NFL, USAA launch inaugural 'Salute to Service Award'
2011 NFL-Tillman Military Scholar announced
The National Football League will continue its long history of honoring veterans and active duty members of the military with its new annual "Salute to Service" campaign that will occur each November.
The “Salute to Service” campaign is designed to unify and elevate the extensive military appreciation work of the NFL and its clubs. Throughout November, teams will designate home games as special military appreciation games. During these games, teams will display “Salute to Service” banners on their sidelines, in addition to hosting ceremonies to honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s troops.
In addition, the NFL and USAA are launching the inaugural “Salute to Service” Award which will recognize NFL team representatives who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. USAA, a leading provider of insurance and other services to members of the U.S. military and their families, is the NFL’s first Official Military Appreciation Sponsor.
The “Salute to Service” campaign aligns with the NFL’s long history of supporting America’s armed services, including a partnership of more than 45 years with the USO that includes overseas visits to troops and trips to military hospitals nationwide.
The NFL also works closely with the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization that honors and empowers wounded warriors. This past offseason, former NFL players and coaches climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro alongside four wounded warriors as part of the Wounded Warrior Project’s “Believe in Heroes” initiative.
In 2010, the NFL and Pat Tillman Foundation established the NFL-Tillman Military Scholar award to annually honor an individual who exemplifies Pat’s enduring legacy of service. The scholarship is part of the Tillman Military Scholars program established by the Pat Tillman Foundation to support educational opportunities for veterans and active service members and their spouses. The Tillman Military Scholars program covers direct study-related expenses such as tuition and books, as well as other basic needs such as housing and childcare.
Navy Petty Officer Third Class D’ONIOR FELTON of Clarksdale, Miss., has been selected as the 2011 NFL-Tillman Military Scholar. She will be recognized in December at a Washington Redskins game. Felton, who is currently a medical student at George Washington University, earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland while serving on active duty.
USAA will work with several teams during Veterans Day weekend to honor the men and women who have served and are serving in the U.S. military. Kicking off at the Chargers-Raiders game in San Diego on November 10 and closing with Monday Night Football in Green Bay on November 14, NFL fans at these games will participate in an in-stadium card stunt to thank our nation’s military for their service. All fans will be able to visit www.usaa.com/nfl to download photos to share with and thank veterans and military members.
Additional “Salute to Service” moments will include recognition of all military personnel in attendance and on-field ceremonies honoring service men and women.
The NFL continues to offer its Game Pass HD service free of charge at USO Centers for military members stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Germany, Italy, Korea and Japan. At the USO facility in each of these locations, service members can watch every NFL game live and online in its entirety. Game Pass HD service also is offered free of charge at US Embassies.
The NFL’s work with the military extends to the area of health and safety. Members of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee are collaborating with Department of Defense physicians on medical research and helmet technologies aimed at protecting both athletes and service members from head injury.
In addition, during their Military Appreciation games, the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers will collaborate with LucasFilm to honor the 70th anniversary of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, a select and heroic group of African-American fighter pilots during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen are the subject of an upcoming LucasFilm’s production, “Red Tails.”
Fans can find out more about the NFL's commitment to the military and veterans by visiting the www.nfl.com/salute.
Teams will honor veterans and the armed services with the following pregame and in-stadium initiatives:
Arizona Cardinals -- As part of their Veterans Day recognition on November 6, the Cardinals will host 140 military volunteers, representing all service branches, and unfurl a field-sized America flag for the National Anthem, which will be performed by Navy Petty Officer Steve Powell. In addition, the Colors will be presented by the Luke Air Force Base Honor Guard. At halftime, the 36th Army Band from Fort Huachuca will perform a patriotic medley while Cardinals Cheerleaders and military personnel pay tribute to veterans.
Atlanta Falcons -- The Falcons will honor the military at their November 13 game. The National Anthem will be performed by an active duty National Guardsman as 85 other Guardsmen hold a large American flag. Members of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America will deploy the Falcons Flag during player introductions. A joint Color Guard will be on hand. The halftime show will pay tribute to World War II veterans.
