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Jesus Needs New PR

Does God Play Football? (Win @Chad_Gibbs Book)

This is a guest post by my friend Chad Gibbs, the author of the very thoughtful and hilarious God and Football. (You can follow him on Twitter here… @chad_gibbs)

Last week when I excitedly told my wife that Matthew Paul Turner had asked me to guest post on his blog, she replied, “That’s great. Who are they?” I went on to explain that Matthew Paul Turner was in fact one person, and not to be confused with Matthew, Paul, and Turner, the 60’s folk trio. She nodded, but still lacked the excitement I thought the moment deserved, so I went on to explain that MPT is pretty famous, and he’s written nearly a dozen books, and his blog has millions of readers, half of who are likely to buy my book after reading my post. “So what’s his blog about?” she asked, finally sensing the enormity of the moment. I told her it’s about pop culture and the church, and sometimes sex, and once a week or so
he posts funny pictures of Jesus. “And he thinks his readers want to hear from a guy who wrote a book about college football?” And with that my excitement level dropped down to meet hers, because while Matthew does have millions of readers, I’m not sure any of you care about college football.


But here’s the thing, I don’t really care about football either. I mean I obviously care about it on some level, I wrote an entire book about how much I struggle with my passion for my favorite team. But as for the game of football goes, the X’s and O’s if you will, I couldn’t care less. In fact, most of my knowledge of formations and blitz schemes comes from playing years of John Madden on PlayStation. That being said, football is one of the most important things in my life, particularly in the fall. Not because I’m a player, or a coach, or some degenerate gambler with last week’s paycheck on the line. No, football is important to me because at some point in my life I decided my worth as a person is directly proportionate to the success of my favorite team. Not the healthiest perspective on spectator sports, I know, but at least I’m now aware of how messed up I am.


This level of self-awareness didn’t come easy, and it didn’t come at all until 2008, when my Auburn Tigers suffered through a particularly poor season. I began to wonder why after losses I had trouble even making myself go to church, let alone worshiping the God of the universe. I mean in the end football is just entertainment, and if I see a bad movie on Saturday night, I don’t sulk through Sunday morning’s praises choruses.

So in the fall of 2009 I decided to tour the SEC, and spend a football weekend at each of the 12 schools. At each stop I spent time with rabid, Christian fans, like myself, and tried to get a sense of how others were able to keep football in it’s proper place. And through this journey I began to realize football felt so important to me, only because I was attaching so much importance to it. We all do it, maybe not with football, but with our job, our spouse, or even our church. It’s when we replace God with something that isn’t God that things start to get out of whack. You know I’m happy to live in the south, where the passion and pageantry of college football is unmatched. There is nothing like spending a crisp fall Saturday with friends and family, watching your favorite team on TV or in the stadium. And I’m happy that this sport, as great as it is, isn’t my God. I just hope I can remember that this fall.


So would you like a free copy of my book, God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC? It’s being called an illuminating, laugh out loud look at the place where faith, football, and fanaticism meet. Of course I’m the one who’s calling it that, but we’re giving away copies here, so if the book sucks at least you didn’t pay for it. Anyway, Matthew, Paul, and Turner have five copies to give away, and all you have to do to win is post the name of your favorite team below. Any league, any sport, doesn’t matter, although if you throw in a ‘War Eagle’ you may get extra consideration.




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Leave 1 more comment for every time you re-Tweet this giveaway!

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**Contest ends Saturday**

Chad Gibbs found football at the age of eight, found God one year later, and has spent the rest of his life worshiping one of the two. He and his wife live in Auburn, AL with their dogs Bob Vance and Harper.

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posted September 30, 2010 at 9:08 am

This idea is fascinating. As a kid who was raised on SEC football, transplanted to the Pacific NW, the concept of Christians & sports is one that I am constantly thinking about. Would love to win this book!

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posted September 30, 2010 at 9:11 am

oh and I forgot my favorite team. Being raised on SEC football, i’m going to have to go with the Crimson Tide

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    Joe Crenshaw

    posted September 30, 2010 at 11:13 am

    :( Bammer!!!!!

