The 2013 NFL season marks the 40th anniversary of the NFL-United Way partnership, and in recognition of this milestone, the NFL and United Way are teaming with USA Today Sports Media Group to host a nationwide vote to identify the best NFL-United Way public service ads (PSA) of the past 40 years.
From November 5-11, fans will have the opportunity to vote for the PSA featuring Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-time Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks as their favorite. The popular ad, which can be viewed here on Buccaneers.com, originally aired in 1999 and features Brooks' leading students in their "favorite" song. Visit the United Way voting page here.
Since the partnership's inception in 1973, more than 800 NFL players, coaches and club executives have appeared in NFL-United Way ads. The list of PSAs was narrowed to 40 in honor of the milestone, with the Top 40 featuring at least one player from each of the 32 NFL teams and crossing all four decades of the partnership. The NFL's 40-year relationship with United Way is the longest-running partnership between a sports league and nonprofit organization.
Powered by USA TODAY Ad Meter, the top 40 ads are being revealed by the decade over a four-week period. Fans can rate each ad on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best) at nflunitedway40.usatoday.com. Voting for PSAs from the 1970s took place October 21-28, coinciding with the 15th annual NFL-United Way Hometown Huddle league-wide day of service, and continued with PSAs from the 1980s from October 29-November 4. Voting for the PSA featuring Brooks, as well as other ads from the 1990s, will take place through November 11, with the contest concluding November 12-18 featuring PSAs from the 2000s. The top 10 will be featured on NFL.com and the winner announced on December 15.
"We are proud of the NFL's 40-year association with United Way," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "The memorable NFL-United Way messages have highlighted the importance of serving our communities through the leadership of our players and clubs. This year's campaign features current and former NFL players encouraging young people to continue to stay fit, maintain healthy lifestyles and contribute to their communities."
From building fitness zones and playgrounds to hosting youth football clinics, the NFL-United Way Hometown Huddle events continue to encourage kids to stay active for 60 minutes a day as part of NFL PLAY 60, the league's youth health and wellness campaign. The NFL-United Way partnership connects NFL PLAY 60 with United Way's 2018 goal to get 1.9 million more young people healthy and active.
On October 29, a Buccaneers contingent including linebackers Lavonte David and Ka'lial Glaud, defensive end Steven Means, wide receivers Chris Owusu and Russell Shepard, defensive tackle Akeem Spence, and tight end Tim Wright visited Edison Elementary School to join United Way Suncoast in hosting the team's 2013 Hometown Huddle. Buccaneers players, Buccaneers Cheerleaders and staff partnered with volunteers and students to install a "Learning Garden" at Edison, complete with interactive educational features for students. The celebration at Edison represented one of five school improvement projects taking place this fall at local elementary schools as part of the Buccaneers' Hometown Huddle.
Since 2011, NFL players have joined United Way TEAM NFL, a special volunteer group committed to helping United Way recruit one million volunteer readers, tutors and mentors. Comprised of college-educated, civic-minded NFL players from teams across the league, United Way TEAM NFL ambassadors have participated in community events, each with the goal of recruiting 3,000 volunteers. Buccaneers two-time Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph has led the way in these efforts, having served for the past three years as the Buccaneers' spokesman for the NFL/United Way's LIVEUNITED campaign, promoting volunteerism and service throughout the Tampa Bay community. His partnership has gained significant recognition throughout the Bay area for his active role in promoting TEAM DAVIN, a call-to-action effort for fans to join forces with United Way Suncoast to build the next generation of volunteers, mentors, and tutors. The TEAM NFL leaderboard is led by Joseph, who has recruited over 3,750 volunteers. To learn more about TEAM DAVIN, visit www.unitedway.org/team-nfl/players/davin-joseph.
And if you're favorite player (or your favorite PSA) just happens to be Derrick Brooks, then visit nflunitedway40.usatoday.com beginning Tuesday to cast your votes.