Whittier College News Release

The Tip Sheet  
Whittier College
Office of Public Relations
13406 Philadelphia St. P.O. Box 634
Whittier, CA  90608-0634
Jan. 21, 2003
Reference: 02/03: 49       
Judy Browning at (562) 907-4216

Maybe That’s Why They Call it a Hail Mary Pass?                  

     Is the Super Bowl a religious experience?  What do pilgrims to religious sites and the football fans headed for San Diego have in common?  More than you might think, according to Joe Price, professor of religious studies at Whittier College in Southern California, avid sports fan and editor of From Season to Season: Sports as American Religion.

     “They're all making a pilgrimage,” says Price.  “Armchair quarterbacks don’t often think of the Super Bowl as a religious event, but it becomes the passionate focus for their attention.  In terms of how it orients peoples’ life patterns and demands commitment from its followers, the Super Bowl functions as a religious festival.”

     Price, who is teaching a course on sports and religion during Whittier’s January Interim, has other thoughts about the similarities between the big game and religion—including how souvenirs function as the secular version of holy relics, how fan behavior mimics that of the devout, and why we care so much about who sings the national anthem.

     Price can be reached via e-mail at jprice@whittier.edu, or by telephone at (562) 907-4803.  His evening number is (562) 945-5772.


Whittier College Office of Communications
13406 Philadelphia » P.O. Box 634 » Whittier, CA 90608-0634
Tel: (562) 907-4213 » Fax: (562) 907-4927