Clubs honor veterans with special pregame
ceremonies and team community outreach
The National Football League will honor veterans and active duty members of the military during November, with teams designating home games as special Military Recognition Games throughout the month.
During Week 9 games and the NFL Network's first Thursday Night Football telecast of the season on the evening of Veterans Day (November 11), the NFL's network partners will support the USO through promotion of a special text-to-give campaign to benefit active duty troops and Wounded Warriors.
The NFL has a long history of supporting America's armed services, including a 45-year partnership with the USO that includes overseas visits to troops and trips to military hospitals nationwide.
Among the new initiatives are:
The first-ever NFL-Tillman Military Scholar will be recognized at the Minnesota Vikings-Arizona Cardinals game on Sunday, November 7. Earlier this year, the NFL announced the establishment of a scholarship with of the Pat Tillman Foundation which will honor and reward each year a former servicemember who exemplifies Pat Tillman's enduring legacy of service. The Tillman Foundation supports educational opportunities for veterans and their families. The foundation's Tillman Military Scholars program covers not only direct study?related expenses such as tuition, fees, and books, but also other needs such as room and board and child care.
The NFL will expand its relationship with Pro vs. GI Joe, a non-profit organization that connects servicemembers with professional athletes, through the "Rehabbing with the Troops" program in San Diego, CA on November 10 and in Washington DC on November 16. Wounded Warriors will work out with Chargers and Redskins players using the new EA SPORTS Active NFL Training Camp, a football-based training program that simulates the football drills and conditioning workouts of an NFL training camp that launches that day. These workouts are part of a season-long physical therapy and rehabilitation program for Wounded Warriors.
The NFL will continue 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, servicemembers can watch every NFL game live and online in its entirety.
In addition, teams will honor veterans and the armed services with a number of pregame and in-stadium initiatives:
The Ravens will honor military members at their Nov. 7 game against the Dolphins. Festivities will include a pregame A-10 aircraft flyover, a live video feed from Camp Victory in Baghdad during pregame and the national anthem as well as a special cheerleader performance at the quarter break. More than 50 veterans will be on the field for recognition during pregame.
On Nov. 14, the Bills will host their annual military appreciation on-field pregame ceremony. One hundred Military Veterans, soldiers currently serving in the United States Armed Forces, and their family members will be on-field for the pregame ceremony. Video will be played throughout the game with messages and pictures honoring troops currently serving and Military Veterans. Also in recognition of Veteran's Day, the Buffalo Bills have contributed to the development of a Flag Football league in Basrah, Iraq for Army members currently serving. Flags, footballs, gloves and prizes for the winning team were donated to the Army Base to boost morale and create a league for military members to take part in for years to come.
On Nov. 2, the Carolina Panthers traveled to Fort Jackson, Columbia, SC to visit and show appreciation for troops. During the Nov. 7 game against the Saints, the Panthers will host an Operation Gameday VIP package for nine troops where guests and their families will be treated to the ultimate Panthers experience. At the Nov. 21 game against the Ravens, the Panthers will host 50 service members and civilians for a re-enlistment ceremony on-field during pregame. A host of troops from Afghanistan will also be re-enlisting via satellite. In addition, on Nov. 9, the Panthers will host a live video game Pro vs. GI Joe competition between Carolina Panthers players and soldiers stationed in the Middle East. In addition, the Panthers will be building a playground at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
Members of the Chicago Bears organization will visit Jesse Brown VA Medical Center on November 9 to help distribute clothing, food, flu shots and other services to homeless veterans. At the Nov. 14 game against the Vikings, pregame activities will include a soldier delivering the American Flag to the field. In addition, an Army General and Purple Heart recipient will serve as honorary captains, and a soldier will sing the National Anthem while men and women representing the service's five branches hold a large American flag on-field. A soldier also will serve as the 4th Phase Captain. Halftime activities will include a re-enlistment ceremony with men and women from all branches of the military, a Purple Heart Ceremony and a video from a soldier overseas to their family.
The Bengals will host 30 military members, representing all service branches, at the ESPN Monday Night Football Luncheon before their Nov. 8 game. More than 40 members of the military will take part in a flag unfurling during the National Anthem, and the Honor Guard from the Ohio Army National Guard will present the colors at the game. Members of the Ohio Army National Guard will be delivering the Bengals mascot, Who Dey, to the game in a HumVee. In addition, there will be an on-field check presentation by Kroger to Operation Home Front. The JungleZone area will feature an interactive Ohio National Guard display. Tributes to the Military will run throughout the game.
