Television host and former NFL football player Michael Strahan arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" in the Manhattan borough of New York, on May 2, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

Football rivals come together for 'Religion of Sports'

(RNS) A new documentary series will acknowledge what millions of football, soccer and baseball fans have known for years -- love of sports can be a religion.

"Religion of Sports" is  produced by former Super Bowl rivals Tom Brady and Michael Strahan, along with director Gotham Chopra, the son of spirituality guru Deepak Chopra. Its six hourlong episodes will air beginning Nov. 15 on the Audience Network.

The new series will examine Scottish soccer club rivalries, passions inspired by NASCAR racers, fans of minor league baseball, the rise of e-sports and a popular Canadian rodeo.

"You hear 'Religion of Sports,' and you say, 'OK, so sport is a religion?,'" said Strahan, who recently began co-hosting ABC's "Good Morning America." "Well, yeah, it really is. The temple is this arena or stadium. These athletes can be considered the gods in certain ways and the fans can be considered parishioners. So to be able to explore that and this spiritual connection between sports and life, that's what really piqued my interest."

Chopra likens the new series to "This American Life," the popular and long-running NPR radio storytelling series hosted by Ira Glass.

"It's stories about why sports gives people purpose, meaning and significance — whether you're an athlete, fan or person that works within sports," he told The Associated Press. "It's very much character-driven. The backdrop happens to be sports."

The link between sports and religion has long been recognized by everyone from serious academics to rabid fans. In 2009, the magazine Psychology Today reported: "Psychologists are closing in on the conclusion that sport has many of the same effects on spectators as religion does."




  1. While I would not disagree with the analysis by Michael Strahan, Deepak Chopra, and “Psychology Today,” I am not particularly gratified by it, and I’m a sports fan.

  2. Yep, sports is a religion for many people.

    I competed in a team sports on a high level for several decades and remain a spectator. I understand how to compete. By that I don’t mean simply skills for playing. I mean the more crucial mental and emotional skills required. Few rabid sports fans understand. That’s what makes them “rabid fans.”

    Thats why they do things like the 49ers fans who badly beat a spectator from the opposing city. That’s why Cubs fans literally ran out of town the man who touched the fly ball in left field, making possible the Cubs’s playoff loss.

    Just like any religion, when some involved become “rabid” about it (Christianists, Islamists) bad things happen.

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