Time for the Super Bowl—but does God care about football?
The most exciting football game of championship weekend was undoubtedly the Seattle Seahawks come-from-behind win over the Green Bay Packers. And without fail, the Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson broke down in tears thanking God for the victory. Now, God may have pushed the team into the Super Bowl, but as an agnostic observer, I think hard proof points as far back as their Super Bowl win last year.
This may be a good time to define “agnostic.” An agnostic is a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena. Agnostics adhere to scientific principles.
There has never been a better time for sports science than now. And there is no football player who demonstrates brains and brawn better than Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman.
You may know the outspoken Sherman from his dreadlocks and his Campbell’s Soup commercials. What you may not know is the all-pro corner graduated from Stanford with a 3.9 GPA. In addition to his brains, he’s been the NFL’s interception leader since 2012.
ESPN’s Sport Science analyzed Sherman from every standpoint, finding the cornerback the most impressive they tested. Sherman’s no-step vertical jump came in at 38 inches. That’s two inches higher than former NBA slam-dunk champ Vince Carter.
Sherman has some extraordinary athletic ability—whether he believes in God or not. He has said that he believes in God, but also credits his parents for support to excel in both school and sports. So, are his parents responsible for his success—or is his belief in God?
A common argument is, “Why would God care about the outcome of a sporting event?” It seems odd to many that God would help a pro football player score a touchdown while He allows untold amounts of suffering to occur.
The other side of the argument is that God didn’t decide the outcome of the game, but just gave the athlete the will to win the game. So, does that mean the losers have less faith? We start to tread in some uncertain spiritual territory.
Back to Seattle’s Super Bowl win last year. The favorite was Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. His integrity makes him a role model to million, plus he is a devout Christian. So why did Manning play his worst when it mattered most? Did Wilson say something to God to sway things in his favor last year?
Football is a team sport. But the quarterback gets all the credit in a win and all the blame in a loss. The praise should go to the Seahawks’ swarming defense that gave a total team effort in last year’s Super Bowl.
Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rogers came out after this year’s loss saying he doesn’t think God cares about football games. Obviously, he and Wilson disagree. But no matter who wins this year’s Super Bowl, chances are no one is going to budge on whether they think God contributed to their win—or not.