The League

David Aldridge
Sports Reporter

David Aldridge

A nationally recognized sports journalist.

On the 7th Day God?


The answer is no. I don't think God gives a whit who wins any game, much less a Super Bowl -- maybe especially a Super Bowl, which has become a bacchanalia of excess of which I'm fairly certain God would not approve. I don't think God makes passes fall into receivers' hands, or keeps a tight end's feet in the endzone, or causes the home team to convert fourth-and-six in the final minute. Can't imagine it's high on His agenda. (No one answers this, either: if two men, equally devout, are on opposite teams, how does God decide who wins? And what does He say to the loser? Pray harder next time?)

But I don't have a problem with someone of faith who wants to share the "good news" with others. If a higher power is central to Kurt Warner's life, it doesn't bother me if he gives that power credit; isn't that part of the believer's obligation? It is up to us to listen, or not, but really, are our lives so special and filled up that we can't take a few seconds of someone giving credit to his or her God?

In dealing with NFL players over the years, I've found the overtly religious to be among the most consistent people to deal with. Put it this way: has our city been better off from having had the likes of Joe Gibbs, Darrell Green, Art Monk and Darryl Grant in it over the past three decades? Was Dallas better off with Roger Staubach's steady hand guiding it in the '70s? Sure, all these guys were really talented, but central to their core was a strength that they believed came from their religious faith. That faith extended to the field, and from the field to the community.

They're not perfect people. Far from it. I'm not saying they have more to offer than those who keep their faith to themselves, or those who may be between faiths--or without faith at all. But we'll spend hours You Tubing Super Bowl commercials with horses, monkeys and talking babies. We'll bet next month's rent on whether the coin toss lands heads or tails. We'll drink a six-pack of beer and a fifth of Jack and toss out curses that would make a longshoreman blush if our team doesn't cover. Yet we get mad if somebody talks about God.

On Sunday.

Which is supposed to be about something else altogether from football, unless we got the translation all wrong.

See you on Easter Thursday.

By David Aldridge  |  February 4, 2009; 9:27 AM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , David Aldridge , Pittsburgh Steelers , Tony Dungy Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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God's objective is not for one team or one player to win - His objective is that He be glorified and known in the land, and that can happen no matter who wins. I would suggest that Warner's class in defeat speaks even more loudly than his praises in victory.

Who could have seen what Tony Dungy went through with the loss of his son and not realized that a power greater than himself was present amidst his grief. These are the kinds of things that make faith in Jesus Christ attractive to (most) others.

Thank you, Mr. Aldridge, for a thoughtful commentary.

Posted by: mayoungkin | February 4, 2009 5:06 PM

A truly devout Christian would not pray for victory in a football game. A truly devout and understanding Christian would pray that God's will be done and for the strength to live proudly in the eye's of God. God does care about football games and other trivial things in our lives. But God does not care how our understanding of the world clouds our prayers into asking for selfish things.

Posted by: comeonpeople | February 4, 2009 9:28 PM

Like a substantial minority of Americans I am an atheist. I worry about the increasing invasion of secular activities by religion. I think that the constitution protection of religion should also protect me from religion. The religious revival in the west over the past thirty years has pushed fundamentalist Christians, Muslims, and Jews into increasingly hostile camps. There are also hostile camps within these divisions, Religions are ultimately exclusive. If you don't believe as I do you are not on of us. That is fine when you are rooting for your team to win but lets not mix it with rooting for your faith to triumph.

Posted by: charleswheeler1 | February 4, 2009 11:34 PM

Re: "A truly devout Christian would not pray for victory in a football game. A truly devout and understanding Christian would pray that God's will be done"


Are there times when God's will is not done?

I recall when there's a coal mine collapse or terrible calamity the ministers come out with consoling words like "God works in mysterious ways."

Why would one even think that praying for "God's will be done" would have an effect? Of course it will be done; He's God.

"God's will be done", seems to be in a lot of prayers, not that it would make any difference. God's will trumps your prayers every time.

Posted by: James10 | February 5, 2009 7:45 AM

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