An American Football legend touched down in Manchester this week as part of a UK tour to highlight the advantages of the game.
Former Chicago Bears player Shaun Gayle and British pundit Neil Reynolds met NFL fans in Piccadilly Gardens, and then attended a special forum in the evening at the Marriott Victoria and Albert Hotel.
The NFL is driving an initiative at the moment to encourage more children to play the sport, and help tackle the problem of child obesity.
And former cornerback Gayle, who won the Super Bowl with the Bears in 1985, told MM: “It’s such a popular sport so it’s important that we help to grow this to make sure kids get active. We want to change their mindset.
“Team sports develop commitment, friendship and discipline which all apply to life focus.”
As part of their goal to invite children to exercise more regularly, there is a campaign called Play 60 that has been developed by the NFL. The purpose is to get children to be active for 60 minutes a day which will lead to them live healthier.
NFL pundit Reynolds has also noticed that the NFL has been gaining more popularity in the UK. An introductory version of American Football – flag football – attracted 30 schools at a recent event in London.
Reynolds told MM: “It is not realistic to compete with the major UK sports such as Football, Rugby, Golf and Cricket, but it is possible to challenge the lesser sports after them.
“The friendly atmosphere at NFL matches at Wembley has attracted more families to become fans of the sport.
“Tottenham Hotspur have also agreed to host NFL Matches in the future which will give us a second stadium to play at, and it is also positive to see more sportsmen crossing over from other sports to join the NFL.”
The new NFL Season kicks off on Thursday with champions the Denver Broncos hosting the Carolina Panthers in a repeat of last season’s Super Bowl Final.
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