OK Everybody up! Rise and shine! I promise, no more stories about football after today. I have exhausted all I know about the game. Here’s my take on the Super Bowl.
It isn’t really about football. Nobody pays $5000 for a ticket to watch football. According to StubHub, the going price of Super Bowl tickets this year ranged from $2300 to $4518, but averaging all ticket sales the average price was $5,134. One lucky person paid $21,983. Whoever it was, I sure hope their team won. Now if this is really about football, you can watch for under $10 per seat at your local high school. No, this is not about football.
Then what is it? What drives normally sane people to pay insane prices to watch grown men tussle on the field, roll around on the ground, and sprint to the end of the field, clutching a ball that is so misshapen it looks like a defect? I give up. It isn’t about football.
Here’s what I think – and I could be completely out of the end zone here – but I think it’s all about the relationship. Yeh, not the touchy-feely kind of relationship, but the camaraderie, the excitement, the competition, the running with the crowd, and wanting what others have. Ask the companies who shell out $5 million dollars for a 30-second spot in the line-up. Fortune magazine says, “Ads in the February Super Bowl 50 broadcast will cost a record $5 million for a 30-second spot.” It isn’t about football, it’s about capitalizing on the crowds who don’t pay to see the game, but sit at home in their role as armchair quarterbacks, watching TV. Commercials are not about football, they are about 30 seconds of fame. The price is steep!
My team won Super Bowl 50, but when I watch the game it’s witnessing the energetic plays on the field, the tactics used man-to-man to serve their teams and protect the ball carrier so he can make it into the end zone and without fumbling, and if everything works according to team play, score a touchdown. I watch football, not because I understand the game, but because I understand the relationships. The strongest, fastest, most talented individual is a detriment to their team if they don’t play the position they’ve been given and if they play the game like they are the only one on the field. The only way to be a success in football is to play a specific role, integrated into the team, and be part of it.
Romans 12 is all about being relational and following the rules of team play. Let’s highlight a few of the characteristics of what we do – if we are good team players. We have different gifts to use to make us genuine team players: teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy. We have a playbook with prescribed actions: Be sincere in love, hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to each other, honor others above ourselves, be energetic in running the plays, be joyful, spread hope, share, exercise patience, do not be conceited, play in harmony with your team, don’t look down on anyone for the position they have – it is no less important than yours, don’t be vengeful. Pray for others.
Did you catch a glimpse of any of that on the field? Did you see the face to face conversations, the eye level trust, the unapologetic hugs, grown men jumping up and down in the traditional chest bump? Did you see the obvious perplexed looks of “How could that happen?” If you didn’t watch the game, have you caught a glimpse of any of that off the field, in real life? Football is visible and contained in a 360 X 140 foot rectangle. The playing field of life isn’t so obvious, yet the play by play actions are the most defining and precariously consequential.
What about today? Our game isn’t over. What can we do today to be good team players on the team that matters most – God’s team. Hebrews 3:13 says Encourage one another daily, as long as it is today.
I don’t know. Maybe it is about football. But maybe it’s about relationship.
Ticket stats from http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2016/02/07/super-bowl-50-tickets-denver-broncos-carolina-panthers/79967056/ USA Today
Super Bowl 50 ad pricing from http://fortune.com/2015/08/06/super-bowl-ad-cost/ Fortune.com
Photo credit Laura Heald for ESPN espn.go.com http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/14734266/after-perfect-ending-denver-broncos-peyton-manning-next-rodeo
I was prompted to write this after watching the post game show, listening to interviews of the game heroes who were all about the team, and reading some of the articles published the next day.