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 2:45 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts say Americans are ready for sensible gun laws, but politicians are cowed by the NRA. Everytown for Gun Safety will prove the NRA is not that powerful.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says Steve Israel is right: Some Republicans encourage anti-Latino prejudice. But that kind of bias is not limited to the GOP.
updated 7:23 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Peggy Drexler counts the ways Phyllis Schlafly's argument that lower pay for women helps them nab a husband is ridiculous.
updated 12:42 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Rick McGahey says Rep. Paul Ryan is signaling his presidential ambitions by appealing to hard core Republican values
updated 11:39 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Paul Saffo says current Google Glasses are doomed to become eBay collectibles, but they are only the leading edge of a surge in wearable tech that will change our lives
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Kathleen Blee says the KKK and white power or neo-Nazi groups give haters the purpose and urgency to use violence.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Henry Waxman say read deep, and you'll see the federal Keystone pipeline report spells out the pipeline is bad news
updated 7:53 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Frida Ghitis says President Obama needs to stop making empty threats against Russia and consider other options
updated 5:29 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say the Kansas Jewish Center killings are part of a string of lethal violence in the U.S. that outstrips al Qaeda-influenced attacks. Why don't we pay more attention?
updated 12:41 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Danny Cevallos says families of the passengers on Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 need legal counsel
updated 11:23 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
David Frum says Russia is on a rampage of mischief while Western leaders and Western alliances charged with keeping the peace hem and haw
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Most adults make the mistakes of hitting the snooze button and of checking emails first thing in the morning, writes Mel Robbins
updated 1:54 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
David Wheeler says as middle-class careers continue to disappear, we need a monthly cash payment to everyone
updated 7:55 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Democrats need to show more political spine when it comes to the issue of taxes.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Donna Brazile recalls the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act as four presidents honored the heroes of the movement and Lyndon Johnson, who signed the law
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Elmer Smith remembers Chuck Stone, the legendary journalist from Philadelphia who was known as a thorn in the side of police and an advocate for the little guy
updated 2:56 PM EDT, Sun April 13, 2014
Al Franken says Comcast, the nation's largest cable provider, wants to acquire Time Warner Cable, the nation's second-largest cable provider. Should we be concerned?
updated 11:22 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
Philip Cook and Kristin Goss says the Pennsylvania stabbing attack, which caused grave injury -- but not death, carries a lesson on guns for policymakers
updated 3:06 PM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
Wikipedia lists 105 football movies, but all too many of them are forgettable, writes Mike Downey
updated 10:32 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
John Sutter and hundreds of iReporters set out to run marathons after the bombings -- and learned a lot about the culture of running
updated 12:49 PM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
Timothy Stanley says it was cowardly to withdraw the offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The university should have done its homework on her narrow views and not made the offer
updated 10:16 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
Al Awlaki
Almost three years after his death in a 2011 CIA drone strike in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki continues to inspire violent jihadist extremists in the U.S, writes Peter Bergen
updated 9:21 PM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
David Bianculli says Colbert is a smart, funny interviewer, but ditching his blowhard persona to take over the mainstream late-night role may cost him fans
updated 1:31 PM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
Rep. Paul Ryan says the Republican budget places its trust in the people, not in Washington
updated 5:28 PM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
Aaron David Miller says Obama isn't to blame for Kerry's lack of progress in resolving Mideast talks
updated 11:22 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
David Weinberger says beyond focusing on the horrors of the attack a year ago, it's worth remembering the lessons it taught about strength, the dangers of idle speculation and Boston's solidarity
updated 12:32 PM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
Katherine Newman says the motive for the school stabbing attack in Pennsylvania is not yet known, but research on such rampages turns up similarities in suspects and circumstances
updated 2:39 PM EDT, Wed April 9, 2014
Wendy Townsend says the Rattlesnake Roundup -- where thousands of pounds of snakes are killed and tormented -- is barbaric
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT