The Religion of Football

Here in Alabama, there are three classes of people: Alabama Crimson Tide fans, Auburn Tiger fans, and atheists. Two of the three will go to Hell when they die. Which two depends entirely on who you ask.

Those Alabamians who like football but have no particular team preference are called, “agnostics.” It is the hope of the faithful that someday these poor, pathetic souls will purchase an Alabama jacket or be given an Auburn cap and thereby experience the joy of committing themselves to a particular team. Until then, they are considered social and recreational outcasts. To pray for them is all that we can do.

Why all the religious references in a column that’s supposed to be about football? Because religion and football are closely entwined, my friend, with much more in common than you may think. Note this passage from the Big Playbook of St. Gipper, recently discovered in a dark basement on the campus of Notre Dame University.

The passage reads: “And on the seventh day God created football and all was right with the world… until Satan brought forth the referees…”

It is impossible to believe in college football without also believing in a Higher Power. Here in Alabama – and in a whole lot of other places – football is a religion. To some, it is the only religion. Blasphemy, you say? I don’t think so. More prayers are said and answered during the average college football game than in most churches during a month of Sundays. That explains why evangelists love to hold revivals in football stadiums. The mood has already been set. The congregation holds season tickets.

Consider this: Alabama has been getting a lot of national press lately because of two things:

Playing offense for God in Alabama are folks like the high school students who walked out of class because they weren’t allowed a moment of prayer before a math test. Personally, I’d rather have my teenagers saying prayers in school classrooms than singing rap songs and riding around in loud cars. I do think these young people are limiting themselves, though. When I was in school we prayed before EVERY test, not just math.

Then there’s Judge Roy Moore, one of God’s team captains, if you will. Moore ยูฟ่าเบท is the Alabama judge who has a plaque of the Ten Commandments hanging on the wall in his courtroom. The Supreme Court has ordered the plaque to be taken down, but our beloved governor, Fob “I’m The Law In These Parts” James, has said that he’ll send in the National Guard to make sure the plaque stays up. You can call this beefing up the defense.