USA Football, NFL and NFLPA kick off 'Play Football'

Football's character-building benefits promoted with public service announcement and by prominent football personalities

USA Football, the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels, in conjunction with the NFL and NFL Players Association, powers its "Play Football … it's more than a game" campaign through August to promote the benefits and timeless values of America's favorite sport to more than 100 million fans.

"Play Football" incorporates TV and radio messages during all nationally-televised NFL preseason games, "Captain's Packs" for youth football leagues nationwide and more than 100,000 NFL team-donated preseason game tickets for youth football players. NFL preseason games will also feature in-stadium promotion through "USA Football" field stencils, banners, public address announcements, JumboTron video messages and youth football scrimmages played at halftime.

Serving as "Play Football" spokespeople are former NFL All-Stars Boomer Esiason and Rod Woodson, both of whom are "Football Dads" with children currently playing the sport on the youth or high school levels.

Through its "I Played" public service announcement, USA Football features six everyday professionals in their respective work environments united by the leadership and strong character traits they gained by playing football -– a sport that employs teamwork to attain success. The "I Played" television message invites viewers to usafootball.com to share memories of playing football and how the game has enriched them as people.

The NFL strengthens independent non-profit USA Football's initiative with more than $2 million in television and radio inventory during all national telecasts and broadcasts of NFL preseason games, incorporating NFL media partners CBS, ESPN, FOX, NBC, and NFL Network as well as the CBS/Westwood One Radio Network. More than 100 million Americans will watch or listen to NFL preseason national game telecasts.

As part of "Play Football," USA Football is distributing "Captain's Packs" free of charge through usafootball.com to the first 5,000 youth football leagues wishing to recognize youngsters' leadership qualities. By receiving a free Captain's Pack, youth coaches obtain 25 "C" Captain jersey patches, 200 helmet decals, and 25 Captain's Pledges that a young player signs as a commitment to good sportsmanship.

"To play football, you need to know its fundamentals, but the game means so much more," says USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck. "The pulse-quickening emotion football generates captures our imagination, which powers the 'Play Football' campaign. 'I Played' story-sharing, bolstered by support from the NFL and NFLPA, and helping young players recognize football's values of leadership and teamwork through free USA Football Captain's Packs are exciting ways to celebrate what the game means to its youngest players and the young-at-heart."

In addition to promoting football's values, the Play Football campaign also celebrates the sport's rising participation figures. According to independent sports marketing firm The Bonham Group, 3.2 million youngsters ages 6-14 played tackle football in 2007, up from 3.0 million (6.1 percent) in 2006.

"'Play Football' reminds all fans of the many reasons why football is America's favorite sport," says NFL Executive Vice President and USA Football Board Member Joe Browne. "The campaign also encourages young people to be active and provides them with the necessary structure through thousands of youth leagues and teams to enjoy playing our sport. We in the NFL strongly support USA Football's campaign."

"'Play Football' is a great way to promote America's favorite sport," says NFLPA Senior Regional Director and USA Football Board Member Jason Belser. "It represents all 1,800 players in the NFL and the many players who played the game before us. This campaign brings excitement to fans, players, coaches and everyone associated with making the grassroots game even stronger for the youngsters who deserve a great football experience."

USA Football, the national governing body of America's favorite sport on youth and amateur levels, hosts nearly 100 football training events per year offering education for coaches and game officials, skill development for players and resources for youth football league administrators. The independent non-profit manages U.S. national teams within the sport for international competitions. Endowed by the NFL and NFLPA through the NFL Youth Football Fund, USA Football is chaired by former U.S. Congressman and professional quarterback Jack Kemp.

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