Let me state my position right upfront so you know exactly where I am coming from. Personally I believe there is a higher power that directs all of our lives. In other words this omnipotent presence has already determined a righteous path for all of us in accordance with his ultimate plan for our lives.

I also believe football, at least professional football, is theater. A device for entertainment in which a higher power, the league office, has predetermined the winners and losers of each game.

So do I believe that God determines the outcome of football games? No, I don't, at least not in a hands on, controlling the joy stick direct way. I think a room full of writers in some office in New York City determines the best story lines. That's how they keep fans interested in crappy teams like Tampa Bay and Oakland.

Believe it or not there are many who totally disagree with what I believe about football. That's okay, I am willing to admit my thought process does have a slight margin for error. I am pretty rock solid on the higher power though. But this story is about the combination of the two.

Many of us who are fans of the Saints have offered up prayers during games. I have often wondered just how much weight a first down prayer has against a parent praying that their child will survive emergency surgery. I guess the Good Lord has a lot to think about when he takes care of his children doesn't he?

Well here's what the science geeks say about you and I and God and football. In a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute in 2013 more that half of all Americans believed God rewarded athletes who have faith in him. To be precise, 53% of Americans said they were in agreement with that statement. Personally I believe faith in God translates to a lot of self faith too, so there is  probably a correlation between strong of spirit and strong of mind and body.

Here's the statistic I have a lot of trouble believing but most of you do too. 27% of Americans believe that God has specific control of the outcomes of specific games. It's like he is hanging out at Lambeau Field ready to blow a last second field goal attempt wide right.

Here is another anomaly the survey published by NBC Sports turned up. How strongly you believe the Good Lord plays a part in sports has a lot to do with your personal faith and what part of the country you live in.

Roughly 4-in-10 minority Christians (40%) and white evangelical Protestants (38%) agree that God does play a role in the outcome of a sporting event, compared to less than 3-in-10 (29%) Catholics, less than 1-in-5 (19%) white mainline Protestants, and approximately 1-in-10 (12%) religiously unaffiliated Americans.

More than one-third (36%) of Americans who live in the South agree that God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event, compared to nearly 3-in-10 (28%) Americans who live in the Midwest, 1-in-5 (20%) Americans who live in the Northeast, and 15% of Americans who live in the West.

What do you think about this theological sports center moment?  Do you believe that somewhere in paradise our Heavenly Father is playing Madden with real players? It is certainly interesting to consider.

One other fact I'd like to toss in your general direction because I do support this idea. According to the same survey that we've just discussed, 76% of Americans believe high schools should be able to sponsor a  prayer before high school football games.  I agree with that idea totally. I think anytime we get the chance to ask for the safety of our children we should take it.

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