Could something so violent and so, well, profane as the Super Bowl be a religious occasion?
After all, this year's game did end with an unsuccessful Hail Mary heave by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. And Madonna, the half-time performer, told The Christian Post that exercise in national excess is "the holy of holies in America."
There is, of course, nothing inherently sacred about football, Jacques Berlinerblau writes at The Washington Post's On Faith blog, but Americans "imbue it with sanctity."
Society "confers holiness on its god/s (not vice versa)," Berlinerblau writes. "And if that’s the case, then a truly breathtaking number of Americans, by dint of their sheer volume, render the Super Bowl something of a sacred occurrence."
In fact, evangelical Christians and their athletes, he says, have most imbued the annual blood sport with its religious significance. And they certainly know how to make the most of the mega-game's audience and reach.
"Nothing in American pop culture can draw attention to your mission, music or product like professional football," Berlinerblau writes. "We may confer holiness by our collective interest in football. But many are those who will expertly channel that interest in the direction of their own gods."
That makes Super Bowl Sunday the High Holy Day for football-worshipping Americans.
Peggy Fletcher Stack
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