Sociology 412 “Survey Research” Results

The Sociology 412 "Survey Research" class recently conducted a campus-wide, online survey to find out more about people's views of both football and religion. We were intrigued by the suggestion that some have made that many people in America treat football as a religion of sorts. While analysis of the data is ongoing, we wanted to provide the campus community with some very preliminary findings from our study. We also want to thank those who participated, and appreciate their helpful and insightful comments about both the survey itself and the topic. Following are just a few findings from the survey:

  • Do you now or have you ever played football?  Yes - 43% No -57%
  • If you watch football, at what age did you start?  / Age when began attending church/religious services

                              Football:      Church/religious services:
0-5 years                   25%                 86%
6-10 years                 31%                 12%

  • Sixty percent (60%) of respondents report that they like both college and NFL football; many others like other types of football, too (PeeWee, high school, etc.).
  • Those who watch football watch, on average, over 5 hours a week during the season.
  • If respondents had to choose between watching football and going to church, more would opt for going to church (62% church, 38% football).
  • Overwhelmingly, respondents like football, think it's a game that makes sense, think it isn't a waste of time, and don't think it's too violent.
  • Almost 89% of respondents discuss football with others; over 92% talk about religion with others.
  • For respondents with a favorite football team, 40% report that they have prayed for the success of their team.
  • Sixty-seven (67%) say they know a great deal about their team's history; over 77% say they know a great deal about the history of their religion.
  • For those with a favorite team, 51% say it angers them when someone badmouths their team; for those who see themselves as religious, 65% get upset when someone badmouths their religion.
  • Students were significantly more likely than faculty to say that they consider themselves to be religious (63% vs. 44%). Students were also significantly more likely than faculty to say that they are "diehard" football fans (4.60 vs. 3.09).

*Note: Not all respondents answered/were asked all questions.