Heisman trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard joined me recently to talk about Team Up for Kids, an initiative which is bringing flag and tackle football to children throughout the United States. The former pro and current ESPN analyst also shared a touching story of high school football players who showed incredible sportsmanship this year by coming to the rescue of a young lady and fellow classmate who was being bullied. And last but certainly not least, give his take on who he feels will win on Super Bowl Sunday- the 49ers or the Ravens!
Candace Rose: Can you tell us about Team Up for Kids and what it’s all about?
Desmond Howard: “Of course. Buffalo Wild Wings, they’ve teamed up with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for the Team Up for Kids. This initiative is going to create 1600 flag and tackle football teams at clubs throughout the country. And the object is to get kids involved in team sports, especially football because we believe, and I believe strongly because I’m kind of a living testament that being involved in team sports can teach some very powerful and lasting lessons. It teaches you sportsmanship, it can teach you teamwork and how to be accountable to your teammates. It can build your self esteem, it teaches you goals and how to accomplish goals, and just numerous other things, so we want the children to get an opportunity to experience the good that comes out of being involved in team sports.”
Candace Rose: What are some of your top good calls of football sportsmanship this year?
Desmond Howard: “Wow, there’s so many it’s hard to list them. Right off the cuff I think of this young lady in high school was being bullied and she’s a special needs girl and she was being bullied. The football team got wind of this story and they took it upon themselves, no one asked them to do it, but they took this young girl under their wing and went beyond the call of duty to make her feel good and make her feel special. They would make sure anytime they ate lunch that she would sit at their table in the cafeteria and eat lunch with them. And anytime she was going from one class to the next, one or two football players would always walk her from class A to class B in the hallways to make sure she wasn’t being bullied anymore. The bullying stopped, but you have to give these young men a tremendous amount of credit for showing that type of sportsmanship off the field.”
Candace Rose: Absolutely
Candace Rose: As a Super Bowl MVP, who are you predicting will win the Super Bowl on Sunday?
Desmond Howard: “Oh wow, it’s tough. The teams are so evenly matched that you can almost flip a coin. You look for weaknesses or for things that may be an issue. Colin Kaepernick the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers has been playing fantastic football as of late. It’s going to be up to the Ravens defense to try to come up with some schemes, some blitzes to make Kaepernick uncomfortable, possibly turn the ball over. And if they’re able to do that with the veteran leaders that they have on the defense like Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, and Ray Lewis, then they’ll win the ball game.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Desmond Howard: “I would just encourage anyone who is listening to this and viewing this to go to the website BuffaloWildWings.com/Giving and they can be a part of that tremendous effort in effecting the lives of kids in their communities.”