Time magazine recently observed that what wins football games is not the quarterback or the offensive line: it’s God. Joel Stein reported that if he wants to know who’s going to win the Super Bowl, he goes to the people who serve as middle-men between God and the players. He concludes the team with the best chaplain doesn’t simply win, but totally covers the spread. What else to NFL chaplains do? Well they run Bible studies, hold short services on Saturday night before games, and warn against the dangers of gambling. Chaplains claim their sermons are not about God helping the players win the game, but more about safety, health, and the strength to play with passion. Oh and they also like to talk about fatherhood for those who may forget to tuck their darlings in at night with prayer. As it turns out, the Patriots are one of the very few NFL teams that do not enjoy the counsel of a chaplain and they lost! Go figure.

But it gets better. Chaplains often convene the players after the game and what we learn about those prayerful conversations is that players usually realize what a small part they play in forging the outcome of the game and express gratitude for being able to play, their opponents, and their health, hoping everybody had a rousing good time. I’d think about going to church there myself.