In September, the NFL in collaboration with Gatorade expanded their “Way to Play Initiative.” The two partnered to promote “the NFL Way to Play Awards” fueled by Gatorade which highlights proper playing technique to protect players from unnecessary risk.
“The Way to Play Award recognizes players for using proper techniques on the field which protect players from unnecessary risk,” said Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “This award also benefits youth and high school football; incentivizes strong fundamental playing techniques; and demonstrates best practices.”
According to the NFL, the League Football Operations department will select the top nominees for the award, recognizing current players. The expert panel consists of former players Merril Hoge, Ronnie Lott, Willie McGinest, Orlando Pace, and Bobby Taylor. The recipient will be announced on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football every Thursday morning.
In partnership with Hudl and in its fourth year, the NFL WAY TO PLAY HIGH SCHOOL AWARD will honor one high school football player weekly for demonstrating exceptional in-game playing technique.
The high school award recipient will be announced on NFL Network each Thursday morning, and the school of each honoree will receive either a $3,000 equipment grant through USA Football or MVP Robotics’ Mobile Virtual Player.
The NFL has created several videos of NFL head coaches, current players and NFL Legends to assist in educating coaches and players. The videos provide coaching points of emphasis to execute proper technique and are to be used as educational tools.
Here is a look at each of the NFL Way to Play Awards fueled by Gatorade:
NFL Way to Play High School Award – for domestic high school football players, in partnership with Hudl. Weekly recipients each will receive either a $3,000 equipment grant through USA Football for their school or MVP Robotics’ Mobile Virtual Player.
NFL Canada Way to Play Award – for Canadian high school football players, in partnership with Hudl. Weekly recipients each earn a $3,000 grant for their school.
NFL Way to Play FLAG Player of the Week – for flag football players, in partnership with RCX Sports. Weekly recipients each earn a $3,000 grant for their program.
NFL Way to Play Award – for current NFL players. Recipients are each given a $5,000 grant to dedicate to a youth or high school program of their choice.
The NFL Way to Play educational curriculum, which focuses on teaching coaches and players proper techniques, drill selection, and tips to excel at each position, was developed by a select group of NFL Legends coaches across all levels of the game.
For more information on NFL Way to Play, please visit PlayFootball.com.
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.