Eli Manning recognizes that the numbers in a playbook aren’t the only important statistics.
Manning wants children, including his three daughters, to have a strong set of financial skills.
“I think it’s so important for kids to understand what it means to save, to have a budget, to be smart about spending money,” the Giants’ 15th-year quarterback says. “I think the more you can introduce financial literacy to students at an early age, the more it’ll prevent them from making mistakes when they’re a young adult.”
Manning and Giants rookie Saquon Barkley spoke to more than 100 local high school students about the importance of managing their finances before facing off in a head-to-head competition playing the latest version of Financial Football, a free video game designed to educate users on smart money decisions. Financial Football was created in a partnership between the NFL and Visa. The game challenges players to answer multiple choice and true or false questions to advance down the field in order to score a touchdown.
With one in five teenagers in the United States lacking basic financial skills, Visa has teamed with 49 state governments and the District of Columbia to issue copies of the game to middle and high school students across the country.
The free video game is available through iOS and Android apps and financialfootball.com.
“It’s a fun interactive game for both adults and kids,” Manning says. “You get to play a game, but also answer questions and learn about your finances. It’s good for kids to start learning about the importance of financial literacy and to start saving their money.”
“Involving football for the kids is a way for them to learn more interactively. Some of it is asking questions they might not know the answer to, but it might trigger their curiosity. It starts a conversation and I think it will help them down the line.”
No one knows more about the Cincinnati Bengals than Geoff Hobson, now in his 18th year at Bengals.com after covering the team for the Cincinnati newspapers.
Hobson’s incredibly detailed “This Day In Bengals History” is a terrific ride through 50 years of a franchise that has had highs — two Super Bowl appearances — and lows — a string of 14 seasons without making the playoffs, and no postseason wins since Jan. 6, 1991.
Stories about Cincinnati greats such as Hall of Famers Anthony Munoz and team founder Paul Brown share space in the book with anecdotes about the lesser-known Bengals Solomon Wilcots and David Verser.
From New Year’s Day through New Year’s Eve, there’s plenty of good reading for every day on the calendar.
“Two things I rediscovered while putting together a daily log of the club,” Hobson says. “It’s amazing how 24/7 the NFL has become in the 21st century. Even as late as 30 years ago, it was virtually a six-month enterprise for everyone from coaches to media — except scouts.
“But even though it wasn’t 24/7, there was never a dearth of news. From the World League to the USFL to expansion to free agency to strikes, the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s give the new century a run for its money when it comes to headlines. Put a football down between coaches, players, fans, media, you’ll always make news no matter the decade.”
Nashville is making it very clear just how much of a country flair Music City will be bringing to the 2019 NFL draft.
Even though no artists have been announced yet for free concerts in Nashville around the draft, country star Tim McGraw has been tapped for Nashville’s local organizing committee. Other celebrities include Eddie George, former Titans running back, and ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit.
The committee is raising money to pay for free fan events during the draft scheduled for April 25-27. Nashville had free concerts by Alan Jackson before Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final in June 2017 and Luke Bryan performed before Game 6 of that series. Nashville is planning concerts, autograph sessions and other events as part of a three-day festival around the draft.
The organizers already have raised $1.5 million of the $2 million expected to be needed. Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk and the Nashville mayor are honorary co-chairs on the committee. Strunk thanked everyone who volunteered to work on the committee, and says she can’t wait for Nashville to be on the national stage for the draft.
TOAST TO THE CHAMPS
Joe Wagner grew up watching and playing football. Now, he gets to bottle up his passion.
The fifth-generation Napa Valley winemaker has created the second release of Jets Uncorked Championship Reserve, a limited-edition premium 2016 California Red that celebrates the 50th anniversary of New York’s Joe Namath-led 1968 team that upset the Baltimore Colts 16-7 in the Super Bowl.
The Jets collaborated with Wine by Design on the project, and fans can purchase the wine at retailers in New York and New Jersey, throughout MetLife Stadium, and online through the team’s website for $24.99.
“Bringing two of my passions — football and winemaking — together was a great opportunity,” said Wagner, owner and operator of Copper Cane Wines and Provisions. “Together with the team, we created an amazing red blend using some of my favorite vineyards from throughout the Napa and Sonoma appellations. We believe it’s the perfect way for a Jets fan to celebrate the past and look forward to a successful Jets future.”
The wine bottle’s label includes green and white stripes and a diagrammed X’s and O’s play — “19 Straight” — with which Matt Snell ran for the go-ahead touchdown for New York.
It’s the second time the Jets and Wine by Design have worked together, with the first coming in 2010 when Jets Uncorked Wine was released. Through a multiyear partnership, they plan to expand the wine lineup in the future.
Quarterbacks are the natural team leaders, but in the case of Kirk Cousins he’s only been with Minnesota for about seven months. Still, Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph nominated him before the game in Philadelphia on Oct. 7 to lead the breakdown prior to pregame warmups on the field , when Cousins delivered a message about finishing strong.
On the flight home, Joseph told him to be ready for a repeat. So before playing Arizona last Sunday, Cousins screamed at his teammates to encourage a similar effort and urge the defense to harass rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. The Vikings (3-2-1) won both of those games.
Though Cousins has said he considers himself reluctantly vocal in some of those situations, preferring to let his play do the talking, he’s had plenty of experience with pep talks.
“In college, we did it some, and then in the locker room as well,” Cousins said. “In high school, we did it a lot. It’s not foreign to me. I’ll put it that way.”
The Vikings have posted the clips on their website, thus making a story out of their quarterback’s recent rah-rah moments.
“He definitely has the fire. He has the passion. Sometimes guys have too much passion and their words get lost and they get jumbled over, but we know what they meant, and other times guys have the right words but not the right gusto,” defensive end Stephen Weatherly said. “And he has a great balance of both.”
The message is easier to express when you’re third in the NFL in completion percentage and fifth in the league in passing yards.
“I loved it,” linebacker Anthony Barr said. “At first, not knowing the guy, it kind of maybe comes off as fake or phony. But as you get to know him, that’s really who he is, an intense guy, a competitor, a guy who likes to go out and compete at a high level and compete well for his team, and the message that he shares hits home.”
AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner, Teresa M. Walker, Dennis Waszak Jr. and Dave Campbell contributed.
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