According to a recent study, the NFL averages over 200 concussions a year. But that’s only the number that gets officially reported – the real figure is likely far higher.

The following guest sermon was submitted by ULC Rev. Jeffery Phillips. All ULC Ministers are invited to contribute their own sermons for consideration/publication. To submit a sermon, please email it to sermons@ulc.org.


Superbowl Sunday is just around the corner, and people all over the country (and the world, even) are preparing to sink into the couch and overindulge in party food and alcohol as they take in the gladiatorial spectacle that is American football.

And what’s not to like about the Superbowl? There is pageantry, there is action, there’s even a concert at halftime. All you have to do is ignore the ever-present possibility of a serious head injury!

Before tuning in to the big game on Sunday, the question any self-respecting person of faith ought to be asking themselves is: would really God approve of this ultra-dangerous and exploitative “sport” we’ve concocted for the enjoyment of the masses?

Looking the Other Way

There’s no getting around it, football players risk their lives for our entertainment. We are the spectators in the coliseum, the players gladiators preparing for deadly conflict.

Football leads all major sports in frequency and severity of head injuries sustained by its players. According to a recent study, the NFL averages over 200 concussions a year. But that’s only the number that gets officially reported – the real figure is likely far higher.

From a biblical sense, how can one cheer on such an activity?

Gambling with Brain Health

Serious head injuries are not only frightening and disastrous for players’ short-term health, they can also create long-lasting consequences. After years of obfuscation and denial, studies have now definitively shown a link between playing football and the debilitating condition of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (also known as CTE).

Numerous former players have lost their lives to this condition while still relatively young, and autopsies later confirmed their brains had suffered trauma from repeated hits to the head.

The most eye-opening aspect of the whole thing is that CTE isn’t just caused by major concussions. The evidence suggests that repeated small hits, of the type that happen hundreds of times during a single football game (and thousands upon thousands of times during a given season), can also cause long term damage to the human brain.

Is There Virtue in Suffering?

In general, the Bible would have us believe there is. But this kind of suffering serves no good cause. Ask yourself, who benefits most from these gladiators in the arena throwing body against body, head against head?

The owners of the teams, surely, who rake in billions of dollars a year. How about the advertisers, who get to sell their shiny products to the millions of people tuned in to watch the game? And then there’s the viewers, who enjoy free entertainment from the comfort of their living rooms.

But the players themselves? Many come from disadvantaged backgrounds where football is the only way out. Sure, a select few get lucky enough to sign big multimillion-dollar contracts.

However, the average player makes less than $1 million a year and lasts just four years in the league. Many leave with chronic injuries that follow them for years. Their severance package: the very real possibility of developing CTE later in life, suffering a terrible decline and passing away prematurely.

Those are the facts. So I repeat: what would God think of our celebration of this violent and cruel tradition?

I, for one, believe he would be ashamed of our selfishness, greed, and lack of empathy for our fellow human beings. I won’t be tuning in to watch the Superbowl on Sunday, and I would urge you to do the same.

41 comments

  1. The Right Reverend D. Batch's Avatar The Right Reverend D. Batch

    I'm skipping the Olympics, too!

  1. Natalie's Avatar Natalie

    ah the stupid bowl .. not interested

  1. Cindy L Edgar's Avatar Cindy L Edgar

    Wow this is going too far

  1. robert's Avatar robert

    I am not too sure if God cares if I watch it or not ! But for the record I was never that big of a sports fan but when they started that kneeling crap I utterly and completely forever more will watch any of that communist junk!

    1. Chris's Avatar Chris

      Kneeling in silent protest is "communist junk"? How do you figure that? I'm curious what you rationale is.

      1. Jamie Erickson56's Avatar Jamie Erickson56

        I learned that kneeling is surrendering to our Creator. The point was to take notice...and bring to light certain injustices. Of course the haters have to be the loudest, thereby not hearing the silence, the truth.

    2. Richard Darwin Richards's Avatar Richard Darwin Richards

      Plus most of them are wife beaters.

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    God doesn't care about the Superbowl.

    1. Robin Anne Hannon's Avatar Robin Anne Hannon

      I agree what a ridiculous thing to be discussing. God has the Universe to run and Mankind to deal with, I doubt the SuperBowl is on his Agenda. Watch it or not, personal choice.

    2. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      I think that was exactly the guys point.