On Nov. 7, the Browns will present the USO of Northern Ohio with a $10,000 donation to help fund the delivery of care packages. Army Sergeant First Class Ryan Ventimiglia will recognize Aundrey Walker from nearby Glenville High School as one of the selected athletes to compete for the 2011 Army All-American Bowl. Partnering with the USO of Northern Ohio, the Browns invited members from each branch of the military to be a part of player introductions and form a gauntlet as the team enters the field from the locker room. Chief Petty Officer Greene, who has proudly served as a Boatswain's Mate in the Unites States Navy for the last 20 years, will sing the National Anthem. Servicemen from the local branches of the Marines, Air Force, Army, Navy and Coast Guard will present the colors. Pre-game entertainment will feature members of the Ohio National Guard who will unfurl the American Flag, as well as representatives from the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard holding special military stars. The Ohio Air National Guard, 180th Fighter Wing from Toledo, Ohio will conduct a military flyover at the completion of the National Anthem. Halftime will feature a special military recognition with the Ohio National Guard. Between the 1st and 2nd quarters, the Browns will recognize the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American military aviators in the United States armed forces who defended our country during World War II.
On Monday, Oct. 25, the Dallas Cowboys honored Veteran's Day by hosting a military-themed game recognizing service members during an on-field, pre-game presentation. The Military Warriors Support Foundation and Charlotte Jones Anderson, Cowboys Vice President presented a ceremonial "KEY" to new homes to two families of servicemen wounded in Southwest Asia. In addition, military members were recognized during the National Anthem - Fort Sill, OK Honor Guard (US Army). During halftime, the 77th US Army Band (Fort Sill, OK) and 750 troops from Fort Sill (700 US Army, 50 USMC) were given a food and beverage coupon along with a Party Pass for the game. In addition, the Cowboys debuted their military support video: "We're here because they are there" during the Oct. 25 game.
On Nov. 14, the Denver Broncos will honor military members with an on-the-field military enlistment of 40 soldiers. A veteran will be present during the ceremonial coin toss and there will be a B2 flyover.
During the Nov. 7 game, four gentlemen from WWII Battle of the Bulge will be joining the color guard and its procession prior to the game. The Hometown Hero of the game who will be recognized on the field will be a soldier recently returning from war overseas. Bob Woodruff of the Bob Woodruff Foundation will be on hand to promote his foundation that supports soldiers returning after being injured in the line of duty. Bob Woodruff, along with a local veteran that was wounded while serving overseas, will also be honorary captains for the coin toss. Discounted tickets are available for veterans and active military and during the game veterans will be asked to rise and be applauded.
Green Bay Packers
During the Packers vs. Cowboys game, the Packers will host more than 100 soldiers that have just returned from overseas by inviting them to hold the large flag, along with 6 stars representing each branch of the military and POW/MIA's, on the field during the national anthem. The national anthem will be performed by deployed members of the 147th Aviation Battalion via videoboard. A WWII veteran will be honored before the anthem. Members of the 951st Engineer Company will again be recognized at halftime and will be on the field with the Under Secretary of the Army and two Generals. The family of the 951st Engineer Company member lost overseas will also be on the field at halftime. A photo montage of military photos will be shown on the videoboard following the recognitions on field.
On Nov. 9, Texans players will aide Veterans in mobile rehabilitation exercises at the VA Hospital leading up to Veterans Day; players also will distribute Texans products to all patients and visitors of the VA Hospital. In addition, the Houston Texans will make a donation to the VA Research Fund. Many Veterans from this hospital are involved in the Texans All Community Team sponsored by Texans players Chris Myers and Joel Dreessen and former Texans player Dan Orlovsky. Veterans will receive tickets to all Texans home games, t-shirts and unique opportunities to meet Texans players.
To commemorate Veteran's Day and honor those who have served our country, the Indianapolis Colts will partner with a local middle school to decorate 200 Colts footballs and write thank you messages for veterans. The footballs will then be delivered by students and Colts players to the veterans at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center on Nov. 9.
