NFL Foundation Commits $45 Million to USA Football

          Grant Will Support Youth Football Programs Including Heads Up Football, NFL FLAG

The National Football League Foundation has approved a $45 million grant to USA Football to support the growth of youth football, it was announced today. The grant will provide funding for USA Football over the next five years.

SCOTT HALLENBECK, executive director of USA Football, accepted the grant today from NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL and NFL Foundation chairman CHARLOTTE JONES ANDERSON at the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando.

USA Football, the official youth football development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams, will use the grant to support youth and high school football through its Heads Up Football, NFL Punt, Pass & Kick, and NFL FLAG programs.

The funds will help bring Heads Up Football to all 10,000 youth football leagues across the country. In the first year of Heads Up Football in 2013, more than 2,700 youth leagues registered for the program, representing approximately 600,000 players and 90,000 coaches. The NFL Foundation grant will expand Heads Up Football to the high school level, providing continuity in fundamentals, terminology, and health and safety protocols from the youth to the high school level. USA Football piloted Heads Up Football in 35 high schools in 10 states in 2013.

Additionally, USA Football will grow the NFL FLAG and NFL Punt, Pass & Kick programs. NFL FLAG powered by USA Football is the premier youth flag football league for boys and girls ages 5-17. A program of NFL PLAY 60, FLAG provides young players with an opportunity to play non-contact football and learn lessons about sportsmanship and teamwork, while also getting their 60 minutes of daily physical activity. More than 220,000 boys and girls ages 5-17 currently participate in NFL FLAG. NFL Punt, Pass & Kick, which began in 1961, is the nation’s largest grassroots sports skills competition.

“The NFL Foundation is committed to enhancing our great game at all levels,” said Jones Anderson. “USA Football is a leader through its innovative work in youth and high school football development, and we are pleased to support their important work.”

Heads Up Football is a comprehensive youth and high school football membership program developed by USA Football and supported by the NFL and more than two dozen medical, child advocacy and sport organizations. The initiative was launched in 2013 with a $1.5 million grant from the NFL Foundation. The core elements of the program are: coaching certification, the teaching of proper techniques, player safety coaches, proper equipment fitting, concussion and health education, and parental involvement.

“The NFL Foundation’s generous support of USA Football allows us to grow our programs and further establish important standards rooted in education for the well-being of our young athletes,” said Hallenbeck. “We value this strong sign of trust in our nonprofit office. These funds will be put to use for the benefit of the more than 5.5 million youth and high school athletes who enjoy the fun and other benefits of playing football.”

Spring is the start of Heads Up Football registration for the 2014 youth football season. To learn more, visit http://www.usafootball.com/headsup.USAFootball_Grant2014

Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Foundation Chairman Charlotte Jones Anderson presenting $45 million grant to USA Football’s Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck

About the NFL Foundation: The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health and safety of athletes, youth football, and the communities which support our game. For more information on The NFL Foundation, visit: http://www.NFLFoundation.org.

About USA Football: Indianapolis-based USA Football is the sport’s national governing body, leading the game’s development for youth, high school and other amateur football players. The independent nonprofit works with medical organizations and football leaders for a better, safer game and is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its 32 teams and the NCAA’s Atlantic Coast Conference. USA Football (www.usafootball.com), endowed by the NFL and NFLPA in 2002, is the sport’s leader in coaching education and player skill advancement

NFL Kicks Off Annual Meeting in Orlando with Opening Presentation

Commissioner ROGER GOODELL opened the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando today with a presentation to team owners, general managers, coaches and staff. The hour-long session focused on the league’s challenges and priorities.

The presentation included information from several NFL and team executives plus Pro Football Hall of Famers ANTHONY MUÑOZ and AENEAS WILLIAMS, and former Pro Bowl player PATRICK KERNEY, now the NFL’s vice president of player engagement.

Commissioner Goodell saluted all teams on a memorable 2013 season and specifically recognized the work of coaches.

“The game has never been better and it’s a tribute to all of you, but it’s really important for us to salute the coaches,” said Goodell. “The coaches are the ones that really work to make this game great. We’ve changed the rules. We’ve removed techniques that we thought were dangerous. We’ve implemented new work rules and you, your staffs and your players have adjusted and we’re all better for it. Thank you, coaches, for all that you do.”

Goodell concluded by emphasizing the league’s values and also the theme of respect.

“With more success, comes more responsibility for all of us to step up and lead,” Goodell noted. “That means staying true to the values that have sustained our success over the years – Integrity, quality, tradition, teamwork, diversity, innovation.

