The Buffalo Bills and USA Football, the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels, will host 2,500 youth football players from the Western New York Amateur Football Alliance, Pop Warner of Western New York, and the Buffalo Bills/NFL Junior Player Development Program on August 28th to celebrate the "Play Football … it's more than a game" campaign.
As a part of the Play Football Initiative, youth football players and coaches from the Hunter James Kelly Youth Football Organization will be lined up in Stampede Row during player introductions and will stand with Bills players on the sidelines during the singing of the National Anthem. During halftime there will be a scrimmage between the Lockport Pirates and the North Tonawanda Timberwolves youth football teams from the Niagara Youth Football League. These youth football players are among 100,000 youngsters who will attend preseason games nationwide as part of "Play Football" through team-donated tickets. In addition, the August 28th Kids Day Game will feature in-stadium promotion through "USA Football" banners, public address announcements, and the scoreboard video messages.
USA Football is also 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.
The "Play Football" campaign features "I Played" public service announcements, showcasing 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 the website usafootball.com where they can share memories of playing football and how the game has enriched them as people.
Throughout the year the Buffalo Bills offer a number of different programs to support youth football in Western New York including youth football coaching clinics, youth football scrimmages at halftime of Bills home games, free High School and Junior Player Development camps, Punt Pass and Kick competitions, and NFL Flag games and tournaments (The Buffalo Bills will be one of 11 NFL teams to host an NFL Flag Regional Tournament in 2008). The Buffalo Bills were the first team in the NFL to open a facility dedicated for youth football on the same grounds as the team headquarters pioneering the NFL Youth Football initiative. Over 40 games will be played in the Bills Youth Football Stadium in 2008. For more information on the Buffalo Bills Youth Football Initiative please visit the Buffalo Bills Website at: http://www.buffalobills.com/community/YouthFootball.html.