USA Football, the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels, has kicked off the 2008 edition of its "Play Football ... it's more than a game" campaign with a national Commemorative Ball Tour and "I Played" testimonials, where all who have experienced the sport in some way share their football stories at usafootball.com.
"Play Football ... it's more than a game" is USA Football's year-round theme celebrating the timeless qualities of the country's favorite sport, which accounts for nine of the ten most-watched programs in American television history. More than a call to action, "Play Football ... it's more than a game" is an emotional bridge connecting the sport's values to parents, coaches, officials, players and every member of the "football family."
"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. The Commemorative Ball Tour and 'I Played' story sharing are exciting ways to better recognize and celebrate what the game means to us."
USA Football's Commemorative Ball Tour features a red, white and blue, stars-and-stripes-designed football, symbolizing the game's values and serving as a tangible symbol of how the sport and our country are melded together. Independent non-profit USA Football encompasses all things football - teaching the game's fundamentals and its timeless qualities of leadership, responsibility and teamwork. These values are found within the 3.2 million youngsters who fuel its youth leagues, the more than 400 high schools with female-specific football programs, and the 1.13 million high school boys who play it, more than doubling the next-most popular sport among that group.
The Commemorative Ball will appear at football events nationwide, including USA Football coaching schools, officiating schools, and player academies, high school all-star games, college games, NFL training camps, Pro Football Hall of Fame Weekend in Canton, Ohio, and other grassroots football gatherings. Ball photos capturing the game's spirit will be posted at usafootball.com.
The "I Played" campaign will offer players, fans, parents and volunteers the chance to share their football stories at usafootball.com and express what the sport means to them. "I Played" submissions also will be featured in USA Football Magazine, the non-profit's quarterly publication. Additionally, "I Played" television spots will focus on how contributors to our society from all backgrounds gained values and strengthened their character through football.
"'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. "For example, more high school young men play football than any other 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 youth football the best sport in America."
We want to hear from you. Tell us your "I Played" story and what the great game of football as meant to you.