Ah, Super Bowl Sunday. Another one of those days on the liturgical calendar of American civil religion when reporters have to stretch and stretch in an attempt to find valid story angles to fill niches in the inevitable wave of coverage.
Religion-beat pros can get sucked into this whirlpool, as well. The traditional Super Bowl religion-angle story is, of course, the whole "Does God care who wins a football game" story. As I have noted many times, the more devout the believer who is actually involved in the game (classic example would have been the great Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry), the less likely they are to believe in some kind of cause-and-effect prayer equation here.
Thus, most believers simply say that athletes should pray to play their best and for participants to avoid injuries.
But this is not the kind of theological problem that devout Christians actually think about, when faced with something like the Super Bowl. So, if reporters are looking for a valid story linked to The Big Game, what might that look like?
This year, let me point readers toward a feature by a former student of mine, Tim Ellsworth, a communications pro at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., who also writes sports features for Baptist Press. What's his angle this year?
Clue: It comes before a fall.
HOUSTON (BP) -- They work at a job where millions of people watch them. They are cheered, admired, lauded and pampered. People recognize them, hound them for autographs and care what they have to say.
Falcons' long snapper Josh Harris and Patriots' wide receiver Matthew Slater share how professional athletes often struggle with pride.