Quick to Listen/Episode 44 | 24 min
Why Football Will Never Be America’s New Civil Religion

This Sunday’s Super Bowl game is a classic good versus evil showdown. (Okay, maybe that’s editorializing. But it is true that the Patriots have played in the Super Bowl seven times since 2001 and the Atlanta Falcons have never even won a title, making the Falcons the inevitable favored underdog.)

But beyond the actual teams, the Super Bowl stands atop a waning list of cultural events that bring America together. Last year, about 115 million Americans tuned in to watch the Broncos, the commercials, or Beyoncé.

The fact that there’s something for everyone is one of the Super Bowl’s biggest value propositions, says David Prince, the author of In the Arena: The Promise of Sports for Christian Discipleship.

“The commercials during the Super Bowl—it would be impossible for me to have less interest in that. And yet for some people, that’s the main reason they’re tuning in,” said Prince, an Atlanta Falcons fan. “The halftime show—I’ve never watched a halftime show in my life and I don’t plan to start this year—but for others, that’s the main reason they’re watching.”

Prince joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli to discuss whether football is the country’s new civil religion, why losing can be more important than winning, and why players’ faith isn’t covered better by the media.

Additional reading

Men of Integrity: An Interview with David Prince

Men of Integrity: Why Sports?

Men of Integrity: Reclaiming Competition

October
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Christianity Today
Why Football Will Never Be America’s New Civil Religion