  1. James Ralph Bowen's Avatar James Ralph Bowen

    Whoever wrote this article is no better than any other liberal. Trying to twist the facts around. People have the right not to watch something if they don't like it. This is not 1984 orwellian America. You liberals don't have the right to force us to watch anything. For any reason. The sport has been compromised. It's more about propaganda than a game anymore. The halftime shows are disgusting. The athletes are overpaid little prima donnas to hate our country. The commercials don't even advertise a product anymore they push an agenda. They are being paid to make everything racial, or homosexual in nature. And it does not make anyone a bigot, racist or homophobic just because they don't want to sit and watch that crap over and over again for hours. I don't like watching commercials about kid toys. It doesn't mean I have anything against them. But I would much rather watch them than some 6 ft trans testicle with acne dressed up in a cheerleaders outfit waving their pom-poms into the camera in a flirting manner. I mean they're not even really clear on what the commercial is about. At least the commercials about HIV medicine that have homosexuals in it make some amount of sense. But when you based the entire commercial on someone's sexual identity rather than trying to sell a product which is the traditional reason for a commercial then yeah I don't like it. I don't even watch TV anymore because I am sick and tired of commercials. I am sick and tired of indoctrination. You can't even watch a television show without them mentioning junk science. And accusing other people of being science deniers. And yes they get paid to include that too. Bottom line is I have the right to believe what I want. And I have the right to say what I want. You do too but I don't have to listen to what you say any more than you have to listen to what I say

    1. Richard Darwin Richards's Avatar Richard Darwin Richards

      Agreed!!!!!

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    I'm not Into superbowl so if god asks me to skip super bowl no dramas.Is it as dangerous as English rugby . Because of all that gear they wear Yes I have an Acquired Brain injury due to a brain tumor op Leaving me with poor balance and short term memory loss.

  1. Gary Richard Noce's Avatar Gary Richard Noce

    Now why would God not want you to watch the Superbowl, hmmm. Do you really think He would say somethingike this ? I don't think so. Some people might make judgements and put thier opinion on this. But, God leaves such things up to each of us 1st of all. And second, I may understand all the money involved in the Superbowl that could be used elsewhere. But, it is a game that I'll be watching. Baseball is my other sport I enjoy watching and have played.

  1. Cindy L Edgar's Avatar Cindy L Edgar

    I will watch anything I want to watch and I don't care who likes it super bowl all the time

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Yes, I can see the complete logic in that omniscient direction. It should never have been called "football" in the first place. There is only one real football game where the ball is constantly kicked that does not stop and start, stop and start, stop and start. We all know what that is.....right ⚽️ ⚽️ The real sport of football actually gets going, people kick the ball a lot hence the name, and it has very few stoppages. The only pads they wear are shin pads. It's true that there are very few goals, and thereby hangs the excitement that one goal could win you the game. No one needs to paint a black line on their cheek bones to make them look bass ass. No one wears a helmet, because it's a mans game, much like Rugby is. The only protection Rugby players have is a band around their heads to keep their ears from being torn off, a common occurrence in Rugby. Oh, and one other thing....only in America can a sport be called "The World Series", where no other country in the world takes part.🤷🏻‍♂️

    Ok....rant and fun over. Have at me!!!! 🤪

    🦁♥️

  1. Reverend Gary's Avatar Reverend Gary

    Why watch a "game" the outcome of which has been predetermined and has been so predetermined for decades? Every year there are trillions of dollars wagered on professional sports world wide. Those multi-million dollar wagers are not entered into with ZERO assurance of the outcome of the game. But do not believe me, do your own research. do not be played a fool any longer. There are vast sources from which you can discover the depth of the corruption, the length of time it has been going on and the professional sports involved.

    The Bible tells us that,

    “a person who stirs up division, after warning them once and then twice, have nothing more to do with them, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”

    "What you sow, you shall reap"

    "What goes around, comes around"

    "Be careful what you say and think, as it will be visited upon your own life"

    “If you do not study history, then you are doomed to repeat it”

    Stand back, all of you, and take a look at the divisiveness all these blogs on U L C are creating! Is this even remotely what we people of spirit are about? Are we not leaders, looked upon by all others as beacons of truth and spiritual guides? How does any of this activity on this blog enhance and support that? Do any of you want to be remembered by the divisiveness, the anger, the hate you help create at the direction of the leader of U L C?

    Critically analyze the titles, headings and questions posed by the U L C staff uploading these “articles” and you will notice a very distinct purpose in those.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Does it really matter what a book says that was written decades later than the events mentioned, that’s if they ever really took place?

      🦁❤️

  1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

    YEAH in GOD WE TRUST, NO FOOLSBALL FOREVER !!!

  1. Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson's Avatar Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson

    No worries, have not watched football, the Olympics, or other professional sports since the mid-90's.

    The Olympics in particular lost me when they started letting Professional Athletes compete.

  1. Brien's Avatar Brien

    Leave the damn ball game alone, 👍

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    The reason the all powerful and all might God who can move heaven and earth doesn’t want you to watch the Super Bowl is because he screwed up and his team lost. What other reason would he have?

    Isn’t the ultimate Super Bowl between God and Science? God was doing really well up until the last half century. In the last half, God is getting his butt kicked by Science. Only way God could win now is with another flood or meteorite. God tried putting in the pandemic in the third quarter by Science put in the vaccine and pretty much neutralized that threat.

