Each year the NFL is afforded the unique opportunity to showcase the league's commitment to the military through its special events. With its widely captivated fan base, the league teams with its military support partners to create moments of joint recognition throughout the season. The NFL is proud of its long lasting and historic ties to the military and looks to incorporate those relationships into all big moments on the NFL calendar.
The NFL has made it an annual tradition to bring military outreach to its marquee off-season event. Representatives from each branch of the military were invited by Commissioner Goodell to New York for the 2014 NFL Draft, where they were honored on-stage and given the opportunity to announce a team's selection throughout the event. Several hundred members of the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, and Navy Seals were in attendance over the course of three days. The NFL also saluted the efforts of service men and women injured in combat through its partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project. The rousing ovations from a packed Radio City Music Hall have become among the most inspiring moments of the Draft, as these tributes enable fans from all 32 teams to come together and unite for a true Salute to Service.
For decades the NFL and the military have had a close relationship at the Super Bowl, the most watched program year-to-year throughout the United States. In front of nearly 160 million viewers, the NFL salutes the military with a unique array of in-game celebrations including the presentation of colors, on-field guests, pre-game ceremonies and stadium flyovers.
A Salute to Service themed Super Bowl event was held at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst for more than 1,000 service members from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. The event brought a taste of the Super Bowl to the base with the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee's "Huddle Tour" which featured a meet and greet with retired and active players from the Jets and Giants, as well as the NY Jets Cheerleaders.
With coordination with the NFL and Army Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System, FOX streamed the footage live to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment from Kandahar, Afghanistan during the Super Bowl . The Regiment is the last Stryker Brigade Combat Team deployed to support operations in Afghanistan.
In addition, wounded warriors were in attendance at the 9th Annual NFL Foundation Super Bowl Celebrity Bowling Classic.
With its history and large concentration of actively stationed military personnel in Hawaii, the NFL makes an annual commitment to recognize all branches of the military each time the league visits the islands.
Providing a rich Pro Bowl experience to military personnel and their families is important to the NFL. The NFL annually donates game tickets to service members, presents color guard and pregame flyovers, and arranges for military personnel to participate in pregame ceremonies.
As part of NFL PLAY 60 Community Blitz at Pro Bowl 2014, players, coaches and community volunteers visited service members and their families at three military bases: Schofield Barracks, Kaneohe Bay and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Students from military bases throughout the island participated in NFL PLAY 60 Youth Football Festivals featuring football, cheerleading and fitness clinics led by NFL players at Schofield Army Barracks and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The NFL PLAY 60 Community Blitz also included a military family mural project at Kaneohe Bay Marine base.
The NFL also offered the military community a unique opportunity to watch the players up-close by hosting its 2014 NFL Pro Bowl practice at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Oahu, Hawaii. The event was open to all military personnel and their families, and following practice, included pictures, autographs and words of appreciation for the troops and their families.