On Nov. 14, the Jaguars and the USO will host a free tailgate outside the stadium for more than 3,000 active duty troops and their families. Prior to the game, the Jaguars will recognize Veterans on the field followed by God Bless America performed by Army Soldier, SFC Jamie Buckley. A moment of silence will be held for all of those who have lost their lives serving our country, followed by a 21-gun salute. The Jaguars players will be led out onto the field by six members of the 125FW Security Forces. The National Anthem will be performed via satellite by 2nd Lt Rebecca Burgess, who is currently serving in Afghanistan. The Colors will be presented by a Joint Service Guard and a Veterans Honor Guard. Following the National Anthem, a B-2 from Whiteman AFB is scheduled to do the flyover. 50 Airmen will hold a large American Field Flag during the National Anthem. During the game, the Jaguars will show numerous shout-outs from deployed troops and will ask all active duty, reservist, and Veterans to stand and be recognized. Over 15 Wounded Warriors will also be recognized during the third quarter. At halftime, a large enlistment ceremony involving over 150 recruits from all branches will take place and that will be followed by God Bless the USA performed by Phil Stacey. In addition to all the in-game participation, static displays from all branches will be set up around the entire stadium.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs honored veterans and active duty members of the military during the October 31 game vs. Buffalo. Prior to kickoff, Col. Gary Johnston, the Regimental Commander of the 24th Marine Regiment, will throw a ceremonial first pass. Members of the 24th Marine Regiment will serve as the color guard and will join members of the U.S. Army 705th Military Police Battalion, based in Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. in presenting a giant American flag on the field. The honorary captains for the game will be U.S. Army Captains Richard Brownlee and Richard Eubank. In addition, there will be a swearing-in ceremony for the United States Marines, conducted by Master Sergeant Zachariah, followed by a video tribute to fallen soldiers. Members of the Naval Reserve Center and the Whiteman Air Force Base 509th Security Forces Squadron will be distributing miniature American Flags to ticket holders at all gates for October 31 game. Fans may also view Military Displays, including military vehicles, outside of the New Arrowhead. In addition to game elements, on November 9, the Chiefs Linebacking corps, under the Chiefs Community Caring Team banner, will join the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation and visit a local Veteran's Hospital. The Chiefs are also joining the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation in encouraging support of the Return the Favor Campaign this November. At Arrowhead Stadium merchandise stands and in Hy-Vee grocery stores through the month, fans can purchase VFW "Return the Favor" lapel pins with net proceeds benefitting this program. Return the Favor provides support such as housing grants, medical assistance and prepaid calling cards for members of the military.
On Nov. 9, Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders and Miami Dolphins players will be visiting the Jason Dunham USS Navy Vessel. During the Nov. 14 game, there will be Military recognition during a pregame moment as well as during halftime performance. In addition, the Miami Dolphins will host a Cell Phones for Soldiers during this game. New and used cell phones will be collected at the stadium and will be sent to military on active duty. Prepaid envelopes will also allow fans to make a cell phone donation at a later time.
On Nov. 7, the Minnesota Vikings will host a military-themed game recognizing service members. Festivities will begin with a number of uniformed military members joining part of the tunnel to enter the field during introductions. The 2010 NFL-Pat Tillman Military Scholar, Patrick Nelson, will serve as Honorary Captain. Nelson will also participate in the coin toss along with one member of each branch of the service. A member of the service will be singing the National Anthem. In addition, a large American flag will be deployed onto the field. The 34th Infantry Division "Red Bull" Band will perform at halftime.
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
In honor of Veterans Day, the Saints will contribute $5,000 to fund a military family appreciation day on November 6 at Jackson Barracks in Chalmette, La. Saints alumni players, Saintsations, and team mascots will be in attendance to mingle with the troops & their families, sign autographs, and take photos as well. Additionally, Saints inflatables will be set on the campgrounds for the guests to enjoy. The Saints also will honor the military during the Nov. 21 home game against the Seahawks. During this game local marines will be honored during a "Hometown Heroes" on-field presentation. Additionally, a marine unit will serve as the Color Guard for the pre-game festivities. Lastly, Wounded Warriors based in Fort Polk, La. have received a number of tickets for the game.
New York Giants
New York Jets
The Jets will host their 11th annual Military Appreciation Day in honor of Veteran's Day on Sunday, Nov. 21. The Jets Gameday publication, "Playbook" cover will be designed in camouflage. During Sunday's pregame activities each branch of the military will have exhibits and recruiting stations set up on the plaza outside of the stadium. USA Golden Knights will parachute in the stadium with flags and each branch of the military will be in formation on-field during the National Anthem which will be performed by vocalists from the United States Coast Guard Glee Club. The New Jersey National Guard will perform a Fly-By at the conclusion of the Anthem. Members of the Wounded Warriors will also be present during pre game ceremonies. During the game, special messages from our troops will be played in-stadium as well as a message from Coach Ryan and other players to the troops. Public Service Announcements promoting branches of the military will be played in-stadium. In addition, the Jets hosted 75 military personnel representing each of the five branches of the military at a Friday practice.
The Oakland Raiders will celebrate Veteran's Day during their Nov. 7 game. A military flyover and the "USAF Band of the Golden West," from Travis Air Force Base, will be performing the National Anthem, as well as performing alongside the Peninsula Boy Scout Band during the halftime show. 160 Travis Air Force Base personnel will be participating in the pregame flag unfurling with The Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of Northern California. The Department of Veteran Affairs will honor The Gold Star Families, comprised of family members whose loved ones were killed in the line of duty, in a pregame ceremony. Blue Star Mom and The Vietnam Veterans Center will both have information booths located around the Coliseum during pregame.