Baltimore Ravens -- The Ravens hosted their military appreciation game on October 30. The game included a flyover by the MD National Guard (A-10s), a serviceman presenting a flag to the team that was flown over his base in Afghanistan, and a live feed to MD National Guard troops in Afghanistan before kickoff. The Ravens invited the family members of those service members to watch the test taping on October 28 The team also had 40 members of the Maryland National Guard on-field for pregame ceremonies. On November 8, several Ravens players will visit the Loch Raven Veteran Affairs Community Living and Rehabilitation Center in Baltimore to host a karaoke party for local veterans.
Buffalo Bills -- The Bills will honor former members of the military as well as current members from all five branches on November 6. They will unfurl a large American flag on the field. During pregame activities, the National Guard will conduct an enlistment ceremony. “God Bless America” will be sung by CAITLYN KOCH of “The X-Factor” and there will be a flyover after the National Anthem.
Carolina Panthers -- On October 30, the Panthers hosted an Oath of Enlistment ceremony with a live hook-up to troops in Afghanistan. It will be led by General DAVID M. RODRIGUEZ, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command. The team also hosted Pro vs. GI Joe Purpose Driven Rehab trailer with four Wounded Warriors. On November 13, the Anthem and halftime show will be performed by the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Chorus while a large American flag is unfurled. Operation Gameday program will recognize service members who will lead the team out of the tunnel and also take part in the coin toss. There will be a Color Guard and flyover at both games. The Panthers will also donate hundreds of tickets to the military for both games.
Chicago Bears -- The Bears will honor the military on November 13. Military personnel will lead the team out of the tunnel, and a member of the Armed Forces will serve as the Honorary Captain. A Marine will sing the National Anthem as a large American flag is held by 100 members of the different branches of the military. There will be a flyover at the end of the Anthem, and a reenlistment and Purple Heart ceremony at halftime.
Cincinnati Bengals -- The Bengals will hold their military appreciation game on November 13. The Ohio Air National Guard will deliver the team mascot, Who Dey, to the game in a HumVee. Master Sergeant Doug Reed and Sergeant First Class Ty Henery will deliver the coin for the coin toss. National Guard members will hold a large American flag during the National Anthem. A local unit will be honored at halftime.
Cleveland Browns -- Browns players will spend time at a local USO headquarters on November 8, visiting with military representatives and families. The team will honor the military at their game on November 13. Pregame activities will include a special presentation of an American Flag shaped like the United States held by 100 Ohio National Guard members. Star flags representing each branch of the Armed Forces will frame the flag as the National Anthem is performed by Army Veteran Specialist Chanel Curry. As the Browns are introduced from the home team tunnel, local Marines will form a gauntlet. During halftime, a special recognition will take place to recognize Ohio National Guard soldiers. The USO will also be on-site to pass out literature.
Dallas Cowboys -- The Cowboys will honor military and veterans on November 13. Recognition elements include recording artist Neal McCoy performing with the 77th Army Band; 250 soldiers presenting a field flag; recognition of the 70th Anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen; a USAA halftime card stunt and pregame tailgate reception; and three active soldiers receiving new homes. Medal of Honor recipient LeRoy Petry will join players on field as the Honorary Captain after the coin is delivered to referees by the U.S. Navy Seals.
Denver Broncos -- The Broncos will hold their “Military Salute” on November 17. All military attending the game (with their own tickets) will receive free admission in the Broncos Barn Tailgate Tent. Military members will help hold a large American flag during the National Anthem. Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Salvatore Guinta has been invited to the game for on-field recognition.
Detroit Lions -- The Lions will honor the military on November 20. A group of veterans will stand with a Color Guard for the National Anthem. At halftime, approximately 100 individuals will take part in an Air Force swearing-in ceremony on-field. Near the end of the first quarter, all veterans and active military personnel will be asked to stand so they can be recognized for their service. Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America will have a presence in the stadium.
Green Bay Packers -- The Packers’ Military Appreciation Game is November 14. The team will have a card stunt during the National Anthem. A Navy flyover is scheduled. At halftime, the Packers will honor each branch of the military by playing their hymns and displaying their flags on the field. Following the fight songs, the Army Band will play “God Bless America,” and a small fireworks display will conclude the ceremony.
Houston Texans -- The Texans will hold a Military Field Day for groups including the USO and the Wounded Warrior Project on October 31. They will also host a BBQ at Reliant Stadium for military groups on November 3. The team’s military appreciation game is November 6. Before the game, a large Texas flag and U.S.-shaped American flag will be held on-field by OEF and OIF veterans. Golden Knights will parachute in to the stadium and “Challenger,” a bald eagle, will be released during the National Anthem. The Honorary Captain will be President George H. W. Bush. There will be a USMC Silent Drill Platoon performance at halftime, as well as a mascot rappel with one member from each service branch rappelling with him.
