According to one critic (Harris, 1981), "it has turned into a passion, a mania, a drug far more potent and widespread than any mere chemical substance." It is the new opium of the people. Sure, a given play every now and then may seem downright supernatural (the Hail Mary pass which works, for example), but the super slow-mo always shows no rules of physics were violated.
Then there is repetitive chanting of team encouragement, hand-clapping, booing the other team, doing the wave, and so forth.
The singing of an anthem at a sporting event likely has similar psychological effects as the singing of a hymn in church.
On thinks of liberation theology in Latin America, for instance. People change their sports and voting alliances much more freely (and are much less likely to follow their parents) than they do their religions, and a large number are "fair weather" fans who only get behind their team when it's winning.
Sports And Religion Essay