2011 NFL Playoffs

Steelers, Jets, Bears and Packers Vie for Titles: Does God Play for Any of Them?

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 15:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers signals against the Baltimore Ravens in the first quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January 15, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Pamela DawesContributor IJanuary 22, 2011

A local sportswriter stated that "God is on the side of the New York Jets" and that Gang Green's belief in this assertion would propel them into the Super Bowl.

The pervasive concept that somehow God has a direct influence on the outcome of the game leads me to wonder if the Pittsburgh Steelers are damned from the outset and that they may just as well not bother showing up. If the Supreme Being is not Troy Polamalu, but a deity from New York City, what chance do the boys in Black and Gold have this Sunday? 

Words like "redemption" have been used to describe Ben Roethlisberger's season and, like the "prodigal son",  he has returned to the fold. Biblical references to Lombardi Stadium have included "hallowed ground" and "anointed territory." Mark Sanchez is the "second coming" (of whom? Joe Namath?) and members of the "exalted" Chicago defense now rule the Midway. 

It has become the norm to see many professional athletes crossing themselves before taking to the court, looking skyward after a home run, thanking their Saviour after a successful round or kneeling at midfield after the game.

Somehow the belief that God has influenced or created the result has become commonplace. It makes one wonder if somehow God chose sides during the contest.

Like the pin-striped crews who will oversee the action this weekend, I would like to think that God will not unduly influence the outcomes.

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