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posted September 30, 2010 at 9:12 am

my team is the oklahoma sooners and whoever is playing texas.

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posted September 30, 2010 at 9:14 am

Appalachian State. They were paid to beat Michigan… by Michigan.

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James Williams

posted September 30, 2010 at 9:15 am

My school, University of Texas-Arlington, doesn’t have a football team, so I am a Texas Longhorn fan. Hook ’em!

I have read excerpts of Chad Gibbs’ book and would love to have my own copy!

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Andrew F.

posted September 30, 2010 at 9:16 am

Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
Detroit Lions (NFL)
Detroit Tiger (MLB)
Detroit Pistons (NBA)
Detroit Shock (WNBA)
Michigan State U.

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    Joe Crenshaw

    posted September 30, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Go Green, Go White!! Spartans what’s your profession?

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posted September 30, 2010 at 9:23 am

woo go uncw seahawks!!!
though i’ve never seen a single sport at my college.

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Kris Thompson

posted September 30, 2010 at 9:24 am

Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, TCU

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posted September 30, 2010 at 9:28 am

Born in Georgia, grew up a rabid Bulldog fan, so I understand the reality of living and breathing SEC football. I did later on attend Duke University, and would normally feel some disloyalty to continuing to pull for my Dawgs during football season. Fortunately, though, Duke only has a football program to fill time before basketball begins, so it’s all good. Plus ACC football just isn’t the same!

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posted September 30, 2010 at 9:46 am

I’m a Bulldog fan myself (although I can’t talk much good about this season…), and I totally understand the fanatic feeling you get when watching your team play. But beyond the fanaticism, it’s the energy and the adrenaline that’s just amazing, especially with others around you. That’s how we should be about Christ, live like a fanatic (Lecrae anyone?). Looking forward to this book, seems awesome!

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posted September 30, 2010 at 9:54 am

Um, well, I’m a Nebraska fan (born there, partially raised there) and a Bears fan (my husband’s whole family hales from Chicago) but I’d love this book anyway!
My father-in-law is a HS football coach and on the leadership team at his church. My husband went to his first FB game at 2 weeks old and didn’t miss one game until he began his M.Div in KC.
As avid fans, we’re always trying to balance!

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Tim Foster

posted September 30, 2010 at 10:16 am

I love the Dodgers. Bleed blue and suffer every year at this time. Look forward to getting a free copy.

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posted September 30, 2010 at 10:18 am

a. don’t get football even though I wish I did because I grew up in the South and it just feels wrong to NOT be into college football.
b. I was so thinking this post was going to be about which team Jesus would side on. I mean, both teams pray to win, right? Just wondering.

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posted September 30, 2010 at 10:23 am

Favorite Teams:

Los Angeles Lakers (NBA)
Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)
and as an alumna from UCLA, I cheer for my Bruins, even though they make me feel like being on a roller coaster due to their ups and downs in a given season.

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posted September 30, 2010 at 10:40 am

War Eagle!

No, seriously… from Alabama and I’m a huge Auburn fan. I’ve spent waaaay too much time and money at Jordan-Hare.

I heard every time you give a free book to an Auburn fan (lets say…me), Cam Newton obliterates another linebacker. It’s science.

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    Joe Crenshaw

    posted September 30, 2010 at 11:14 am

    War Eagle fellow Auburn Man!

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      posted September 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm

      And the same to you. I think we can all come together here and proclaim that Saban needs Jesus.

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posted September 30, 2010 at 10:46 am

SEC fans seem more rabid than Big Ten fans. People up here are generally more NFL oriented. And yes, I have been a Lions fan for 20+ years… which the good Lord has used to teach me patience, perseverance, and blind faith in a better future. (We could still go 13-3 this year!) But mostly I follow baseball and pull for the Tigers in the AL and my old home team the Phillies in the NL.

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Joseph Perdue

posted September 30, 2010 at 11:00 am

The Florida Gators. We will beat Alabama this Saturday because its my birthday, and God wouldn’t let Florida lose on my birthday. Right?

