Riddell and Peyton Manning Unveil Football’s Team of the Future to Kick-Off Fifth-Annual Smarter Football Program

Football Helmet Leader Transforms Peoria High School Lions (IL) into One of the Most Technologically Equipped High School Programs in the Country

Riddell, the leader in football head protection and innovation, today unveiled Peoria High School as its Team of the Future to celebrate the launch of the 2019 Smarter Football program. The Peoria High School Lions, known for their progressive approach to football, became one of the first high schools in the country completely outfitted with the latest in football head protection and smart helmet technologies.

The Riddell Team of the Future symbolizes a new era of smarter football by combining state-of-the-art equipment with the Lions’ unique style of play. The Lions go for it on fourth downs, always attempt two-point conversions, and try onside kicks on every kickoff. The team is also dedicated to preventing unnecessary player contact, limiting it in practices throughout the season. 

Football helmet leader transforms Peoria High School Lions (IL) into one of the most technologically equipped high school programs in the country.

“Peoria High School is bringing the future of football to the field, and that’s the kind of approach Riddell wants to support. We are honored to equip such an exemplary program with advanced protective gear,” said Riddell Brand Ambassador and Strategic Advisor Peyton Manning. “The team’s commitment to player development on and off the field sets an incredibly high standard for the football community.” 

The Team of the Future initiative also marks the start of the 2019 Smarter Football program. Smarter Football is Riddell’s grassroots movement that recognizes and rewards teams across the country for implementing ‘smarter’ tactics on and off the field. Since its inception, more than 3,600 football programs across North America, from youth to semi-pro, have applied for a Smarter Football equipment grant. Riddell and Peyton Manning will select 10 grant winners for 2019 with Manning donating Riddell’s InSite impact monitoring technology to all winning programs.

 “We’re proud to see the football community continually rally around the Smarter Football program and evolve what it means to teach a smarter game to the next generation of players,” said Riddell President and CEO Dan Arment. “We hope Peoria High School - Team of the Future inspires more programs across the country to invest in a safer and smarter brand of the sport.”

While Smarter Football can take shape in many ways, this year’s program recognizes the Peoria Lions for their unconventional approach to the game. The Lions visited Riddell’s headquarters earlier this year for a behind-the-scenes tour led by Manning. During the visit, the team was completely outfitted with Riddell’s latest helmet technologies, including SpeedFlex Precision, SpeedFlex Diamond, Riddell InSite smart helmets as well as shoulder pads featuring RipKord technology. The team was also gifted new uniforms and provided upgraded on-field practice equipment for the upcoming season.

At its core, Smarter Football 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 and for coaches, that may mean implementing new training techniques and smart helmet technology to fully benefit from teachable moments happening on the field. 

For Riddell, Smarter Football means demonstrating its head protection leadership through innovation in helmet and protective equipment design and development. 

Most recently, Riddell teamed up with leading digital manufacturer Carbon to bring customized, digital design innovation to head protection through Riddell’s Diamond technology, the first-ever 3D printed helmet liner.  

Teams interested in applying for a grant can visit Riddell.com/SmarterFootball. The deadline for entries is July 8, 2019 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. 

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