NFL CELEBRATES YOUTH AND HIGH SCHOOL COMMUNITY DURING PLAY FOOTBALL MONTH
NFL Teams and Partners Host 'Play Football' Festivities Throughout the Preseason
Recognizing Youth and High School Football Athletes and Coaches
As the summer camp season comes to an end and the community prepares to get Back to Football, the NFL is celebrating youth athletes, their coaches, families and communities with special festivities throughout PLAY FOOTBALL MONTH. Play Football Month is a culmination of the league's year-round recognition of youth and high school football athletes and includes clinics, camps, grant opportunities and other unique football activities. Throughout the preseason, the NFL, its 32 clubs and partners such as USA Football are highlighting the talent, character, values and achievements of football players on and off the field.
"Play Football Month is an exciting time for the NFL family to recognize youth and high school football players, coaches and communities as we celebrate the return of football," said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. "The NFL and its partners offer many resources to help ensure players at all levels have fun and enjoy the benefits of playing the game. We wish teams nationwide the best of luck as they return to action."
The return of football follows an exciting summer camp season, where more than 70,000 kids had the opportunity to play football with NFL players and coaches. This summer, the NFL Foundation awarded $1 million in grants to support 350 current and former NFL players' and coaches' free, non-contact youth football camps across the country. The Youth Football Camp Grant Program, in its 20th year, recognizes NFL players and coaches who give back to communities in their hometowns or club markets and offer young athletes the opportunity to play in a healthy and fun environment. 200 of the camp grant recipients worked with USA Football to host FUNdamentals Camps this summer, which introduce young athletes to football by teaching basic skills. All drills at FUNdamentals camps are based on USA Football's Player Progression Development Model, ensuring participants learn in an age-appropriate manner.
"The excitement of a new season, kicked off by Play Football Month, inspires us to prepare thousands of dedicated coaches through coaching education," said USA Football CEO SCOTT HALLENBECK. "These men and women instill the timeless values of discipline, sacrifice and teamwork that elevate athletes and communities alike through the fun of this great team sport."
In 2016, Heads Up Football, USA Football's player safety program, reached more than 1.3 million participants (youth and high school). More than 142,000 youth and high school coaches were certified. Ten youth football leagues will pilot USA Football's Rookie Tackle Program, a bridge game between flag football and 11-player tackle designed to introduce young athletes to tackle football. Additionally, more than 400,000 boys and girls participate in NFL FLAG powered by USA Football leagues across the country.
Below is a snapshot of how NFL Clubs are celebrating Play Football Month:
TEAMNFL PLAY FOOTBALL MONTH ACTIVATIONS
Arizona CardinalsThe Arizona Cardinals invited local youth football teams to home games, encouraged kids to participate in their pregame Kids Zone and hosted coaches' clinics for flag football. A local Pop Warner team was invited to participate in pregame festivities during the Cardinals-Raiders preseason game on Saturday, Aug. 12.
Atlanta FalconsThe Atlanta Falcons hosted more than 100 children from the Westside Falcons NFL FLAG League at training camp on Sunday, July 30 for a VIP experience, which included player meet and greets and the distribution of school supplies. On Friday, Aug. 25 the Falcons will host an NFL FLAG football training session for physical education teachers from the schools within the Rise UP! 159 program to learn how to implement the equipment within their classrooms and after school programs. NFL FLAG and tackle teams will play during halftime of the Falcons' preseason games vs. the Cardinals on Saturday, Aug. 26 and vs. the Jaguars on Thursday, Aug. 31.
Baltimore RavensThe Baltimore Ravens presented 21 grants to local youth football teams. Jerseys, cleats, gloves, footballs and mouth guards were distributed to grant recipients at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 5. During their preseason game vs. the Redskins on Thursday, Aug. 10, the Ravens invited four youth football teams on-field during pregame and halftime. The Ravens will again invite youth football teams to participate in their pregame and halftime festivities during their Saturday, Aug. 26 matchup against the Bills.
Buffalo BillsOn Thursday, July 27 the Buffalo Bills hosted a Mom's Football Safety Clinic at the Bills Training Camp. Further recognition of youth and high school football communities throughout August included a USA Football Protection Tour on Friday, Aug. 4 and the inclusion of the youth football team from the Niagara Orleans Football Association in the Stampede Row at their Aug. 10 game vs. the Vikings. For their game vs. the Lions on Thursday, Aug. 31, local youth football organizations will form Stampede Row and scrimmage during halftime.
Carolina PanthersOn Thursday, Aug. 3, the Carolina Panthers hosted a unified practice at training camp with Dorman High School. On Thursday, Aug. 31, the Ebinport Panthers youth football players will participate in the tunnel run, stand alongside players during the National Anthem and walk out with team captains for the coin toss.
