Friday, January 31, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday – Why We Do It

{Published in Refreshed Magazine}

This month America arrived at another Super Bowl. Despite threats of blackout, and controversy over the trademarked use of “Super Bowl,” (“that big game in New Jersey?”), and the Chargers’ close call that has so many still crying in their salsa, one thing is for sure: We were watching.

But what is it that draws so many, so faithfully, for so long? Many tune in as much for the commercial ads and halftime show, as for the game. Super Bowl Sunday in America is now considered the nation’s top unofficial holiday. Many tune in as much for the commercial ads and halftime show, as for the game. Super Bowl Sunday in America is now considered the nation’s top unofficial holiday.
It’s been said that “football is a game played by 22 men in desperate need of rest… and watched by 60,000 people in desperate need of exercise.” True? Probably. Especially the part that “football is… watched.
During any given NFL season, the top 10 watched shows of that year will be NFL games broadcast in homes and on smart phones, tablets and iPads of tens of millions of rabid fans, cheering on their favorite team, all of it leading up to the greatest of them all – the Super Bowl.
Chances are – you’ll be watching from somewhere… and you’ll most likely not be watching alone, as the Big Game is the #1 “at home event of the year” with 125 million viewers. No wonder 30-second commercial ads now cost $4 million. There is a lot at stake. Not only for the two teams on the field… but for the corporate advertisers who want to attract your attention…and your wallet.  
In fact, nationwide, the average “population” of a Super Bowl gathering will be 17. With an estimated consumption of 15,000 tons of chips, 4000 tons of popcorn and 12 million pounds of avocados (that’s a lot of guacamole!), it’s no wonder there will be a 20% increase in antacids sold the day after the game.
Why do we do it? Why the popularity? 3 reasons: Community, Activity and Escape.
Community: When God said that “It is not good for man to be alone…” (Gen. 2:18), He was not only referring to the institution of marriage, but also our day-today interaction with each other. We do better together!
I can surely attest to this. After working with professional athletes over the past 34 years, when the players eventually turn in their playbooks and call it a career, the top thing they say they miss most… is not the paydays (I wouldn’t mind one of those), or even the competing – but rather the camaraderie, togetherness and sense of team. Community. Athletes are wired for it. And so are you.
Activity: People gather, go out, celebrate and party – to get involved with something that they want to do…to help get them through all the things that they DON’T want to do! We get excited about having something to look forward to. Maybe this is why the Bible speaks so often about things to come. Over ¼ of the Bible deals with future events. For every verse that speaks about Jesus’ first coming, there are seven that speak about his second coming. The Super Bowl is an American attraction viewed by millions. However, the Bible speaks of a global occurrence that will simultaneously capture the fascination of the entire world: The second coming of Jesus Christ. “Look, He is coming… Every eye will see Him.” Rev. 1:7
Escape:  From time to time all of us look for things to get our minds off of everyday life. The devil desires for us to look for those things in the wrong places. However, God says, “I have given all things richly to enjoy.” 1 Tim. 6:17 The greatest escape I have found from the world’s stresses, trials and attacks is unequivocally found in Him. Whether it’s a ball game, child rearing or any fascination of life, He provides a fulfillment which assures, no matter what the outcome of your personal situation, we can always have a confidence that we win – in Him.
As the great Green Bay Packers’ Reggie White was fond of saying, “I don’t want to prepare for the Super Bowl…and miss heaven.” He had his priorities right. I pray you do too. Hope you enjoyed the game.