Skip to main content

Who is God backing in the Super Bowl?

By Dean Obeidallah, Special to CNN
updated 4:18 PM EST, Fri February 1, 2013
A Super Bowl flag is seen on Bourbon Street ahead of Super Bowl XLVII at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans
A Super Bowl flag is seen on Bourbon Street ahead of Super Bowl XLVII at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Study: 27% of Americans believe God plays a role in which team wins in sports
  • Dean Obeidallah: If God backs teams for championships, God likes the Yankees
  • He says pick for Super Bowl a tough call: Both teams have God-loving players
  • Obeidallah: San Fran QB Kaepernick said it right: "I think he's helping everybody"

Editor's note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is a political comedian and frequent commentator on various TV networks including CNN. He is the editor of the politics blog "The Dean's Report" and co-director of the upcoming documentary, "The Muslims Are Coming!" Follow him on Twitter: @deanofcomedy.

(CNN) -- A fumble on the goal line. An interception returned for a touchdown. A missed game-winning field goal in the closing seconds. Most view these as just part of the game of football. But could these things actually be the work of God?

Well, according to a new poll, 27% of Americans believe that God "plays a role in determining which team wins" sporting events. That means about 80 million Americans believe that God will help one of the teams in this Sunday's Super Bowl.

If God influences which teams win championships, it's clear that God likes certain teams more than others. And God's favorite -- and I know many will hate to hear this -- is clearly the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers have won 27 world championships, far and away the most championships of any American professional sports team.

Other teams high up there on God's fantasy sports team include the Boston Celtics with 17 NBA championships, the Pittsburgh Steelers with six Super Bowl wins and the Detroit Red Wings with 11 Stanley Cup titles.

Dean Obeidallah
Dean Obeidallah
Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



And if God's affection for your team translates into more championships, then God really hates the Chicago Cubs. OK, maybe "hate" is too harsh, but there must be a reason the Cubs haven't won a championship in more than 100 years. What did the team do to deserve this much pain?

Opinion: I hate, hate Super Bowl parties

Even the Cubs crosstown rivals, the Chicago White Sox, won a World Series in 2005. And keep in mind that organization was involved in the infamous "Black Sox" scandal, in which some of its players took bribes in exchange for intentionally losing the 1919 World Series.

But despite the Cubs' horrible history, a special place must be reserved in God's doghouse for the NFL's Buffalo Bills. Not only haven't the Bills won a Super Bowl in 46 years, they made it to the Super Bowl four years in a row, from 1991-1994, and lost every time.

The most painful loss was in 1991, when the Bills' kicker missed a game-winning field goal in the closing seconds, resulting in a one-point victory for the New York Giants. (Being a Giants fan, I was praying for the kicker to miss, so maybe God was involved on some level.)

Of course, if God is helping teams win, how do you explain the success of teams with names like the New Jersey Devils or Duke Blue Devils? The New Jersey Devils have three Stanley Cup Championships and the Duke Blue Devils are consistently a powerhouse in NCAA men's basketball, winning their last national championship in 2010. Perhaps God has some evil competition in the area of sports?

Super Bowl ad earns creator $1 million
Baltimore, San Francisco fans celebrate
Soothsaying bear makes Super Bowl pick

In any event, let's turn to Sunday's Super Bowl. Are there any signs that might indicate which team God may support in the match between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers?

It's truly a tough call. Both teams feature stars who have publicly declared their strong connection with the big guy in the sky. The Ravens' Ray Lewis excitedly announced after his team's victory propelling them to the Super Bowl: "God is so amazing." While the 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently said: "I think God watches over everybody. ... He has a plan for everyone."

Amid 'storybook' ending, Ray Lewis is still controversial

But public displays of devotion to God alone have not proven to propel an entire team to victory -- just ask Tim Tebow. He's watching the Super Bowl on TV.

Maybe we should look at which team has had more success in the past -- that could be a sign.

Well, the Baltimore Ravens have won only one Super Bowl, the one played in 2000. But the team has consistently made it to the playoffs, year after year.

And while the 49ers haven't won a Super Bowl since 1995, the organization won five NFL championships between 1982 and 1995.

So, which team will God be rooting for come Sunday? As someone who believes strongly in God, I actually hope that God could care less which team wins. I'd hate to think prayers weren't being answered because God was watching the Super Bowl. I'd prefer that God be focused on helping people truly in need of assistance with bigger challenges than covering the point spread.

To me, San Francisco's Kaepernick had it right with his recent statement: "I don't think (God's) cheering for one team or another. I think he's helping everybody, just trying to keep everybody safe."

God does, indeed, work in mysterious ways, so we will truly never know if certain teams are favored. But if they are, here's praying that the New York Giants will be back in the 2014 Super Bowl.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions in this commentary are solely those of Dean Obeidallah.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:53 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Jeff Yang calls Ello a wakeup call to Facebook and Twitter, and a sign of hope for fast-rising upstarts Pinterest and Snapchat.
updated 6:48 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Paul Waldman says the Secret Service should examine its procedures to make sure there are no threats to the White House--but without losing the openness so valuable to democracy
updated 4:49 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Jesse Williams says the videotape and 911 call that resulted in police gunning down John Crawford at a Walmart reveals the fatal injustice of racial assumptions
updated 7:03 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Mel Robbins says officials should drop the P.C. pose: The beheading in Oklahoma was not workplace violence. Plenty of evidence shows Alton Nolen was an admirer of ISIS.
updated 3:11 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, William Piekos says..
updated 3:11 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, writes William Piekos.
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits America, Madeleine Albright says a world roiled by conflict needs these two great democracies to commit to moving their partnership forward
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
John Sutter: Lake Providence, Louisiana, is the parish seat of the "most unequal place in America." And until somewhat recently, the poor side of town was invisible on Google Street View.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Julian Zelizer says in the run up to the 2016 election the party faces divisions on its approach to the U.S.'s place in the world
updated 10:19 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says Common Core supporters can't devise a new set of standards and then fail to effectively sell it.
updated 9:29 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Earlier this month, Kenyans commemorated the heinous attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
updated 2:59 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
David Wheeler says Colorado students are right to protest curriculum changes that downplays civil disobedience.
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Sally Kohn says when people click on hacked celebrity photos or ISIS videos, they are encouraging the bad guys.
updated 7:55 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Loren Bunche says she walked by a homeless man every day and felt bad about it -- until one day she paused to get to know him
updated 9:32 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
ISIS grabs headlines on social media, but hateful speech is no match for moderate voices, says Nadia Oweidat.
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
A new report counts jihadists fighting globally. The verdict? The threat isn't that big, says Peter Bergen.
updated 5:37 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Ebola could become the biggest humanitarian disaster in a generation, writes former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
updated 12:58 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
ISIS has shocked the world. But will releasing videos of executions backfire? Four experts give their take.
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Eric Holder kicked off his stormy tenure as attorney general with a challenge to the public that set tone for six turbulent years as top law-enforcement officer.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
LZ Granderson says Obama was elected as a war-ending change agent, not a leader who would leave behind for his successor new engagement in Iraq and Syria. Is he as disappointed as the rest of us?
updated 5:10 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
Gayle Lemmon says the question now is how to translate all the high-profile feminizing into real gains for women
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT