February 3, 2010: Even as Peyton Manning, Dree Brees, Reggie Bush and Dwight Freeney garner most of the attention in the days leading up to Super Bowl XLIV, a strong showing of former NFL players has also come to South Florida to support their own programs, In fact, their combined star power has lit up several Super Bowls and occupies a good chunk of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Foremost is the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, a non-profit, 501(c) (3) corporation "established to provide financial assistance and coordinate social services to dire need retired NFL players."
The Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund Board of Directors includes Mike Ditka, Gale Sayers, Marv Levy and Jimmy Johnson, as well as Greg Brown of Motorola. The advisory committee includes Shayne Graham, Jason Kyle, Josh Miller, Chris Jacke, Frank Winters, Jim Andrews, Tom Cundy, Jim Marshall and Joe DeLamielleure.
Among GGAF's Super Bowl programs: The "Eats Beats Cleats Gridiron Festival" presented by Comcast, which runs Feb. 4-7 on Lincoln Road in South Beach. More than 75 current and former NFL stars and other sports legends will be featured as the festival launches with exciting once in a lifetime fan experiences and VIP events..
The GGAF will also hold its annual Super Bowl "Night of Champions" gala at the Ritz-Carlton on Feb. 5 in Miami. Jamie Foxx is the 'headline' host, and more than 100 NFL legends who actively support the organization will attend the event to raise funds for the GGAF.
Also through GGAF, Miller Lite is sponsoring appearances throughout the area with such players as Vinny Testaverde, Larry Little, Jim Kiick, Eric Dickerson, Ickey Woods, Carl Eller, Dwight Clark and Tony Dorsett.
Also raising awareness during the Super Bowl are former players promoting the American Urological Association Foundation. In conjunction with the NFL, AUAF is encouraging men to "Know your stats about prostate cancer," the second leading cause of cancer death for American men.
NFL Hall of Fame member and prostate cancer survivor Mike Haynes is leading the awareness campaign. Fans and players nationwide are being directed to www.KnowYourStats.org to help spread the word about prostate cancer and the importance of early detection. This week, team members Tony Dorsett, Marcus Allen and Deacon Jones are joining Haynes in Miami to urge men to know their stats about prostate cancer. Support includes a PSA that will run in Sun Life Stadium during the Super Bowl featuring "Mean" Joe Greene, Michael Irvin, Anthony Munoz, Andre Tippett and Rod Woodson, among others.
"One in every six men in the US will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. And African-American men are at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer and more than twice as likely to die from the disease," Haynes said in a statement. "We're here in Miami to get all men to add the important statistics about prostate cancer to the stats they already know about their favorite NFL players."
There also will be legends galore when the Pro Football Hall of Fame unveils the Class of 2010 on Feb. 6. Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and Tim Brown are considered the favorites to be elected, each in their first year of eligibility.