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Joe Crenshaw

posted September 30, 2010 at 11:16 am

I went to one of those schools in the SEC. I am an AUBURN Graduate and fan.

It was weird, I went to First Assembly of GOD on Gay Street (yes there is a street named “gay street” in Auburn) so on Saturdays I shouted for the Tigers and Sunday shouted for the LORD.

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jon p.

posted September 30, 2010 at 11:35 am

This sounds like a fascinating book, Chad. While I’m a Big XII guy (TEXAS LONGHORNS) myself, I have many a friend who lives in SEC country and I have seen first-hand the obsession which you describe. Heck, I even experience it myself with my beloved HORNS!

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    jon p.

    posted September 30, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Ok, I re-tweeted the article… and posted on FB. GO LONGHORNS!

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Sabrina reinhart

posted September 30, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Go Navy! Beat Army!
ooops, that’s hubby’s line.
I’m actually a Tiger from Memphis State (it was MSU when I attended but changed to the University of Memphis)
So, my Dad and step-dad went to MSU – Go Bulldogs! I guess I’ll have to go with State.
I hope you don’t disqualify me for choosing too many. :-)

Can’t wait to read the book,

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posted September 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm

War Eagle!

If God cared about football, the Crimson Tide would never win a game. :)

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Alan Bruton

posted September 30, 2010 at 1:05 pm

War Eagle from good old Birmingham, Al. Witty, intelligent work and a perfect topic. Nothing should ever replace our God as the center of our lives. I just wish it were always true with me.

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posted September 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Fighting Illini!


Please pick me for the freebie book! :)

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Charlie Miller

posted September 30, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Sounds like a great book!

Favorite NCAA team: Kentucky Wildcats (Go SEC!)

Favorite NFL Team: Green Bay Packers (Superbowl or bust this year!)


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posted September 30, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Florida Gators!

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posted September 30, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Auburn Tigers, and not because its Chad’s favorite. War Eagle!

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ed cyzewski

posted September 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm

I’m waiting for someone to say, “Grace Baptist Church men’s softball team,” or something like that. I was thinking of writing in a Presbyterian church’s softball team because that’s kind of a funny thought, but then I realized that Presbyterians probably don’t play softball. At least, I don’t know of any. Any Presbyterians or former Presbyterians out there who can enlighten me on this one? Does Matthew, Paul, or Turner know?

However, regarding my favorite team, it has to be the Philadelphia Flyers. The more you hate them, the more I love them…

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posted September 30, 2010 at 3:51 pm

My favourite team are Glasgow Rangers FC, who play ‘real’ football (i.e. soccer – the one you actually use your feet in most of the time).

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posted September 30, 2010 at 3:55 pm

wow great message. As a sports fanatic I can sometimes get way more emotionally involved with sports than my Savior and Creator of the Universe…

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posted September 30, 2010 at 4:04 pm

K-State Wildcats!

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    posted September 30, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I twitted…um, tweetered…um, twitterpated…I shared it!

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posted September 30, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Looks interesting–I love God and football.

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Philip Brooks

posted September 30, 2010 at 4:07 pm

great concept, mine would be Oklahoma State University

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posted September 30, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Go Rams!


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posted September 30, 2010 at 7:42 pm

My team? The San Francisco Friggin’ Giants who are finally going to win their first World Series EVER out here (and, of course, in my lifetime — and i’m old…i’m 58!) this year which will allow God to set into motion all of His end time stuff that Tim LaHaye and the rest of them have outlined so well.

He promised me many years ago that no Revelation type stuff would come to pass until the SF Orange and Black went all the way with a very clear message left via orange sherbet marks dripped on my black wrought iron lounge chair which I would have sent you pictures of mpt but my dog, Simon Peter, licked it off. (Well, most of it, but what was left was just the image of a floating bat impailing a smeared SF logo.

I have no doubt, this is the last and final element He has been building up to prior to sending Jesus back to get us because there are more Christians on this team than there ever have been on any major league baseball team before and they really, really pray very sincerely when they ask God to bless them before they play each game. And we all know that God rewards us directly in proportion to how hard we pray, how often we use the word “just” and how often we do it in front of the cameras for everyone to see.

