This caused me no end of anguish, not because Rodgers had lost his faith in Jesus, but because I had been resolutely indifferent to the outcome of the game, since Green Bay and San Francisco have both won their share of Super Bowls. I would have been rooting hard for Green Bay, though, if I had known there was a chance that, if Rodgers had won, when he was inevitably asked by some sports reporter to whom he gave credit for his victory, he would have chirped, "Not God, that's for friggin' sure."
When the team of my ancestral home, the Philadelphia Eagles, won their first Super Bowl two years back, the hardest thing for me in the confetti-littered aftermath was watching the coach and the quarterback thanking God profusely and weepily for their victory, which only took the franchise fifty-one years to achieve. The Eagles' win was, for me, like any average rationalist, further proof of the indifference of the putative Almighty to human affairs. If you are familiar with the Philadelphia fan base, with their harsh accents, bloodstained mittens and cheesesteak breath, you soon realize that a just God would NEVER let a Philly sports team win a championship, whereas random fate gives them one every twenty-five years or so.
But I've covered this ground before, specifically back in 2012, under the title "Was Mighty Casey an Atheist? Here you go:
The St. Paul Saints, an independent minor league baseball team, recently had an "Atheist Night." In honor of their non-believing fans, the team wore uniforms in which the "s" had been removed from their name, converting them into the "Ain'ts."
The St. Paul Saints are not to be confused with the New Orleans Saints, or the Boondock Saints, both of which organizations, despite names indicating their pre-selection to a higher plane in the hereafter, mostly try to inflict bodily injury here on Earth.
Nor should St. Paul, Minnesota, be confused with any place south of the Mason-Dixon and east of San Bernardino, where any minor league team, if its management was deluded or self-destructive enough to have an "Atheist's Night," would surely have its stadium surrounded and possibly even burnt down by violently pious local Christians.
Why do people hate atheists anyway? Two reasons: First, religious people are certain that atheists think they are stupid for believing in things like virgin birth, not eating lobster and thinking that the Lord Shiva can set their underwear on fire any time He wants to. Second, they are afraid that the atheists are right, and that they (the religious) are wasting their lives by not cheerfully breaking any of the Commandments like a cheap piñata anytime they get the chance.
Religious belief nonetheless persists, in Minnesota and elsewhere. Nowhere is it more evident than in the personal witness of professional sports superstars, who constantly give all the credit to God when they win the game, whether it be regular season or World Series or Super Bowl. Hosannas by the victors in the major leagues are nearly inevitable every time they triumph.
Why are top athletes religious? The answer is simple. They get what they pray for. If they've wafted a prayer aloft in the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series, and God hung them a curve bell they belted over the fence, there's no talking them out of their faith. If Jesus deflected a pass off a defender's hands into theirs for a game-winning touchdown, Jesus has gotten himself a faithful follower who can't wait to give Him credit on the post-game show.
To find atheists in pro ball, you've got to look on the bench. Ask any pinch-hitter who's struck out his last four times at bat if he thinks he lives in a random, hostile universe where events are strictly governed by chance, and I'll bet you the answer is a bitter affirmative. Ask a long reliever who's just surrendered five runs in two-thirds of an inning if he believes in a special Providence that looks out for him and he'll probably spit his tobacco juice in a cup and throw it at you.
The guys who play for St. Paul are even worse off. The St. Paul Saints are an independent minor league team. That means its players are so far off the major league radar it would be a miracle (and no doubt they would start thanking Jesus for it) if any of them ever got noticed enough to be signed to ride the pine for even the most pitiful, last place team in the majors. Even their homers are hopeless. Their no-hitters mean nada. All of their victories are Pyrrhic. They're probably all atheists.
No wonder they gave themselves a night.