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• Six first-year eligible candidates are among the 27 semi-finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018: CB/S Ronde Barber, G Steve Hutchinson, LB Ray Lewis, LB Brian Urlacher, WR Randy Moss andDE/DT Richard Seymour. The Class of 2018 will be unveiled during NFL Honors, a two-hour prime-time awards special to air nationally (Feb. 3, 2018) on the eve of Super Bowl LII.
• The New York Knicks named Dan Sabreen vp-public relations, effective Nov. 27. Sabreen has spent more than a decade at CBS Sports, most recently as vp-communications.
• For every save made by goalkeepers during MLS Eastern and Western Conference Championships and MLS Cup, Allstate said it would donate two new soccer nets to fields in need in that club's city. MLS goalies participating inlcude Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew), Joe Willis (Houston Dynamo), Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders) and Alex Bono (Toronto FC).
• 2018 BBWAA ballot unveiled, with 14 1st timers including Chris Carpenter, Johnny Damon, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Hideki Matsui, Jim Thome, Johan Santana, Omar Vizquel Full ballot

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2018 NFL Pro Bowl Voting (To Date)
1. Carson Wentz QB Philadelphia Eagles 273,367
2. Tom Brady QB New England Patriots 239,989
3. Le’Veon Bell RB Pittsburgh Steelers 227,771
4. Todd Gurley RB Los Angeles Rams 215,687
5. Antonio Brown WR Pittsburgh Steelers 215,584
6. Drew Brees QB New Orleans Saints 207,751
7. Kareem Hunt RB Kansas City Chiefs 204,611
8. Jared Goff QB Los Angeles Rams 200,346
9. Russell Wilson QB Seattle Seahawks 183,630
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11. Rob Gronkowski TE New England Patriots 168,663
12. Zach Ertz TE Philadelphia Eagles 156,183
13. Julio Jones WR Atlanta Falcons 124,556
14. Joey Bosa DE Los Angeles Chargers 117,480
15. Kyle Juszczyk FB San Francisco 49ers 116,816
16. Aaron Donald DT Los Angeles Rams 102,194
17. Luke Kuechly LB Carolina Panthers 101,131
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19. Everson Griffen DE Minnesota Vikings 91,621
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Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Wednesday
Aug082012

NFL Kicks Off Back To Football Campaign With Eli, Nike, Serena, NY Road Runners

By Barry Janoff

August 8, 2012: Back to school? Back to the pool?

Fuhgeddaboutit! What the NFL wants fans to clamor about is going back to football.

With the assistance of Nike, Serena Williams, Condoleezza Rice, New York Road Runners and others, the league has moved front and center with a "Back to Football" multi-media effort supporting the countdown to Sept. 5, when the defending Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants host the Dallas Cowboys.

The game at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, to air nationally on NBC, will not only be the start of the 2012 NFL season, but also the culmination of a month-long campaign that will encompass teams, players, marketing partners and consumer-driven activation.

Nike, now in its first season as the official uniform supplier for the NFL, is the presenting sponsor of Back to Football. The NFL said that the Back to Football theme would be "prominent across all NFL channels, including broadcast media, digital media, social media, print media and retail, at both league- and club-levels with messaging to schools, league and club partners and the entire NFL fan base."

Among the elements, the NFL and Nike are looking for 32 fans — one for each NFL team — to participate in a photo shoot in New York on Sept. 4. (Full details here.) The activation coincides with a print campaign, "It's My Team," set to break in September for the NFL women's apparel division. Among the participants are Williams, who with sister Venus has a minority investment in the Miami Dolphins, who appears in a high-end Dolphins' T-shirt.

Among the others in the print campaign are Donald Trump's wife Melania, Summer Sanders, former secretary of state Rice and daughters of the owners of the Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs.

The NFL is joining with New York Road Runners, which oversees the ING NYC Marathon and numerous racing events throughout the year, for the inaugural "NFL Back to Football Run." The event, scheduled for the evening of Aug. 30, is a four-mile run through Central Park open to both casual and avid runners. Before and after the run, participants will have the oppoprtunity to win NFL-themed prizes and meet former NFL players.

Among the media elements is a 30-second spot featuring Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Cowboys' linebacker DeMarcus Ware. The spot opens with a couple in their front yard. "Hey, Eli," the guy says to Manning, who it turns out is at the Giants training facility. "I'm taking my son to his first Giants game . . . " At which point his wife, wearing a Dallas Cowboys T-shirt, interrupts by saying, ". . . his first Cowboys game."

"She's trying to turn him into a Cowboys fan," the husband continues talking to Manning. "Can you help me out, score a touchdown to win him over." After Manning agrees, the man's wife begins to talk to Ware, who is in the Cowboys' training facility. "Okay, DeMarcus, I'm going to need a sack."

After Ware agrees to her request, she takes a moment to introduce the two players. "DeMarcus . . .  Eli. Eli . . . DeMarcus." To which her husband replies, "I believe they've already met."

Then it's back to the requests. "Two touchdowns?" the husband asks Eli. "Three sacks," is his wife's response to DeMarcus. "Four touchdowns?" "Five sacks?"

The players continue to accept the challenge, although with less and less enthusiasm. Ultimately, when Manning moans at the request to score six touchdowns, the husband/dad goes for sympathy:

"It's just that he's my only son, Eli. He might become a Cowboys fan otherwise." (See the full spot here.)

The NFL is also using the effort to support its Play 60 national program, which encourages youngsters to exercise for at least one hour a day.

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