Chicago BearsOn Thursday, Aug. 10, the Chicago Bears invited two youth football leagues to watch pregame warm-ups and stand alongside players during the National Anthem before their game against the Broncos. On Thursday, Aug. 31, two youth football leagues will view pregame warm-ups, line up for the National Anthem and participate in a scrimmage during halftime of the Bears' game vs. the Browns. Junior Bear Tackle Football players will also participate in player introductions and accompany a Bears player when he runs out of the tunnel.
Cincinnati BengalsTo celebrate Play Football Month, on Friday, Aug. 11 and Saturday, Aug. 19, the Cincinnati Bengals invited youth football teams to participate in a scrimmage during halftime. On Saturday, Aug. 26, the Bengals will host a Protection Tour with USA Football at the team's facility.
Cleveland BrownsOn Tuesday, Aug. 1, the Cleveland Browns hosted their annual Cleveland Browns Parents Clinic. On Monday, Aug. 21, during their game against the Giants, the Browns selected a local volunteer from the Adapted Football League to serve as an honorary coin toss captain and players from the Cleveland Rookie Tackle Football League participated in pregame festivities including standing alongside players during the National Anthem.
Dallas CowboysOn Saturday, Aug. 12, the Dallas Cowboys hosted a halftime flag football showcase with four local youth teams and on Aug.19, the Cowboys hosted a Parents Safety Clinic for approximately 1,200 participants.
Denver BroncosThe Denver Broncos hosted an NFL FLAG Football Festival on Saturday, Aug. 19 with more than 80 boys and girls teams. The day concluded with an eight-team, 13-14-year-old boys single elimination tournament to determine the Broncos NFL FLAG representative at the 2018 Pro Bowl. On Saturday, Aug. 26, youth football players will participate in on-field pregame activities. The Broncos will additionally host their Youth Football Salute Game on Thursday, Aug. 31.
Detroit LionsOn Saturday, Aug. 19, the Detroit Lions hosted four youth football teams at their game vs. the Jets. Players ran out of the player tunnel, participated in the National Anthem and played in a halftime scrimmage.
Green Bay PackersOn Thursday, Aug. 10, four teams from the Kenosha Ramblers League took the field for the National Anthem and participated in a scrimmage at halftime of the Packers-Eagles preseason game. On Thursday, Aug. 31, four teams from the Cottage Grove Parks and Recreation League will stand alongside the Packers' coaches and players during the National Anthem and will scrimmage at halftime.
Houston TexansOn Tuesday, Aug. 8, the Houston Texans hosted two youth football camps at their training camp. At their Aug. 19 game vs. the Patriots, the Texans hosted a USA Football Proper Tackling Clinic in their Kids Zone, invited Junior High School Football Cheerleaders to welcome fans as they entered the stadium, invited Houston Texans YMCA Flag Football teams to serve as flag holders, hosted a halftime scrimmage with youth football teams and featured High School Friday Night Football captains during the coin toss. On Thursday, Aug. 31, the Texans will feature youth football tackle players in gameday festivities.
Indianapolis ColtsThe Indianapolis Colts hosted high school football teams at their facility during training camp on Thursday, Aug. 3. On Sunday, Aug. 13, the Colts hosted a "Play Football Zone" in Touchdown Town. At the Colts-Bengals preseason game on Thursday, Aug. 31, NFL FLAG football teams and tackle football teams will scrimmage at halftime.
Jacksonville JaguarsThe Jacksonville Jaguars hosted several youth football teams during their preseason game on Thursday, Aug. 17 against the Buccaneers and featured Jr. Pee Wee youth football teams in a halftime scrimmage. On Aug. 24, during pregame, the Terry Parker High School Girls Flag team will stand alongside Jaguars players and coaches during the National Anthem.
Kansas City ChiefsThe Kansas City Chiefs held several youth-centric community events during Play Football Month, including a USA Football Protection Tour for approximately 300 participants. On Friday, Aug. 11, the Chiefs invited four local youth football teams to participate in pregame activities. The Chiefs will host their official Youth Football Game on Thursday, Aug. 31.
Miami DolphinsTo Kick off Play Football Month, the Miami Dolphins hosted youth football scrimmages on Aug. 3 and 4. On Saturday, Aug. 5, at Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Dolphins held their annual High School Media Day in which over 1,000 South Florida High Schools participated. On Thursday, Aug. 17, three youth football teams participated in the Dolphins pregame activities before their match-up against the Ravens.
Los Angeles ChargersOn Sunday, Aug. 20, the Los Angeles Chargers hosted several NFL FLAG Football teams. The teams had an opportunity to participate in a scrimmage during halftime.
Los Angeles RamsThe Los Angeles Rams held a Gatorade Junior Training Camp on Tuesday, Aug. 8. On Saturday, Aug. 12 and Aug. 16 the Rams invited approximately 2,000 youth and high school football players to attend their preseason games.