“Let me leave you with one thought to guide us through the future. Respect; respect for our game and those that came before us. Respect for each other – teams, opponents and game officials. Respect for our fans, our lifeblood. Respect in our workplaces for the diversity that makes us stronger. Respect for our communities and the important role we play in those communities. It’s about the significance of being part of this, the shield. Let’s embrace the opportunity to make a difference. We’re expected to do that – by our fans, our business partners and others. We can and we will. Let’s go to work.”

Topics presented by NFL and club executives included former players, quality of the game, engaging fans at stadiums and through technology, and connecting with new fans.

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Conference Call Transcript: Rich McKay, Troy Vincent & Jeff Fisher

ATLANTA FALCONS PRESIDENT & CEO,

NFL COMPETITION COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN RICH MC KAY

NFL EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS TROY VINCENT

ST. LOUIS RAMS HEAD COACH & COMPETITION COMMITTEE MEMBER JEFF FISHER

NFL ANNUAL MEETING CONFERENCE CALL

 March 19, 2014

Troy Vincent: I will begin by saying I am exciting about returning to the field of play. It’s been a long six years and I know I have an opportunity to continue to be a contributor as we advance our game. I’m looking forward to, with David Gardi, advancing our game as we look at the current game and the future. I’m looking forward to working with the Competition Committee as we advance our game. Again, I am excited and extremely grateful to still be a contributor to our wonderful game.

Rich McKay: I’ll start in the usual place, which is telling you a little bit of how we got to the agenda that sets up the Competition Committee report, which will be passed out to the membership Monday after the general session overview in the morning. The agenda is really formed by you, the media, and what gets talked about, written about and bubbles up to the surface during the season itself, followed by the surveys. This year I think the actual number of surveys we ended up with was probably around 80 surveys that got returned to us.  Those are given to coaches; given to general managers; given to presidents; given to owners. We get a lot of them. We also then meet with Coach (John) Madden’s subcommittee. We go through their issues and the issues they want us to vet and then also talk to them about the issues we’re looking at and then we meet with the players association. That’s kind of the process. That takes us to Indianapolis, where we meet for five days and then later to Naples, where we begin to write the report.

Before talking about 2014, we’ll talk about 2013 just for a second. I think 2013, the basic measures of the game, were really good. It was a very good year for the game on the field. From a competitive balance standpoint, we had five teams qualify for the playoffs in 2013 that did not qualify in 2012. That is the 24th-consecutive year we’ve had at least four new teams qualify, which is a good statistic for competitive balance. This year we have 18 games in which teams overcame a 14-point deficit, which is tying the all-time NFL record which was set in 2011. I think the stat that usually stands out the most to us on competitive balance is we had 48 percent of our games, the fourth-most in NFL history, decided by seven or fewer points. From a competitive balance standpoint, we feel very good about where the game was in 2013 and where it’s been for a good long time now.

To look at a couple of stats, we had 46.82 points-per-game, that’s the all-time NFL record. We had 697 yards-per-game, that’s the all-time NFL record. Despite those two offensive statistics, the top five teams in total defense – Seattle, Carolina, Cincinnati, New Orleans and San Francisco – all qualified for the playoffs and all won at least 11 games, again, establishing that defense does matter.

On Monday, we’ll distribute the Competition Committee report. There are 13 playing rules that will be presented to the membership and there are seven bylaws that will be presented to the membership and one resolution that will all be presented through the Competition Committee – not all written by or proposed by the Competition Committee – but those are the ones that will be discussed in our report.

For the complete release, click here

NFL Health and Safety Update—March 19, 2014

For the complete release, click here

Troy Vincent Named NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations

Dave Gardi Promoted to Senior Vice President of Football Operations

Troy Vincent, who has spent 22 years as an NFL player and executive, has been named NFL executive vice president of football operations, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced today.

Commissioner Goodell also appointed Dave Gardi, currently the NFL’s vice president of labor relations and football administration, to the newly created position of senior vice president of football operations.

Vincent, the head of NFL Player Engagement since 2010, will oversee all aspects of football operations in the league office with a focus on quality and innovation. His responsibilities will include officiating, integrity of the game, on-field discipline, game operations, player personnel, and college relations. Vincent will serve as a non-voting member of the Competition Committee and supervise development programs for players, coaches, and football executives. Gardi will work closely with Vincent on the administration of policies and programs in the football operations group.

Gardi, a quarterback at Brown University and graduate of Hofstra Law School, joined the NFL in 2003. He has represented the league and NFL teams in labor matters under the collective bargaining agreements with the NFL Players Association and the NFL’s game officials. He was a member of the negotiating teams for the CBAs with the players and game officials. He also worked with the football operations department and the Competition Committee on a wide range of officiating, playing rules, and player disciplinary issues. Dave is the son of the late Joe Gardi, who was an assistant coach with the New York Jets, an assistant supervisor of officials at the NFL, and head coach of Hofstra University for 16 years.

