earth is dangerously overheating should deeply trouble us. That Americans live in a state of insecurity that is largely unknown in other developed countries, with no guaranteed health care, almost non-existent social safety nets, and the highest rates of incarceration in world suggests either God has blessed someone else or he doesn’t exist. $100 says it’s the latter.
It’s a historical fact Jesus didn’t know what the NFL and America is, so enjoy the Super Bowl for what it is: highly paid, steroid filled, super-human athletes colliding at high-speed with no regard for their life expectancy.