I joked to someone about ten years ago that Michigan football was my religion, but now I wonder how much I was joking. There are many parallels between the fervor of sports fandom and organized religion. We use both religion and sports as excuses to do stupid things, get in arguments, and celebrate shared experiences with our fellow devotees. We act one way six days of the week, and then become different people when we attend on the weekend.
Faith, Hope and Love
The basis of any entity-follower relationship is adoration (love) that the follower feels for the entity. Churchgoers love their God, and football fans love their football team. Think that religious adoration is stronger than the love of a football fan? My Saturday experiences might argue otherwise.