As the football season has begun, we as members of the viewing public have already witnessed some pretty spectacular miracles.
A local school has made that fact clear in a few of their recent games. Brigham Young University in its first two games came back from a deficit and in the final minutes won the game on a Hail Mary pass. What made the feat more so miraculous was the fact that their quarterback is a freshman, who had no hope of seeing playing time this year before senior quarterback Taysom Hill was injured.
Situations like that rarely happen once, and yet for BYU, it happened twice. The fact that I witnessed the second event with my own eyes made me furious–but not because it happened.
The chatter from members of their fan base for the whole week was akin to a spiritual awakening. Many used a phrase that is both incredulous and asinine and irritates me to no end.
“They won because they are God’s school.”
Why, people? Just, why?
Look, I am a church-going man. I do all the proper things with as much frequency as needed, and that phrase drives me crazy. No where in any holy writ is the idea that God sits in heaven deciding football games. If that were the case, then any team promoting the idea that God has chosen their school would be winning a national championship every single year.
A clear example of this was the 2015 NFC championship game between the Seahawks and the Packers. We all can recall the Packers dominating that game until the last five minutes, where they promptly fell apart and lost the game in overtime. In the post-game interviews, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said that God wanted the outcome of that game to be the way it was.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers later in an ESPN radio interview made a very clear point.
“I don’t think God cares a whole lot about the outcome,” he said. “He cares about the people involved, but I don’t think he’s a big football fan.”
I’m not here to discuss whether there is a God or not. We can do that somewhere else. No, instead of pointing to deity, let’s attribute the facts where they should be.
The Seakhaws won simply because the Packers didn’t finish the game. No deity was involved in that, just plain old bad luck. The Seahawks later learned the taste of bad luck when their chance at a consecutive Super Bowl title was ripped from their hands by a late interception.
In the case of BYU, the truth is that luck played a huge role in their two late victories–well, that and two defenses blowing coverage at the last minute. In the most recent two games, their luck has run out, losing a close game to UCLA and being dominated by Michigan 31-0 on national television.
So, fans and players alike, let’s use some common sense here. Games are won by players going out and performing to their best abilities. When that isn’t enough, then its best to trust your luck.
Don’t get me wrong, please go on believing whatever you believe. Just keep football out of the church.
Besides, the TV signal is lousy there anyway.