By Aaron Earls
The Chicago Cubs are looking to capture their first World Series title since 1908. Many fans believe their century long championship drought is due to the so-called “Curse of the Billy Goat,” but most Americans see little connection between sports and the supernatural.
Only 25 percent of sports fans believe their team has been cursed at some point, according to a PRRI survey. Football fans (31 percent) were the most likely to believe their teams had been under a curse.
They also found 1 in 5 (21 percent) fans say they perform some ritual before or while watching their favorite team. Most rituals (66 percent) involve wearing a jersey or the team colors.
The vast majority of Americans believe God is hands off in big sporting events, according to Lifeway Research. Almost 9 in 10 (85 percent) say God does not determine the winner of the Super Bowl. Even more (88 percent) say God doesn’t care who wins.
“Our previous research has shown most Americans think God is concerned with their day-to-day decisions,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “Yet this survey shows Americans do not see God as interested in their favorite sport.”
Lifeway Research also found only 13 percent of Americans admit to praying their sports team would win. That’s less than those who’ve prayed to win the lottery (21 percent) or prayed something bad they did would not be discovered (15 percent).
But it’s entirely possible the number of sports prayers might be higher this week in Chicago and Cleveland. While the Cubs are looking to win their first World Series in almost 110 years, the Indians are trying to shake off their championship drought stretching back to 1948. Even if curses aren’t real, that’s a lot of history to overcome.
AARON EARLS (Aaron.Earls@Lifeway.com) is online editor of Facts & Trends.