This week’s Sports Illustrated asks that question in bold lettering positioned above a shirtless Ray Lewis emerging from water. It’s an incredibly easy question for me to answer personally.
No. God certainly doesn’t care who wins the Super Bowl. Period. End of discussion, right?
Well, not so much.
The very fact that the most prestigious sports magazine felt comfortable posing it for the world to discuss suggests that this isn’t an open-and-shut case for millions of people. Even more telling is that it’s not the first time they’ve asked.
There is no doubt Lewis believes God will be wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey on Sunday. In his mind, he’s probably fulfilling some sort of prophecy and answering a higher calling. And he’s probably not alone. There’s dozens of players for both sides that will take the field thinking that the man upstairs is going to help them achieve glory.
A recent study suggests 3 in 10 Americans believe sporting outcomes are impacted by God. Seriously.
Why would God – if he is indeed real – give the tiniest shit about a game between scores of multimillionaires? Here are a few reasons.
He’s Got Money on the Game
I suppose it’s possible that the Almighty is a degenerate gambler. It doesn’t make a ton of sense, but then again, neither does a lot of stuff in the Bible. Of course, it’s decidedly less fun to gamble if the outcome is either preordained or able to be altered to suit your needs. On the other hand, God strikes me as a guy who likes to be right about a lot of things.
He’s Answering Prayers
When I was a little kid, I prayed almost nightly that one of my favorite sports teams would win a championship. In fact, I defied God to prove his existence by allowing the Detroit Tigers to win a World Series. You can imagine how well that went. Still waiting.
The problem with this theory is that both sides are calling in favors in order to win it all. How can he answer one side and leave the other blowing in the wind? Are we really to believe that one fan base is more pious and deserving than the other? What sense does that make?
He’s Not Busy With Other Problems
Maybe Sunday comes and all the other more pressing problems in the world have been solved. Hey, it could happen. It would be great news for all the starving and dying people out there whose lives we’re too privileged to even imagine.
He’s Actually Afraid of Ray Lewis
Perhaps the Big Man is looking down from heaven with a tremendous amount of regret thinking “I’ve created a monster.” Ray Ray is a bit of a volatile chap, so maybe he thinks it’s best to not upset him. Shit, the media seems to have fallen victim to the star’s intimidation.
He’s a Contrarian
The hot new thing is to be the guy who thinks outside of the box. OK, maybe it’s not so new, but guys like Skip Bayless have made millions playing the carnival-barking role. Since most people would agree that he’s not emotionally invested in the outcome, perhaps God’s pulling a fast one and getting to a place where he can care deeply. He’s tricky like that. Just read the Old Testament.
Yeah, none of these make sense. God, like your shut-in aunt, doesn’t give a fuck about the Super Bowl.