The Big Game of all Big Games is almost upon us! Super Bowl XLVII (that’s 47, for those of you whose Roman numerals are rusty) approaches. This Sunday brings the culmination of weeks upon weeks of NFL football. We here at Bible Gateway wouldn’t dream of picking a side—we’d probably get it wrong anyway—but we’ll all be watching the Ravens and the 49ers duke it out.
Between the inevitable guy holding the John 3:16 sign, the pervasive consumerism, and the actual game itself, the Super Bowl is an odd beast. I like to think of it as a reflection of American culture in all its good and bad parts. The Super Bowl is a huge cultural event in the United States. It’s undeniable spectacle, designed to be utterly over-stimulating. Huge amounts of money are shoveled into it every year. I find it to be incredible in the exact sense of the word.
Football and I have an interesting history. I played in high school, but as soon as I was done I more or less dropped all involvement—as a participant or fan—for the next eight years or so. But then I moved to a college town and it become unavoidable. Football on Saturdays began to ingrain itself into my weekly routine. To be honest, I enjoy it now, a fact that would have shocked my 20-year-old self. Sporting events remain as one of the few events we can all rouse ourselves to watch collectively. I spend a lot of time in front of screens, and very little of it is spent in company. Sports are just one of those things that demand viewing in groups.
The Bible doesn’t say a whole lot about sports directly—and sadly nothing about football directly. Paul uses athletic imagery as a metaphor for our faith in a few places in the epistles, like 2 Timothy 2:5, Philippians 3:14, 1 Corinthians 9:24, and Hebrews 12:1-2. Physical competition is a great way of thinking about the discipline that should be a part of our faith journey. Modern-day athletes are an extreme example of the sort of things that can be achieved when you couple discipline and control. For me, sports can exemplify the best parts of humanity: the drive to push towards your best self.
At their core, though, sports are just fun. Rooting for your team and cheering along with a room full of people is a blast. I’m looking forward to the Super Bowl.
What about you? Where are you going to watch the Super Bowl this year? Do you have a regular group of friends that you watch it with?