The Eagles will recognize Veteran's Day by honoring the military at their Nov. 7 game. A representative from each branch of the military will lead the team out onto the field during player announcements while running with their branch's flag. A field-size American Flag will be unfurled during the National Anthem and halftime activities will be military related. Eagles rookie Chad Hall, an Air Force Academy letter winner, and other Eagles players have also recorded thank you messages that have been incorporated into a military appreciation video that will play throughout the game.
On Nov. 14 the Pittsburgh Steelers will honor a veteran from each war going back to Pearl Harbor by having these veterans the field during the Color Guard and National Anthem. Each veteran will be introduced to the crowd. In addition, representatives of the VA VISN 4 will have an informational setup at GameDay Live (Steelers Experience) at the Sunday, Nov. 21 game against the Raiders.
St. Louis Rams
In honor of Veteran's Day and Military Appreciation, the St. Louis Rams will invite Veteran's to watch a special VIP practice on Veteran's Day. Players will also visit a local VA hospital on Tuesday and will conduct special in game salutes to Veterans during the Rams Military Appreciation Game. The Rams and Boeing donated 1,000 tickets to be distributed to Military families for the November 21 game against the Atlanta Falcons and also discounted an additional 1,000 tickets for military men and women. The USO Mobile Unit will be present in our tailgate area prior to kickoff, scouts will hold the large, US flag across the field and Military men and women will perform the National Anthem and the halftime performance.
San Diego Chargers
As part of the Chargers' ongoing support of military and veterans, on Nov. 10, the Chargers are working with Pros vs. GI Joe to host a "Rehabbing With the Pros" event at Chargers Park. Twenty Veterans and current military members will play EA SPORTS Active NFL Training Camp game against Chargers players.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers will be honoring veterans of the United States armed forced at their Dec. 12 "Hometown Heroes" themed game. Prior to the game, wounded veterans affiliated with the "Wounded Warriors Project" will be saluted for their bravery with a pregame recognition ceremony. Additionally, as part of a longstanding tradition, a color guard consisting of members of a variety of branches of the military will present the flag during the National Anthem. To ensure that veterans are on hand to witness the ceremony, heavily discounted tickets will be offered to members of the military. Finally, 49ers coaches, staff, and sideline personnel will be wearing limited edition 49ers Veterans Day pins during the November and December games.
At the Seahawks' Nov. 7 game, two P-51D Mustang fighter planes will fly over the stadium. Butk Compton, commander of the second platoon of Easy Company, part of the 101st Airborne Division during World War II, will raise the 12th Man Flag. Compton was immortalized in the TV mini-series "Band of Brothers" and was recognized with a Silver Star, Purple Heart and the World Ward II Victory Medal. Compton now resides in Burlington, Washington. In addition, the Sea Gals will wear combat boots in support of the campaign "Get Your Boots On." The Boot Campaign provides Americans with a tangible way to give back to U.S. troops by buying a pair of combat boots and proudly wearing or displaying them. During halftime, over 1,000 local servicemen and women and their families will be recognized on the field and there will be a live musical performance by former Guns N' Roses member Duff McKagan and his band, Loaded.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
On Monday, Nov. 8, GM Mark Dominik, players and cheerleaders will visit James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa to greet soldiers recovering from injury and illness. On Tuesday, Nov. 9, the Buccaneers will host a military appreciation rally for hundreds of active-duty service members at MacDill Air Force Base. Along with cheerleader performances, Dominik and players will greet the crowd and sign autographs as a thank you for their service.
The 12th annual Titans Salute to Veteran's Day will take place during the Nov. 21 game. During this game, the anthem color guard will be provided by the Army's 101st Airborne Division from nearby Fort Campbell and the Titans will also honor a high-ranking officer from that base. The team will also recognize a group of "Wounded Warrior" soldiers with a game ball presentation. In addition, a halftime show will include a performance by the Tennessee Army/Air National Guard Band, a color guard representing all five branches of the service and country music star Sgt. First Class Jamie Buckley will perform God Bless America to close out the halftime performance. Ahmard Hall, Titans fullback who served in the U.S. Marines, will lead a group of players who will visit Nashville's Veteran's Hospital the week of Veteran's Day. Titans cheerleaders will meet with Wounded Warriors prior to the Veterans Day Parade and then join them in the parade!
On Nov. 16, the Washington Redskins Community Relations Department will partner with Pro vs. GI Joe, a nonprofit organization, to connect Washington Redskins players with wounded warriors both at Camp Pendleton in CA and Walter Reed in DC for "Rehabbing with the Troops." This event will focus specifically on wounded warriors and helping them through a rehabilitation session using EA SPORTS Active NFL Training Camp as the training system and Washington Redskins players as the trainers.