Just hours before America's biggest football game of the year, churches across the United States will hear the personal life stories of NFL players and their wives as they talk about their own journeys with Jesus Christ.
While much of the national attention will be on Sunday night's NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots and comedic Super Bowl commercials, churches across the country will be listening to the testimonies of star receivers Brandon Marshall and Anquan Boldin and former New York Jets offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson and their wives.
Each of them will describe their walks with the Lord and life struggles during the annual "Football Sunday" in-church video program that will be hosted this year by Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson and his wife, Kristen.
"Football Sunday" is an annual evangelistic program produced by Pro Athletes Outreach, the media arm of the The Increase, a website that allows Christian professional athletes to share their stories and words of encouragement.
The program is free to download and available for pastors to broadcast to their congregations on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday with the hope that members will encourage their non-churchgoing friends to go with them to church and watch what famous football players have to say about Jesus on Super Bowl morning.
"'Football Sunday' is an opportunity for churches around the world to stream a made-for-service video that pastors can use for the Super Bowl," Watson, a 13-year NFL veteran, told The Christian Post in an interview. "Everybody is excited about Super Bowl Sunday and it gives pastors the opportunity to do something football oriented or football themed for service."
"There is an opportunity for pastors to use all of it or some of it. It is a time where people can say, 'Look, it is Super Bowl Sunday!' Everybody is excited about football and they can invite their friends to church to watch a special video," Watson added. "It is an evangelistic tool."
This year's "Football Sunday" will be the first hosted by Watson, a devout Christian and father of five who has written a popular book about the state of race relations in America titled, Under Our Skin. In previous years, the program was hosted by former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer.
"[My wife and I] will be introducing the program and each interview and will be giving our take and commentary," Watson explained. "There will also be a Gospel message that I will be presenting at the end of the video."
Hundreds of churches across the nation and worldwide have already signed up to broadcast the program. A map of churches that will be airing the program shows that the program will reach as far as Ireland, Canada and Hawaii.
According to the description included with the map, "well over 1,500 churches raised their hands to take part" in the program. The only churches shown on the map are ones that have disclosed their address to be shared with the public.
Churches and pastors looking to sign up and download the program can do so here.