Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Onetime rivals team up for 'Religion of Sports'

When Michael (Strahan) sacked (Tom) Brady.

AP (2008)

When Michael (Strahan) sacked (Tom) Brady.

Call it the unholy alliance: one-time Super Bowl rivals Tom Brady and Michael Strahan are teaming up to produce a six-part documentary TV series called the Religion of Sports.

Each hour-long episode looks at different examples of the cultural and spiritual impact of sports in religions around the world.

The show explores the rivalry between soccer clubs in Glasgow, Scotland; the Calgary Stampede rodeo in Alberta, Canada; and the rise of "e-sports." It also delves into NASCAR, mixed martial arts and minor-league baseball.

The Associated Press caught up with Brady, Strahan and Gotham Chopra — the creator, director and voice — of the series that airs beginning Nov. 15 on the Audience Network on DirecTV and AT&T U-verse.

Brady is a quarterback for the New England Patriots. Strahan is a retired New York Giants defensive end, who is joining ABC's Good Morning America this fall. Chopra is the son of spiritual guru Deepak Chopra.

Their comments have been edited for clarity and length:

Where did the idea of this show come from?

Chopra: Figuratively I feel like I've been working on this my whole life. Obviously growing up with my father, I was around that world of spirituality and religion. But I also grew up in Boston. I bled green as a Celtics fan in the '80s. I loved sports. About five years ago, I had a conversation with my father, who never really understood that devotion to sports. And I remember saying to him that all of those things you speak in the spiritual tradition also exist in sports.

What drew you to this project?

Strahan: I love the emotional aspect of it. You hear Religion of Sports, and you say, "Okay, so sport is a religion?" Well, yeah, it really is. The temple is this arena or stadium. These athletes can be considered the gods in certain ways and the fans can be considered parishioners. So to be able to explore that and this spiritual connection between sports and life, that's what really piqued my interest.

You say sport creates a "spiritual experience" for both fans and players. How would you describe that to non-sports fans?

Brady: It's pretty simple: In sports you often become part of something greater than yourself. On the field, you come into sync with your teammates and coaches and together you achieve something that you could never do on your own. And as an athlete, when you are on that field and the fans get really engaged and you can feel their energy and passion and true love of the game, it is absolutely a spiritual experience.

How is this series going to be different from other sports documentary shows?

Chopra: I compare it a lot to This American Life. It's stories about why sports gives people purpose, meaning and significance — whether you're an athlete, fan or person that works within sports. It's very much character-driven. The backdrop happens to be sports.

What was the most interesting thing for you?

Strahan: It's finding out those backstories and motivations. It's the real heart-to heart-feel of everybody's story. Cat Zingano (an MMA fighter the series followed as she prepared for a comeback fight earlier this year) and her reason for doing what she's doing. Once you see that episode, you'll have a much deeper appreciation for who she is and what she's come from.

Did you learn anything new about sports culture?

Brady: As far as the series goes, it's great to learn more about sports I'm probably less familiar with — stock-car racing, rodeo, e-sports — and realize that a lot of the people at the center of those sports bring the same level of passion, commitment and disciple that I try to with football. Sports is a way of life for billions of people around the planet. Religion of Sports takes you beyond sports as we know it.

Onetime rivals team up for 'Religion of Sports' 09/14/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 10:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh

    Soccer

    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. LSU's Paul Mainieri defends FSU's Mike Martin; Gators play Friday

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri says whether Florida State's Mike Martin ever wins a national championship should have no bearing on how his long career in college baseball is judged.

    MADE IT: Josh Watson beats the tag of Louisville catcher Colby Fitch during TCU’s 4-3 win in the College World Series.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101