On Super Bowl Sunday, the US might as well be on a different planet. American football’s annual crescendo is typically the country’s most watched TV show of the year, usually by a considerable margin. Last year’s edition was, by some measures, the third most viewed show in American broadcast history. But on the global stage, it’s a very different story.

The New England Patriots' cheerleaders spent two weeks in Beijing recently, leading pep rallies and cheer clinics. Former San Francisco 49ers superstar quarterback Joe Montana toured the Great Wall of China in between visits to local flag football games. They're both examples of an outreach effort by NFL China, the NFL organization tasked with recruiting NFL fans and introducing the game of American football to China's young atheletes.

Thanks to sports diplomacy, American and British sports fans alike can take interest in the football that their counterparts are watching.

Ding, 24, made it to the U.S. through a football diplomacy program of sorts. The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) / USA Football International Student Program offers football training clinics for foreign teens, and funds educational opportunities in the States for promising players

Too bad for President George W. Bush that political public opinion surveys are not conducted at U.S. football games.