Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Religion of Football

For many arm chair quarterbacks in the USA the National Football League (NFL) IS their religion with them attending "services" every Sunday whether in a stadium or on their couch. Personally I am a religious person and I LOVE football so I live in both worlds so today's Pioneer Press ( newspaper article, "NFL sacks church Super Bowl bash", was of particular interest to me.

The issue here is that the Woodbury Lutheran Church (Minnesota) had planned to host a potluck dinner the night of Super Bowl Sunday for an expected crowd of 150 people but because the church advertised the event as a "Super Bowl Party" AND charged admission the NFL ordered them to cancel the event leaving the church with a lot of leftover food.

Now this is a classic case of a business -- the NFL in this case -- missing a market opportunity much life the recorded music industry (Recording Industry Association of America - RIAA) did when millions of people started downloading music illegally. Instead of embracing this new online market/technological change RIAA launched lawsuits against everyone and anyone thus killing off new ventures like Napster (which re-surfaced recently as a legal business). Let me advise the NFL's management and owners to review some of their own game films where players are quoted, "giving all thanks to God for what we did here today........" during post-game interviews or the numerous prayer circles I have seen on TV where players from both teams bow their heads in prayer while on one knee in post-game prayer sessions with each other.

As I read this article I was reminded of my drive across Missouri and Kansas last week where I saw the national headquarters of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes ( which was founded in 1954 thus providing clear evidence to the NFL that religion and sports have been very intertwined for over 50 years so perhaps they are missing an emerging market just like RIAA did with music downloading. Instead of ordering churches not to host Super Bowl parties the NFL should embrace their constituents via:

  • Hosting a televised prayer breakfast before the Super Bowl
  • Work with FCA chapters across the country to host Super Bowl parties
  • Work with the various religious charities such as Habitat For Humanity to get the NFL's players involved in their communities

A few basic ideas for some new thinking in the NFL.

God Bless the Vikings, (they need it)


No comments: