Stevie Johnson won the game for the Buffalo Bills. That’s what Geoff Hangartner thought when he turned his back the moment the ball landed perfectly in Johnson’s hands and he rushed to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to celebrate. “Perhaps a little dance, perhaps I’ll throw the signal caller on my back and gallop around for a little bit; maybe just a simple helmet bump,” the Bills center thought.
Fitzpatrick, by that time, had already gone from celebration to mourning, clutching his helmet in disbelief. The Harvard-educated quarterback knew the degree of the ball’s trajectory, the force with which he threw it, and the speed of the wide receiver all came together to make the perfect throw. He also knew the odds that such a perfect throw would be dropped were low, yet still feasible. And he knew the likelihood that what he was seeing was real and not a philosophical manifestation or existential occurrence.
Steve Johnson was not so cerebral about it. He just knew that he had [bleeped] up. He did catch the ball perfectly on the bounce though, so he had that going for him. But that didn’t count and someone was to blame. Who would have thought that it was the Lord?
After the game, the wide receiver tweeted, “I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!!” YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO”
Is God even on Twitter? Not that HE couldn’t figure it out, but HE may have deemed it as a waste of time. I mean, after all, if HE was spending time on the site, do you think HE would’ve finished the world in only six days? HE’s very into time management.
But that’s besides that point. One thing we do know is that God has a sense of humor. It’s why some men have hair on their backs, but not their heads. It’s why we still need orthodonture work done throughout our adulthood after getting a half dozen teeth pulled and wearing braces for two years during adolescence.
Have you ever lost your keys and looked in your coat pocket without finding them. Then you’re back to your coat pocket later in the day and the object reappears? That’s God. You can thank him for replacing your keys. Of course, you could also blame him for taking them in the first place.
Though an omniscient being, do you think God gets the sarcasm at the end? “Thx tho.” Or was Johnson being sincere? “Oh, yeah, thanks for those times you didn’t screw me. I wouldn’t want to see ungrateful. But for this particular time, you’re on my list, buddy.”
Players frequently thank the Lord when they win the game or make a great play. This would be the first time in recorded history where the “Big G” was publicly thrown under the Crosstown Heavenly Express Bus (the #8 for those with a heavenly bus schedule).
But what hand does God actually have in the game? There’s this old gem from a couple of years ago:
God was giving Yankees manager Joe Torre a tour of heaven. He showed him a little run-down 2-room house with a faded Yankees banner hanging from the front porch. God said, “This is your new home, Skip. Most people don’t get their own house up here.”
Joe looked at the house then turned to see the house on the top of the hill; a huge 2-story mansion with white marble columns and plush patios under each window. Boston Red Sox flags lined the sidewalks and windows and a huge Red Sox banner hung between the marble columns.
“God, with all due respect, let me ask you a question: How come I get this little house with a torn Yankees banner that proclaims our 26 World Series titles while Terry Francona gets a huge mansion with Red Sox banners and flags flying all over the place?”
God smiles for a moment then replies, “That’s not Terry’s house, that’s mine.”
And you can replace the Yankees with the Patriots or Duke Blue Devils, whatever you want. The truth is God doesn’t have a favorite. HE just has a sense of humor. HE loves that joke. HE loves when you tell it to make your team feel like they are chosen. HE also loves when your team screws up. It’s funny. Ever see those blooper reels on the lighter side of sports? God’s got them all (on Blueray, of course).
He’s certainly not biased toward one team or another . . . (although there is significant evidence to indicate he’s not a fan of Cleveland). But scholars spend so much time focusing on the existence of God and his effect on games that they neglect his most significant nemesis, the Devil.
Remember, the Hades resident exists as much as he’d have you forgot about him. “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” That’s from “The Usual Suspects” and doesn’t give away the ending, though if you still haven’t seen it by now, I should ruin it for you just based on principle.
I find it strange that El Diablo doesn’t get more due. He’s behind lots of things. But winners praise God, who is probably amused by the attention, while the Devil is ignored. It would make just as much sense, if not more.
Take the 1990 NY Giants after the kick by Buffalo’s Scott Norwood’s sailed wide right sealing his team’s fate – why don’t players get into the locker room after the game and say to the reporters, “Phew! The Bills played tough out there tonight, but we had Lucifer on our side. Thank the Devil. Super Bowl Champs, Baby!!!”
God, quite frankly, is not a sports fan. Do you know how trying that would be on HIM? “Have you ever seen a World Series baseball game on tv?” Of course, you haven’t, few people have. Sorry. Stupid question. Any sport will do, really.
If you had, you’d see all these people sitting in the stands, hands clasped deep in prayer. Most of them swear their butts off and are probably cheating on their spouses, so they’re not really very religious. During these times, God gets deluged with requests much like a city’s septic system does during commercials of a Super Bowl broadcast.
Philosophers have struggled over this for centuries, back when the first rock slipped through the first caveman’s hands or a sword fell out of a Gladiator’s hand just as the lion was about to pounce, or the sun got into a knight’s eyes enough to obscure the angle of the attacking knight’s lance.
The issue has haunted the likes of such great minds as Kirkegaard, Newton, and Vegas bookmaker Joey “Muffintop” D’Angelo who theorized that God was a fan of Rollie Massimino’s animated coaching style and thus made a fortune on the 1985 CAA Finals.
Nope, Lucifer just knew a good opportunity to screw a lot of bettors. “#8 seeds never win.” Heh heh. Yeah, we’ll see about that.
The Devil is the sports fan. He loves messing with things. God has better things to do. If God cared, do you think the Yankees would really have 27 championships? Would a team named the Blue Devils win so much? How would that look? (Actually, that’s exactly the kind of humor God goes for. He’s an ironic dude.)
Of course, there is the less-publicized theory that a couple of guys at Buffalo Wild Wings who weren’t ready to head home to their wives used their connections to the Rich Stadium grounds crew to keep the game going. But like I said, it’s only a theory.
What do I know anyway? Until now, I thought Newton spent all his time creating a delectable snack cookie made from figs.
[featured image by: Danilo Rizzuti]