“Troy Vincent brings a uniquely well-rounded perspective to this leadership position,” Commissioner Goodell said. “He knows the game inside out from the locker room to the board room. He has done an exceptional job growing services to our players and former players, and he is ready and eager to lead our football operations group. Troy’s passion for education, personal development, and innovation will bring a new vitality and vision to our football group.

“Dave Gardi adds his own unique and broad skill set, including being steeped in the game his entire life as a player and the son of a coach,” Goodell added. “Together, Troy and Dave bring strong and talented new leadership to this critical function.”

Vincent was a first-round draft choice of the Miami Dolphins in 1992. A cornerback from the University of Wisconsin, Vincent played 15 years in the NFL for the Dolphins, Eagles, Bills, and Redskins. He was named a Pro Bowl player five times and was the 2002 winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award for his outstanding community service. Vincent served as president of the NFL Players Association from 2004-2008.

He joined the NFL office in 2010 to lead the league’s player engagement department, which provides support programs for players and their families. Vincent significantly expanded the scope of services for current and former players and their families. Promoted to senior vice president in 2013, he has recruited more than 200 NFL former players as ambassadors to help implement the department’s programs.

“I am excited and grateful for this opportunity,” Vincent said. “We will emphasize clarity, consistency, and credibility to ensure the highest standards and best practices for our teams and fans. We will work closely with all stakeholders to preserve, innovate, and develop the game. This is about making a great game even better for our generation and future generations.”

In addition to the Payton Man of the Year Award, during his NFL playing career Vincent received the NFLPA Byron “Whizzer” White, Sporting News #1 Good Guy, and Athletes in Action Bart Starr awards for his community service. He is the only NFL player ever to receive all four of these awards.

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NFL.com’s ‘Bracketology’ — Fans to Determine Greatest Quarterback of All-Time

Third Annual ‘Bracketology’ Begins Thursday, March 20 on NFL.com 

32 Quarterbacks Divided Into Four Brackets 

Who is the greatest NFL quarterback of all-time?

This year, NFL.com’s third annual edition of Bracketology seeks to answer the long-standing debate. Starting Thursday, March 20, fans will decide who is the greatest quarterback of all-time by submitting their vote at NFL.com/bracketology (site will go live when the bracket opens on Thursday).

Read more

2013 Official NFL Statistics

For the complete document, click here.

NFL League Year Off To Fast Start With Key Players Changing Teams

The 2014 League Year is less than a week old, but there have already been significant developments in team building. Whether through free agency or trades, teams are making moves that alter the landscape of the upcoming season.

For the complete release, click here.

15 NFL Players to Participate in Officiating Academy March 13-15 in Baltimore

Super Bowl XLVIII Referee Terry McAulay to be Keynote Speaker

Fourteen NFL legends and one current NFL player will take part in the 2014 Football Officiating Academy Fast Track Clinic and the Tom Beard Football Officials Clinic March 13-15 in Baltimore, the NFL announced today.

NFL Player Engagement and the NFL Football Officiating Academy partnered to select the players for the three-day program.

This year’s Fast Track clinic will be co-hosted by several former players who recently completed their first year as FOA (Football Officiating Academy) Fast Track Officials who will be recognized and honored for their efforts in officiating. The inaugural class of 2013 FOA Fast Track Officials includes CHARLES ALI, RICK DEMULLING, NATE JONES, TERRY KILLENS, LANDON TRUSTY and WILLIAM THOMAS, who have collectively worked more than 100 football games ranging from pee-wee to Division II.  Ali received the Rookie of the Year Award for his outstanding efforts in officiating from the Georgia Football Officials Athletic Association.

Former players and current NFL Player Engagement representatives JAMES THRASH and DAVID TYREE will speak to the participants.

The Tom Beard Clinic will engage players in a program featuring classroom and on-field instruction, including breakouts by position group and on-field scrimmage work. Instructors include current and former officials and officiating supervisors at all levels including Super Bowl XLVIII referee TERRY MC AULAY, umpire RUBEN FOWLER, head linesman WAYNE MACKIE, and back judge GREG STEED. McAulay will provide the keynote address.  More than 10 NFL officials as well as officials from the CFL, Arena League and college football have participated at the Tom Beard officiating camps and clinics.

“As we continue to develop and grow our officiating pipeline, this is a wonderful opportunity for former players to explore post-playing careers,” said TROY VINCENT, Senior Vice President of NFL Player Engagement.  “Officiating is a way our players can extend from active participation on the field to becoming ongoing contributors in one of the crucial elements of our game.”

For the complete release, click here

NFL Health and Safety Update—March 12, 2014

For the complete release, click here