Survey: 27 Percent Of Americans Believe God Helps Decide Who Wins Sporting Events

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Because it's Super Bowl time, everyone has to get in on the football. The Public Religion Research Institute conducted a survey earlier this month, and asked its random sample of 1,033 adults a bunch of questions about the NFL. Most of the responses aren't surprising or interesting (Lots of people watch football! Even more people watch the Super Bowl!), but two specific questions and results are worth highlighting.

Perhaps the most shocking is that 27 percent of those polled—more than a quarter—believe that "God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event." Watch a game with three of your buddies. Odds are that one of you wholeheartedly believes that God has a vested interest in the outcome of the game, and will influence it to get His way. This could really throw off Vegas's lines.

There's more. You know how athletes, in postgame interviews, often thank God? They believe God is specifically looking out for them and their health. A majority of Americans agree. According to the survey, 53 percent of respondents believe that "God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success."


There's variation across respondents. Minority Christians and white Evangelicals, as well as Southerners, are the most likely to believe God cares about sporting events and athletes; the religiously unaffiliated, and people from the West and the Northeast, are the least likely to agree.

Here's a chart. And keep in mind that on Sunday, more than one-in-four of your fellow Americans will go to bed convinced that whichever team raised the Lombardi Trophy only won because God willed it.


Public Religion Research Institute