God and American football: Millions see a connection

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Did God lift Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s overtime pass into the end zone on Jan. 18, rewarding the prayerful Christian player with a championship victory and a trip to the Super Bowl? Millions of Americans may think so.

Russell Wilson on Jan. 18.

Russell Wilson on Jan. 18.

“One in four Americans believe there will be a 12th man on the field, and that the hand of God will be seen before the final whistle blows in the Super Bowl,” said Robert Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute.

And 53 percent agree God “rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success,” according to a new PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey released Thursday (Jan. 22). …

“I was surprised at how seriously Americans are taking domestic violence in sports. Nearly one in three (29 percent) would support a lifetime ban for a player convicted of domestic violence,” said Jones. “That’s a heavy penalty.” …

For all the controversies, Americans are still captivated by football. Eighteen percent of Americans — led by 45 percent of white evangelical Protestants and 30 percent of Catholics — say they are more likely to watch football any given Sunday than go to church.

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