TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – In recognition of the 35th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, the NFL, in collaboration with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Nike, celebrated female flag football student athletes and coaches from Hillsborough County at this year’s Play Football High School Day at the Super Bowl Experience presented by Lowe’s.
Today’s flag football games came just one day after Nike and the NFL partnered for a $5 Million grant to help grow flag football in high school athletics. State athletic associations will receive up to $100,000 in products, including uniforms, accessories, and equipment. States that have female flag football programs are eligible to receive donations. Florida leads all states with more than 300 teams.
The student-athletes heard from NFL Vice President of Youth and High School Football Roman Oben about values learned from the game. Oben is also a former Offensive Lineman who started on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl XXXVII Championship team. Click here to listen to Roman speak about the NFL’s new initiative, as well as his predictions for the Super Bowl on Sunday: https://fb.watch/3r978aCmcX
There are currently one million fewer high school female athletes than male athletes, mainly due to football. Nike and the NFL hope their investment will change the numbers going forward. Women will play a prominent role in this year’s Super Bowl, as the Bucs’ coaching staff includes females Lori Locust (Assistant Defensive Line Coach) and Maral Javadifar (Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach/Physical Therapist), while Carly Helfand works as a Scouting Assistant. Julie Frymyer and Tiffany Morton are both Assistant Athletic Trainers for the Kansas City Chiefs. Also of note this year, Sarah Thomas will become the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl. Other prominent female coaches in the NFL include Katie Sowers, Emily Zaler, and Jennifer King.
Today’s matchups featured four high school teams showcasing their skills. Alonso H.S., Lennard H.S., Newsome H.S., and Robinson H.S. took over the Lowe’s Play Football Field at Julian B Lane Riverfront Park.
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Mike Brodsky is a sports contributor for Florida National News, and part of the FNN News Super Bowl LV coverage team. | firstname.lastname@example.org