Minnesota VikingsOn Sunday, Aug. 27, the Minnesota Vikings will host a high school skills competition for local youth football players. On Thursday, Aug. 31 the Vikings will honor a Youth Football Hometown Hero during their preseason game against the 49ers.
New England PatriotsThe New England Patriots invited several youth football teams to participate in on-field pregame and halftime activities on Thursday, Aug. 10. At their preseason game vs. the Giants on Thursday, Aug. 31, the Patriots will once again invite youth football teams to participate in pregame and halftime activities.
New Orleans SaintsThroughout Play Football Month, the New Orleans Saints hosted children at Gatorade Junior Training Camps at their practice facility. On Tuesday, Aug. 22, the Saints held a Parents Information Clinic. At their preseason game vs. the Texans on Saturday, Aug. 26, the Saints will invite eight youth football tackle teams to participate in pregame and halftime activities.
New York GiantsDuring their preseason game vs. the Steelers, the New York Giants hosted a Rookie Tackle exhibition with USA Football and Suffolk County PAL at halftime. At the Giants' home game against the Jets on Saturday, Aug. 26, the Watching Hills Football team, coached by former Giants guard RICH SEUBERT, will form a player gauntlet and stand with the team during the National Anthem. Newark Collegiate Academy's football team will also stand on-field for the anthem, which will be sung by the Newark Collegiate Academy Choir.
New York JetsThe New York Jets hosted a youth football scrimmage during their preseason game vs. the Titans on Saturday, Aug. 12. On Thursday, Aug. 31 at their game vs. the Eagles, the Jets will recognize the New York City Regional USA Football 7on7 Champion, Malcolm X. Shabazz High School, and the Public Schools Athletic League Girls NFL FLAG Football Champion.
Oakland RaidersOn Wednesday, Aug. 9, the Oakland Raiders welcomed the Napa High School football program to their facility. On Thursday, Aug. 31, youth football teams from the Oakland Jr. Raiders and the San Leandro Crusaders will play in a pregame scrimmage before the Raiders-Seahawks game.
Philadelphia EaglesThe Philadelphia Eagles invited over 100 high school coaches and athletic directors to watch practice at the NovaCare Facility on Sunday, Aug. 13. On Monday, Aug. 14, the Eagles hosted league administrators and coaches from the club's Youth Football Partner of the Year, Bux-Mont Pop Warner. The team was also invited to watch the Eagles-Dolphins preseason game. The following week, the Eagles hosted the varsity football team from St. Joe's Prep to watch practice.
Pittsburgh SteelersThe Pittsburgh Steelers held a USA Football Protection Tour in Family Fest at Heinz Field on Sunday, Aug. 6. On Saturday, Aug. 26, the Steelers will host a halftime scrimmage between two youth football teams during the club's preseason game against the Colts.
San Francisco 49ersThe San Francisco 49ers hosted a Pop Warner team for a youth football scrimmage at halftime of their Aug. 19 game vs. the Broncos. On Monday, Aug. 28, the 49ers will hold a free, non-contact football camp for the San Francisco School District. The camp offers children the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the game. During the 49ers' final preseason game on Thursday, Aug. 31 vs. the Chargers, the club will run a youth football minicamp in the Stadium Kids Zone.
Seattle SeahawksThe Seattle Seahawks hosted 50 youth football players during their preseason game vs. the Vikings on Friday, Aug. 18. At their game vs. the Chiefs on Friday, Aug. 25, the Seahawks will feature four all-girls NFL FLAG football teams during halftime.
Tampa Bay BuccaneersOn Tuesday, Aug. 8, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted 100 Buccaneers Academy Students at training camp. On Thursday, Aug. 31, the Buccaneers will invite four youth football teams to participate in a scrimmage at halftime. The club will also give 1,000 game tickets to local youth football and cheerleading programs.
Tennessee TitansThe Tennessee Titans hosted a Special Olympics Tennessee Flag Football Day at training camp on Tuesday, Aug. 1. The first week of August, the Titans conducted a training camp practice at Centennial High School and a youth football jamboree at Nissan Stadium. On Saturday, Aug. 19, the Titans hosted two youth football teams at their preseason game vs. the Panthers. The Titans will invite youth football players to watch their Aug. 27 game vs. the Bears. Additionally, the club will donate more than 2,000 tickets to numerous youth, high school, and flag football teams and organizations across their market.
Washington RedskinsDuring the first week of August, the Washington Redskins held their annual Moms Football Safety Clinic as well as a Gatorade Junior Training Camp for middle school student-athletes. On Friday, Aug. 18, the Redskins held their annual High School Coaches Clinic which provided an opportunity for high school coaches to engage with Redskins personnel and hear from special guest speakers. The Redskins will invite Pop Warner players to participate in pregame activities during their match-up against the Bengals on Sunday, Aug. 27.
The NFL FLAG National Championships will once again take place in Orlando at the 2018 Pro Bowl. For a chance to play, visit PlayFootball.com and find an NFL FLAG league near you.