  1. Chris's Avatar Chris

    I would wager "God" would not want people watching the Superbowl for a number of reasons, violence among them. However, the biggest reason I should think is because most "Christians" recognize Sunday as the Sabbath Day and God specifically said to honor the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. I don't think watching any gladiatorial games would count as "keeping it holy."

    Even when you consider Sunday not the actual Sabbath Day, it's still a violent gladiatorial game and I find it difficult to believe any loving deity would support watching his or her children participating in them.

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    We ULC bishops, who are also saints with DD’s don’t believe (but know) that God and naturecare the same thing.

    Ergo, as Orwell noted in “1984” one of the ways to keep the sheeple under control, is to make gambling a habit — just like praying and or going to repetitive church services where the attendees are conditioned to praise nature (AKA, God) over and over in this life, to get them conditioned to praise nature (AKA, God) for eternity — after they die,

    If one has sufficient intelligence, one easily recognizes that praising nature for anything is silly — so they don’t usually do so; sheeple, on the other hand, keep praising and praising, throughout their lives.

    Is it better to watch the Super Bowl, instead of going to a boring repetitive church service?

    It depends on whether someone is a mere sheeple, or, if not — clearly part of the rabble.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Do we know which mythical deity this article is talking about?

    Is this deity more concerned about a sport than those children in the third world, and elsewhere, dying if diseases and poverty? Yet another reason to assume no deity really exists.

    🦁❤️

  1. Yanel Jay Laroche Jr.'s Avatar Yanel Jay Laroche Jr.

    Rivalry or contentions is condemned in the Holy Bible according to Galatians 5:19-21. Contention means striving to win in competition or rivalry. In Galatians 5:19-21,it talks about the works or sins of the flesh. Christians are not suppose to watch football.That is condemned in the Holy Bible.

  1. David Arthur Lewis's Avatar David Arthur Lewis

    I stopped watching sports when they legalized gambling. Now it's all rigged and they're all on dope. I don't even read about it in the paper.

  1. Gary Richard Noce's Avatar Gary Richard Noce

    Our Lord has a lot more important things to be concerned with, especially now. Keep God out of this silly thing.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Would that be Lord Krishna by any chance? Just asking for an asian friend of mine 🤷🏼

      🦁♥️

  1. Allen Nace's Avatar Allen Nace

    Well, "He Ain't in Charge of Nothing". Is football violent? Yes. Boxing? Yes. Religion? Yes. Religion and religious zealots have been violent and dangerous since religion was started. Also very Narcissistic. " Created in Gods Image?? Please! Sports is at least more honest about what it is than most religious activities and most Ministers, Priests, ..... Stay in your lane and fleece those who volunteer to be fleeced.

  1. Allen Nace's Avatar Allen Nace

    Well, "He Ain't in Charge of Nothing". Is football violent? Yes. Boxing? Yes. Religion? Yes. Religion and religious zealots have been violent and dangerous since religion was started. Also very Narcissistic. " Created in Gods Image?? Please! Sports is at least more honest about what it is than most religious activities and most Ministers, Priests, ..... Stay in your lane and fleece those who volunteer to be fleeced.

  1. Rev Ned's Avatar Rev Ned

    I’m OK with this. If Karl Marx were writing today, he would write, “Sports is the opiate of the people.”

  1. Michael Barton's Avatar Michael Barton

    Anyone can be outraged at any moment of day. It's crazy.

    The Super bowl is great the for Country, and World. It teaches people to try and be the best at something; to try hard, and get better. The capitalist side creates wealth for many and lifts them out of poverty.

    Some get injured, but more get inured & die driving their cars.

    Could the NFL do more? Sure, and we'll push them to do more. Safer equipment, better rules for safety, better care for injuries during and after NFL. All in the works!

    Hopefully you watched the game...

  1. Richard Clark's Avatar Richard Clark

    Why wasn't this posted more than a week ago? I would've shared this excellent piece on Facebook.

  1. Jeff's Avatar Jeff

    Life is all about trade-offs and measured risk. Yes, football is a dangerous sport for the players - CTEs and concussions do happen. But players aren't forced to play (like the gladiators of Rome), players are the biggest fans of the sport (the million dollar salaries help).

    Football is also very entertaining and enjoyable to watch for fans. It brings people together and makes life exciting.

    Let the players play and the fans watch - the benefits outweigh the dangers. All sports and activities has some level of risk.

    1. Jamie Erickson56's Avatar Jamie Erickson56

      Right on!

  1. Elbert French Gore's Avatar Elbert French Gore

    and who is he to speak for God he's damned

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    James Ralph Bowen you sound as if you have an anger problem. Perhaps counseling might help you discover where such hatred comes from?

  1. Richard Darwin Richards's Avatar Richard Darwin Richards

    All true Americans took a knee to the super bowl!

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Nah! You've been reading too many comic books. True Americans honor the flag, with hand on heart, and their country. 🇺🇸

      🦁♥️

  1. Richard Darwin Richards's Avatar Richard Darwin Richards

    Plus most of them are wife beaters.

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