Indianapolis Colts -- On November 8, the Indianapolis Colts will work with local students to decorate 200 Colts footballs with encouraging messages and place them in care packages. These care packages will then be delivered by players and students to veterans at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. In addition, the team will honor veterans from all branches of the military through a pregame full-field American flag presentation and halftime tribute at their November 13 game.
Jacksonville Jaguars -- The Jaguars will host their military appreciation game on November 27. Prior to the game, the team will recognize a group of veterans on field followed by “God Bless America” performed by the Navy Band Southeast. The National Anthem will be performed by an active duty sailor and the flyover will be conducted by two F-22 Raptors from Tyndall Air Force Base. At halftime, a large induction ceremony involving more than 200 recruits from all branches will take place with the Oath being conducted by a high ranking military officer. Following the induction ceremony, country music duo Tim Rushlow and Doni Harris will perform “Bagpipes Cryin’.”
Kansas City Chiefs -- The Chiefs will host their annual military appreciation game on November 6. Armed Forces representatives, designated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, will participate in the pre-game first pass and coin toss. In addition, uniformed members of the Kansas National Guard, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines will hold a large American Flag on the field during the National Anthem. The Colors will be presented by the Kansas Army National Guard and United States Air Force Technical Staff Sergeant Jennifer Sherman will perform the Anthem. Two T-38 jets from Whiteman Air Force Base will be part of a flyover. On November 8, General Manager Scott Pioli and the Chiefs defensive backs, as well as VFW representatives, will visit Whiteman AFB.
Miami Dolphins -- On November 7, a military group will join Dolphins players, alumni and cheerleaders for the annual Kids and Fins Publix Shopping Spree. The program offers 100 underprivileged kids the opportunity to shop alongside a celebrity. The Dolphins will honor the military on November 13. The National Anthem will be performed by the Parris Island Marine Band while sailors hold a large American flag. A flyover will occur. There will be military vehicles on display in the AT&T Grand Plaza. There will also be a ‘Cell Phones for Soldiers’ collection. The stadium will host a military job fair on November 10.
Minnesota Vikings -- On November 8, several Vikings players will visit a VA Medical Center, while a number of alumni players will go to the Minnesota Veterans Home to play bingo. The Vikings’ military appreciation game will be on November 20. The Vikings will honor Purple Heart recipients during pregame; a large American flag will be unfurled at halftime and a military band will perform.
New England Patriots -- The Patriots will celebrate Veterans Day at their November 6 game. Veterans will be recognized on-field prior to the National Anthem while active duty soldiers from each branch of the military and Coast Guard hold three separate American flags on the 30, 50 and 30 yard lines. The Color Guard ceremony will be performed by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1822. The National Anthem will be sung by members of the United States Coast Guard Academy Glee Club, followed by a flyover by the 104th Wing of the Air Force. There will be a moment of silence for Steven Gutowski, a fallen soldier from Plymouth, Massachusetts. Gutowski was a former Patriots game day employee.
New Orleans Saints -- The Saints will hold their military appreciation game on December 4. Local Marines will be honored during an on-field “Heroes” presentation and Joint Color Guards will present the Colors prior to kickoff. Local hometown heroes will receive complimentary tickets to the game. Soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard will be the giveaway crew volunteers and will receive tickets to the game as well.
New York Giants --On November 11, Giants Alumni will march with members of the Wounded Warrior Project in the Veterans Day Parade. The Giants will honor veterans on November 20. A 100-yard flag will be unfurled on the field with the assistance of 150 servicemen and women—25 Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Wounded Warriors respectively. The National Anthem will be performed by one of the branches of the Armed Forces and the Colors will be presented by the Joint Color Guard. There will be a special military presentation at halftime that will include representation from service members from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan.
New York Jets -- The Jets will host their military appreciation game on November 13. The Coast Guard Choir will perform before player introductions. Tuskegee Airmen will serve as Honorary Captains. Twenty members from each branch of the military will unfurl an American flag on-field as the National Anthem is performed. The West Point Band will perform at halftime.
