“These are better days baby
“These are better days it's true
“These are better days
“Better days are shining through”
— Bruce Springsteen, "Better Days"
I witnessed the most incredible thing yesterday while watching the Super Bowl. And, no, I'm not talking about that fantastic 12-minute tour-de-force of a performance by The Boss at halftime (now that was a halftime show!!).
Nor am I talking about the game itself, which turned out to be pretty damn good. I mean, I'm not even a fan of football, but the second half certainly made for a thrilling game regardless of which team you were cheering for, which in my case was the underdog Arizona Cardinals with their 37-year-old age-defying quarterback, Kurt Warner.
No, what I'm talking about here had nothing to do with the game, the entertainment, or even the ads. What I am referring to is the rarest of occurrences at an American sporting event, something you'll be hard pressed to ever witness again, at least if the recent past is any indication of what's to come in the future.
I'm talking about what happened—or didn't happen, to be more precise—during the post-game interviews that took place immediately following the trophy presentation to the triumphant Pittsburgh Steelers. You probably noticed it yourself. Not one of the four people interviewed—quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, game MVP Santonio Holmes, team owner Dan Rooney, or Steelers coach Mike Tomlin—expressed any sort of gratitude to God for their big win.
That is, unlike after just about every other Super Bowl, NBA, or World Series championship in recent years, not one of these four expressed any sort of conviction or belief in the idea that it was God Himself who had helped them vanquish their rivals and win this prestigious trophy.
That's right; in not thanking God for intervening on their team's behalf, these Godless Steelers left open the possibility—which has not been openly expressed in America in recent years—that God, in fact, had no interest whatsoever in which team won this year's championship.
They also, terrifying as it may be for some to contemplate, inadvertently poisoned the minds of the millions of kids watching by instilling in these innocent children the notion that great things can actually be achieved by hard work, dedication, perhaps a bit of luck, and absolutely no divine intervention whatsoever.
Expect Jim Dobson of Focus on the Family to launch a lawsuit against NBC within the next few days for broadcasting such indecency during prime time.
Locker Room Confidential
Perhaps America is indeed entering into a whole new era—not just an Obama era of hope and change, but a sane era of logic and rational thought.
But, then again, maybe not.
Because I have to admit that I turned the TV off immediately after that main post-game trophy presentation, not wanting to have this momentous occasion wrecked by some mindless locker-room on-camera comment such as, "I just want to thank God for helping us out there today and Jesus for helping us make it through the playoffs, and Mother Mary for making sure I, personally, made the team in the first place."
In fact, I realize there's a good chance that I actually missed numerous such locker-room confessions of faith about "God's belief in this team", but nonetheless, I still want to acknowledge that it was one hell of a historic night. Because, whatever went on in those late-evening interviews, nothing can take away from the fact that the immediate post-game ceremony (for once!) wasn't in any way tainted by mindless illogical ravings.
Let's face it, if God can't even intervene to stop the suffering and repression in places like Darfur, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Palestine, Burma, and North Korea, do you really think He gives a fuck who wins the Super Bowl? Or any other sporting event, Oscar, or Grammy, for that matter?
As I wrote in an earlier piece, “The Don't Thank God For The Lunacy of The Runaway Ego Rant", this belief that God is literally on your side and not on the side of your opponent not only involves a giant illogical leap of superstitious lunacy, but also one hell of an oversized ego—and perhaps even a mild case of maniacal delusions of grandeur.
So thanks Steelers, thanks for an entertaining game of football and thanks for instilling a little bit of rationality into the world of American sports. Thanks especially for not confusing the kids with ridiculous notions of divine intervention on the football field.
It is the Super Bowl—not the Superstitious Bowl—after all.
Besides, everyone knows God is a hockey fan.
Mike Cowie is a writer currently embarked on a book about his three-year trip across Asia with his wife, Sonoko. Read more of Mike’s views on his Web site.