Before the whistle blows for the first time this year and the football goes tumbling through the air, there will be an act dripping with political significance.
It will come even before the singer takes the field and thousands stand with hand over heart, keeping one eye on the flag and one eye on the field, scanning for players who might be kneeling or raising their fist.
And it will probably come during and after, too.
That act is prayer. The participants may not think of it as political; they may be praying only for safety or inner peace or to draw near to their God. But when prayer and football intersect in highly visible ways, those moments—and the conversation around those moments—go beyond personal devotion, revealing and reflecting ongoing battles over the direction of American society and the meaning of American life.