Oakland Raiders -- Raiders players visited the Palo Alto VA Health Care System’s Spinal Cord Injury and Poly Trauma Units on November 1. Players interacted with active and veteran members of the Armed Forces who have suffered spinal cord, poly trauma and amputee injuries. The Raiders will honor Bay Area service men and women throughout the game on November 6, including a special halftime presentation.
Philadelphia Eagles -- The Eagles will honor the military on November 7. A representative from each branch of the military will lead the team out onto the field during player introductions while running with their branch's flag. A field-size American flag will be unfurled during the National Anthem, which will be performed by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Generald Wilson. The Eagles will be presenting a game-ball to the family of fallen Navy SEAL, Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Strange. The Eagles and ESPN will host a Monday Night Football Chalk Talk event on November 7. A Color Guard and veterans group from Willow Grove VFW 3612 and the Liberty USO will attend.
Pittsburgh Steelers -- The Steelers’ military appreciation game will be on November 6. The team will honor local veterans from World War II, the Korea War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm; Iraq and Afghanistan. The team also will honor a Pearl Harbor survivor. They will be on-field for the National Anthem and introduced to the crowd. The Steelers and Troy Polamalu will also host 12 Special Operations personnel through Operation Once in a Lifetime. They will also be recognized.
St. Louis Rams -- The Rams will visit Operation Homefront on November 8. Players, along with members of the military, will contribute to Operation Homefront’s mission of providing support and assistance to families of service members by putting together care packages to send overseas. On Veterans Day, the Rams will host members of the military at a private practice at Russell Training Center. The Rams will partner with Boeing to provide 1,000 tickets to the USO for the Rams’ military appreciation game on November 20. The National Anthem will be performed by 4-Digit Chords, a group of military members from Scott Air Force Base.
San Diego Chargers -- The Chargers’ Veterans Day Weekend Tribute presented by USAA is on November 10. There will be a card stunt to thank the military following the National Anthem, and five soldiers will be honored on-field at halftime. USAA will also host 100 military members and their families at a private tent party.
San Francisco 49ers -- The 49ers held its military appreciation game on October 9 to coincide with Fleet Week in San Francisco. Members of the fleet performed a flyover prior to the contest. On November 13, the 49ers will host 50 service members at their game and will further honor the military, as five Tuskegee Airmen will serve as Honorary Captains.
Seattle Seahawks -- The Seahawks will honor the military on November 13. A reenlistment will take place on the field prior to the National Anthem, and an enlistment will take place in the south end zone prior to pregame festivities. A local soldier will lead the team out of the tunnel. Air Force Staff Sgt. ANGIE JOHNSON will sing the National Anthem with her band, Sidewinder. George Hickman, one of the six known living Tuskegee Airmen in Seattle, will raise the 12th Man Flag.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- On November 8, Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik and a selection of players will visit veterans at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa. Dominik and players will present the hospital with a financial donation towards the purchase of necessary equipment and materials to assist in veteran recovery. On November 13, the Buccaneers will celebrate the 70th anniversary of MacDill Air Force Base with a salute to the military. Military-themed elements will be prevalent throughout the game, including the family of wounded veteran Corporal Michael Nicholson as Honorary Captains.
Tennessee Titans -- On November 6, approximately members of the 20 Tennessee Air Guard will swear in during a pregame ceremony, and 100 members of the 101st Airborne Division will unfurl an American Flag with four Navy F-18s providing a flyover at the end of the National Anthem. The honorary 12th Titan will be Air Force Staff Sergeant Shaun Meadows. At halftime, the 101st Airborne Division Band will perform the song for each of five military branches. A military vocalist will sing “God Bless America,” and a game-ball will be presented to Major General James McConville, commanding general at Fort Campbell. Ten players and four cheerleaders will visit a veterans hospital on November 8.
Washington Redskins -- The Redskins military appreciation game will be on December11, the day after the Army-Navy game is played at FedEx Field. The Redskins will honor members of the military on the field as well as on the video boards as part of the team’s “Operation Salute Our Troops”. On November 8, Redskins players and members of the historic Arlington National Cemetery “Old Guard” will connect with military personnel in Afghanistan through video games at a Pro vs. GI Joe event. Approximately 30 military veterans will be invited to watch a closed practice on November 11.
USAA provides insurance and more to 8.4 million members of the U.S. military and their families. USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving or have honorably served our nation in the U.S. military – and their families. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit USAA.com.