I also know that The Devil (often referred to as Barry Bonds) had to be dispelled from this team and that we fans have been punished in San Francisco, both for being gay and for cheering such an evil, big headed cheat such as the Home Run King on every time he came to bat. I’ve tried to change both behaviors and no matter what I do…well….you know how it goes… lifestyle sin can be a bitch.

Another proof for me that God is ready to act is that Giants’ reliever Jeremy Affeldt is best friends with BOTH Kurt Warner AND Tim Tebow. The pull the three of those asking God to bless the Giants make it virtually impossible for Our Father to do anything but give this blessed gift to the San Francisco faithful. It makes me want to build shelters for the three of them on top of Telegraph Hill in the Foggy City by the Bay.

Finally, to be really honest, I know this is going to come to pass, because I haven’t masturbated once all season. Not once! I’m pretty sure that Scripture says something about Him being a Rewarder of those that diligently sit on their hands. (Do you know how, ahem, hard it was for me to “stay clean” when mpt threw that Stephen Baldwin pic up on this blessed blog?! I know though, it was just Satan seeing if he could tempt me beyond what I was able to bear. HA! Job has nothing on me.) Go Giants!

If there is someone more worthy of receiving a copy of your book, Chad, go ahead and send it to them. I’m certain that’s the Christian thing to say which should put me over the top in this contest. Oh! I could also say that even if I don’t win, I will still buy about 10 copies of “God & Football” and send it to all my former Christian frat buddies that are U of T alums, and who live and die every winter Saturday over their stupid Longhorns, drink beer and use cuss words and then have the nerve to show up at their Austin mega-churches on Sunday and claim to be devout. Would you please bless the books for them with me after you sign their copies and anoint them with oil?



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    posted October 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    SF Giants went to the World series in 2002. Dang near won, too.

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      posted October 4, 2010 at 1:23 pm


      yes, they did, but Barry Devil Bonds was on the team then, thus victory was snatched from Dusty Baker’s Giant hands….but the operative word from the lord in this instance is this time they will WIN the World Series. Please don’t confuse “went to the World Series” with “WIN the World Series”….this is MY interpretation of His Word in this case and that’s what really matters here. ~steveT

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posted September 30, 2010 at 9:23 pm

WVU of course…..LSU got lucky this year, and I was at the game in 2008 when we beat Auburn….sorry about that.

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posted September 30, 2010 at 11:27 pm

florida gators all the way!

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posted October 1, 2010 at 12:14 am

I think I will have to go with the San Antonio Spurs as my all time favorite sports team. You said any league, team or sport, so there you go.

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Susan Daggett

posted October 1, 2010 at 6:25 am

I want to win!

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Ben Wiggins

posted October 1, 2010 at 9:09 am

Florida State Seminoles!

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posted October 1, 2010 at 11:49 am

GA Tech Yellow Jackets!

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posted October 1, 2010 at 4:38 pm

I bleed the burnt orange of my beloved Longhorns, singing “Give ’em hell/Give ’em hell/Go horns Go” on Saturday and “Bless be the tie that binds” on Sundays.

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    posted October 4, 2010 at 1:25 pm


    yeah…see? i recognize you as one of those frat buddies i was talking about above. you can’t fool me…or Jesus either. ~steveT

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Emily Bell

posted October 1, 2010 at 4:43 pm

RTR from Baldwin County! I’ll lucky that I’ll get to meet Chad when he signs at Page & Palette Bookstore in Fairhope on Tuesday. But I’m poor so please let me win the copy of God & Football!

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Emily Bell

posted October 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Emily Bell

posted October 2, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Emily Bell

posted October 3, 2010 at 11:30 pm


posted October 4, 2010 at 10:32 pm

South Carolina fan and grad here. My dad’s a Auburn grad though. Nice game y’all had the other weekend.. not so good for us though :( Would love for y’all to beat Bama and us to beat Florida and we’ll meet have a rematch in Atlanta in a few months!

I’ve heard about your book, it sounds awesome. I’d love to read it (esp if I happen to win this contest…)

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