Riddell today announced the launch of its annual Smarter Football initiative. Special for the fourth season of the program, Riddell and brand ambassador and strategic advisor Peyton Manning teamed up to unveil ’18 in 18’, inviting teams to apply for 18 total equipment grants – increasing the amount from previous years’ ten.
The new “18 in 18” format not only pays homage to the number Manning wore throughout his professional career, but honors his commitment to Smarter Football and his passion for the sport. For the second consecutive year, Manning will also join Riddell in reviewing applications to help select the 18 winning teams.
“The Smarter Football program continues to be a marquee initiative for Riddell as we highlight the football community’s relentless pursuit of a safer, smarter game,” said Riddell President and CEO Dan Arment. “We enjoyed great success in past years and can’t wait to see how ‘18 in 18’ advances the Smarter Football message more broadly. We thank Peyton Manning for all he continues to do for the game, as we work together to enhance the efforts of today’s players and coaches.”
The Smarter Football program is a grassroots movement that recognizes and rewards teams across the country for implementing ‘smarter’ tactics on and off the field. Since its inception, more than 2,400 football programs across North America, from the youth level to semi-pro, applied for a Smarter Football equipment grant.
“When I first got involved with this initiative last year, I was so inspired by the stories and the significance the program had at all levels of the game,” said Manning, Riddell’s Brand Ambassador and Strategic Advisor. “I wanted to do something special in 2018 and show the football community that what they’re doing is making a positive difference in the game. I’m excited to be involved and honored to be part of the ‘18 in 18’ effort this year.”
Smarter Football can take shape in many ways. At its core, it reflects the collective football community’s pledge to advance the sport. How that comes to life, however, can look different for everyone involved. For parents and administrators, that may mean more technologically advanced protective equipment. For players, that may mean extra time committed to team building or community service activities, and for coaches, that may mean implementing new training techniques, smarter practice plans or building in more film study to fully benefit from teachable moments happening on the field.
For Riddell, Smarter Football means leading innovation in product design and development to create more advanced protective technologies. Most recently, Riddell unveiled an enhanced web-based data center for team personnel called the InSite Training Tool complementing its InSite Impact Response System. The new interactive web tool builds individual player head impact profiles and allows coaches to proactively influence athlete behavior through focused training techniques and specialized practice plans.
Those interested in applying for a grant can visit Riddell.com/SmarterFootball. The deadline for entries is July 9, 2018 and recipients will be announced this season. Anyone in the football community is invited to join the movement by following @RiddellSports on social media and sharing their own examples of #SmarterFootball in action.