Monday, October 5, 2009

Football Gets Greener Every Year

There are likely few people who would use the words “football” and “environment” in the same sentence, least of all to compliment each other, but new efforts by players and teams all over the National Football League (NFL) are popping up to show that even these extremely tough, physical folks have a soft spot that is all Green.

In 2008 Super Bowl XLII (42) was played in Glendale, Arizona. A Super Bowl, with its many flights, tons of food consumed, general waste and thousands of vehicles driven to and from the location, tends to be an enormous drain on the environment but Arizona stepped it up and initiated some amazing efforts in 2008. 65,000 pounds of prepared food was donated to food banks, soup kitchens and shelters and upwards of 9,000 trees were planted (NFL's reforestation plan) to offset the 350 tons of CO2 emissions generated during Super Bowl week.

The same efforts to offset emissions through planting of thousands of trees in the local area (Tampa Bay) also took place prior to Super Bowl XLIII. This effort marked the fifth year the NFL was doing a little something to give back.

The efforts do not stop with Super Bowls however.

Recently I was introduced to the story of Ovie Mughelli, a Fullback for the Atlanta Falcons and arguably the Greenest player in the NFL today. He has such a strong passion for protecting the youth of society that he started the Ovie Mughelli Foundation, an organization which, in addition to numerous confidence building efforts, encourages eco-awareness. The Foundation made an appearance at the Emmy’s “Alive! Expo Green Pavilion” this year; its first. The overall motto, “Our future is Green.”, is designed to encourage feelings of strengthened community through the environmental efforts of society’s youth.

As a New Englander it is so exciting to learn that the stadium where the Patriots play, Gillette in Foxboro, Massachusetts, has just deemed wind power an important option. Through Constellation NewEnergy all electricity used during home games this season will be matched through Renewable Energy Credits for wind power. Since the stadium was constructed in 2000 it has been a shining example of how large commercial construction can incorporate eco-friendly efforts into the design with great efficiency and no noticeable impact on the overall cost.

Through the leadership examples of players like Ovie Mughelli, and teams like the Patriots, it is only a matter of time before the entire NFL goes Green. I look forward to hearing more about the thousands of new trees planted in Miami as well. Thanks for being responsible NFL!

Atlanta Falcons schedule
New England Patriots schedule
Super Bowl XLIV

Photo courtesy Jayel Aheram

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