Maybe it’s Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis’ fault. The man once accused of murder at the Super Bowl, the man convicted of obstruction of justice, and the man who quotes Bible verses to his teammates before every game may be singlehandedly responsible for the question, “who is God rooting for in the Super Bowl?” But it’s probably not just his fault.
Colin Kaepernick might be partly responsible, too. The man with the crazy tattoos and the speedy scamper has been outspoken about his faith, and the way that God has outlined a plan for him has San Francisco 49ers fans cheering.
And maybe it’s a little bit Tim Tebow’s fault. You know, the hot topic guy from last year who could hardly find a spot on the field this year, but one of the latest in a long line of NFLers who have played the game and spoken up about their faith when the spotlight was on them (Tony Dungy, Kurt Warner, Shaun Alexander, Reggie White, etc.) No one has been quite as polarizing as Tebow though!
I’ve still never heard the question posed as often as I have this week. Who does God want to win the Super Bowl?
I think it’s probably a sign of the times, that throwing “God” out there can attract attention and get people to tune in (or even read this post). But I’ve heard radio hosts trying to add up the number of religious people (Christians, Buddhists, etc.) on each team in the Super Bowl to see which one God is vying for. Which begs a few questions like a) why would God care? b) if God cared, why wouldn’t he just make it so? c) who do they think God is in the first place?
Some people can’t see how Christians would play football when the side effects of dominating someone on offense or defense can result in such physical confrontations that players are left concussed, paralyzed, or broken. But there are significant images in the Bible of competition and play that seem to make it “okay,” even if hurting someone else isn’t inline with what God expects from us. So, playing football = okay, but hurting someone = not okay. Fine line, right?
But where does this idea that “God is a ________ fan” come into play? Isn’t it just a matter of us trying to co-opt God for our own purposes, like… we do in everything else? Isn’t “God is a _____ fan” just prooftexting God into a situation we want to condone and claim as absolute right? Our own interests overwhelming moving from our minds to God’s will in a way that doesn’t make sense when it’s about social issues, money, relationships, or football?
When people, even people who have no belief in God, no interest in anything of faith, and yet they want to propose whether God is a 49ers fan or Ravens fan, we have the opportunity to point out what might have seemed obvious to Christians before: God loves everyone, equally. Which probably results in an answer to the original question, that’s how this Patriots fan feels about it:
God’s just rooting for a good game.