In a specially recorded video message for this year's Superbowl, which holds the attention of much of the United States and commands a television audience larger than for any other event of the year, Pope Francis pointed out that great sporting events like the championship game of the National Football League (NFL) are highly symbolic, and show that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace.
“By participating in sport, we are able to go beyond our own self-interest - and in a healthy way - we learn to sacrifice, to grow in fidelity and respect the rules. May this year's Super Bowl be a sign of peace, friendship and solidarity to the world” he said.
The 2017 Super Bowl takes place in Houston and features the final NFL showdown between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is scheduled to attend, will be the fourth sitting vice president to see the game in person.