Did you know the average American male watches 5.8 hours of live sports each week? This seems about right given that a recent study showed 81% of men consider themselves sports fans.
The survey also revealed that football is king, with 72% identifying as football fans. And while fans watch the games for different reasons…
- 59% said football gives them an excuse to eat/drink
- 33% said they watch for their fantasy teams
- 30% said they’re checking up on their bets
…maybe the most interesting is that 83% said they enjoy football because it gives them an excuse to get together with friends and family. (You can see the results of the survey here: https://www.sbu.edu/docs/default-source/academics-documents/academics-jandoli-school/asfs0123-sports-fanship-crosstabs-02-03-2023.pdf).
And chances are… even if you’re not a sports fan, it will be hard to ignore all of the pomp and circumstance around Super Bowl Sunday. The ad revenue alone for this Sunday’s game is expected to bring in over $650 million for CBS, with advertisers shelling out $7 million for a 30-second spot.
Sports. Money. Fantasy. Eating. Drinking. Betting. This is ‘Murica, right?
Trust us when we tell you that we’re not immune to the American sports machine. We like a good game with good friends just as much as the next guy. And at the same time, like the Anheuser-Busch ads of the 80’s, are we sure we “know when to say when?” At what point does our obsession with sports (and all it entails) cross over from fun to idolatry?
The reality is, that anything that competes for Christ’s undivided attention in our lives is idolatry. As Reformer John Calvin wrote in the 16th century, “Our hearts are idol-making factories.” So how do we know if we’ve made football an idol?
1. The most obvious clue is that we spend more time with football (5.8 hours/week) than we do with God. This is a simple math equation.
2. A second clue is your pocketbook. Do you bet more on games than you tithe? If so, you’re probably guilty of making football an idol.
3. Finally, do you turn to football to escape responsibilities? Responsibilities with your children, your spouse, or duties around the house? If so, you’ve made it an idol.
Hear us, fellas, we’re not saying football is the enemy. Football, like money, is agnostic. It’s neither righteous nor sinful. It’s what we do with it that counts.
This Super Bowl Sunday, here are 3 ways you can redeem your addiction to football and turn it into a positive:
1. Watch it with a kid who needs a mentor. You know them. They usually come from a single mom household, or maybe a foster family. See if you can’t arrange a get-together, order some wings, and next thing you know you’re using football for God’s glory!
2. Send a foster family a few pizzas in the first quarter. What’s it going to cost you? Even with a big family, pizza is pretty cheap and you just created a moment for that family.
3. Lastly, be on the lookout and pray for children in distress. There are nearly 28 million children worldwide trapped in human trafficking, and given this year’s Super Bowl is in Vegas, we ought to be concerned about the exploitation that is sure to occur. Only God can save them.
So enjoy the game. Have some fun. Just remember that we have to answer for every careless word and every moment where we don’t represent Him as we should. Let’s live like it matters!
– The Man Up Team