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Half of American sports fans believe God or a supernatural force plays a role in the outcome of a sporting event, according to a survey released two weeks before the Super Bowl XLVIII game.
The survey, released Thursday by the Public Religion Research Institute, shows half of American sports fans believe the supernatural plays a role in the outcome of a game, meaning they either believe their team is cursed, they believe God plays a role in the outcome of their team's game, or they pray to God at some point during the game to help their team achieve victory.
The Public Religion Research Institute conducted the sports poll earlier in January via telephone. The poll found that 25 percent of sports fans in the U.S. believe their team has been cursed at some point in their sporting career, 26 percent of fans say they have prayed to God to help their team at some point, and 19 percent say they believe God plays a role in the outcome of a game. Half of all Americans employ one of these methods when watching sporting events.
The recent poll also found that football fans are more likely to link the supernatural to their favorite sport than other fans. Thirty-three percent of football fans pray for their team, compared to 21 percent of other sports fans, and 25 percent of football fans perform pre-game or game-time rituals, compared to only 18 percent of other fans. Additionally, 31 percent of football fans believe their team has been cursed at some point, compared to just 18 percent of other sports fans.
"As Americans tune in to the Super Bowl this year, fully half of fans – as many as 70 million Americans –believe there may be a twelfth man on the field influencing the outcome," Dr. Robert P. Jones, PRRI CEO, said in a statement. "Significant numbers of American sports fans believe in invoking assistance from God on behalf of their favorite team, or believe the divine may be playing out its own purpose in the game."
Currently, four NFL teams are vying for a spot in the 2014 Super Bowl at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. This weekend is sure to bring some exciting games with two interesting matchups. The San Francisco 49ers will be playing the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, while the New England Patriots will face off against the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colo.
The winners of each of these games will go on to play the Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2 in New Jersey. Predictions for who will end up at this year's Super Bowl are already rolling in, and odds released by VegasInsider show the Seattle Seahawks are most likely to win the Super Bowl with 19 to 10 odds, while the Denver Broncos come in second most likely with 2 to 1 odds.
Zach Kruse of the Bleacher Report has predicted the Seahawks will dominate the 49ers with a 27-17 win this weekend, due mostly to the Seahawks' ability to rack up a significant higher number of rushing yards compared to the 49ers. Meanwhile, Mike Freeman of the Bleacher Report has pointed out a couple reasons why Denver's odds are better than the Patriots for winning this weekend's game, citing Denver's stellar combination of running game and defense.