By the Staff of NYSportsJournalism.com
December 26, 2016: The NFL is constantly on the firing line by critics for getting things wrong.
In this case, they got it right.
For all games during Week 13 — beginning with the Dallas Cowboys at the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football on Dec. 1 and running through Monday Night Football on Dec. 5 — some 500 NFL players wore cleats they each designed to support specific charities, events, people and causes, under the umbrella "My Cause, My Cleats" platform.
The NFL extended the event to the next weekend for the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans, who wore their cleats on Dec. 11 because they had a bye week the previous weekend.
The focus of respective messaging included raising awareness about cancer, birth defects, mental health, diabetes, bullying, lack of water in East African communities, pet adoption, arts and improving education to kids nationwide. Many of the players supported their own foundations, including Drew Brees (Brees Dream, which works to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their families) and Von Miller (Von’s Vision, a non-profit group that gives glasses to children in need).
The league, NFL Players Assn. and the players worked with NFL partners Nike, adidas and Under Armor to create the plethora of shoes. The initiative was a culmination of 18 months of collaborative work between the NFL and its players.
NFL said it is talks with NFLPA to expand the platform for 2017 and beyond.
"These will be seen on nationally televised games, so it will bring so much attention to so many causes," said Alfred Morris, running back for the Cowboys, whose cleats supported The Salvation Army. "This is the first year we are doing this. Even if you are not involved with a cause, we want people to relate to them and get actively involved."
Following the games, the league said each player would have the opportunity to raise funds for their respective cause by auctioning their cleats at NFL Auction.
All of the funds raised were to be donated to the designated charities, which must have 501c3 status, according to the NFL.
Among marketing support was a "My Cause, My Cleats"-themed TV spot support, with the tag line, "Every Cleat Tells A Story." It showed wide receiver Brandon Marshall of the New York Jets designing his cleats along with kids from his Project 375 foundation, which focuses on promoting awareness of mental health.
In addition to on-air visuals and mentions during broadcast games, support includes a dedicated Web site, social media and a online player platform in partnership with The Players’ Tribune.
"One of the great NFL traditions is how our players passionately support important causes in their communities and around the globe every year," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during a media event.
"They are incredibly creative by nature so we are not surprised how they are seizing the opportunity this week with inspiring expressions of their charitable commitments on their cleats, online and through social media."
SHARE ON TWITTER
Back to Top Ten Sports Marketers 2016
Back to Home Page