The National Football Foundation (NFF) unveiled a new campaign that encourages people to tell why football matters to them. The campaign, called Football Matters to Me, will provide people from border-to-border and coast-to-coast a voice in highlighting the positive impact that football has had on their lives by utilizing social media platforms and the hashtag: #ImAFootballPlayer. The campaign will encourage participation via a series of national television spots with high-profile former players who subsequently achieved remarkable success later in life.
The campaign was announced at the Omni Dallas Hotel during the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame induction of Jerry Jones, the owner, president and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys. Jones, who attributes much of his success in life to his experiences as a college football player at the University of Arkansas, worked with the NFF to dedicate the proceeds from the event to help launch the campaign.
“I have been proud to serve on the National Football Foundation Board of Directors since 2007,” said Jones. “The organization represents a tremendous set of values, and its Football Matters campaign will provide an important platform for sending a powerful message about the lasting impact that our sport has had in the development of so many of our nation’s leaders. It’s a privilege to play a role in launching the project.”
“This campaign is an opportunity for all of us who care about football to recall the lessons learned from this great game,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “Over the years, numerous past players have asked the NFF for an outlet to express their passion for the game. This campaign will showcase the impact football has had on their lives, helping us to generate awareness for why football matters long after the games have been played.”
Tonight’s announcement premiered the first TV spot and testimonial, which showcased Jeff Immelt, the Chairman and CEO of GE and a former offensive lineman at Dartmouth College. The commercial, produced by the Dallas-based The Richards Group, captures Immelt’s perspective on the value of his football experiences in running one of the world’s largest and most successful industrial conglomerates.
Multiple national media outlets have committed to run the spot in the coming weeks. The campaign will continue indefinitely with additional leaders coming forward to pay tribute to the game in subsequent TV commercials. The public service announcements will generate awareness for the campaign, hopefully encouraging people from all walks of life to share their football experiences as part of the social media component of the campaign.
“The goal of the campaign is to generate a strong understanding of how the values learned through football translate into success later in life,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “There are no better examples of this perspective than Jerry Jones and Jeff Immelt. We are extremely thrilled to have their backing and participation in tonight’s launch. The entire football community thanks them for their leadership.”
The campaign’s dual approach of highlighting the game’s greatest leaders while also engaging ordinary people in expressing their perspective will create a powerful combination that highlights football’s unique ability to shape character, build integrity and develop leaders. The stories captured by the campaign will document the impact football has had on people’s lives, providing an opportunity to tell why football matters to them.
“This campaign is not designed to raise money or sell merchandise,” said Hatchell. “It’s really not an advertising campaign at all. It’s a movement. A movement to ignite the passion we have for the game and to remind people that football goes beyond fantasy leagues, Friday night lights, Saturday tailgates and Sunday afternoons. This movement is an opportunity for everyone who has played the game to tell the story of how football has impacted their life.”
Individuals can get involved in the effort by simply posting their football stories and explaining how its life lessons have helped them off the field. Whether it’s a Tweet, a few sentences on a Facebook page or a video link, individuals can tell their football stories, and by using #ImAFootballPlayer, their testimonials will become part of the Twitter feed on the NFF homepage (www.footballfoundation.org). The NFF, working with The Richards Group, will aggregate the posts and measure the impact.
“We are extremely excited about this campaign,” said Manning. “It gives people an opportunity to take an active role in giving back to the game. Providing people a platform to express the positive impact that football has had on their lives is a great way to protect and grow the game for future generations. We are grateful for everybody who has played a role in today’s launch, especially Jerry Jones and Jeff Immelt.”