CHICAGO - Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly today joined NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL players, students from Collins High Schools and members from the community for the kick-off of league’s 100th season in Chicago. In honor of its centennial, the NFL hosted a “Huddle for 100” day-of-service in Douglas Park. Huddle for 100 is a call to action for volunteers to donate 100 minutes of their time to shape what communities will look like for the next 100 years.
The NFL will kick off its 100th season in Chicago on Thursday, September 5 at Soldier Field when the Chicago Bears face the Green Bay Packers
at 7 pm.
“Chicago is proud to join the NFL in kicking-off its 100th anniversary, and there is no better way to commemorate this milestone season than by engaging with families and communities here in our city and across the nation,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “For 100 years the NFL has represented leadership, teamwork, passion, and excellence, and I commend the league for renewing its partnership with our neighborhoods and its commitment to our fans with Huddle for 100 as we work to reinvigorate our parks and inspire our young people to reach heights.”
NFL Legends Defensive Tackle and Pro Hall of Famer John Randle, five-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle, Orlando Pace and Linebacker, Marty Moore, Safety Leonard Wheeler were also on hand for the Douglas Park cleanup.
“It’s thrilling to start this centennial celebration of the NFL in Chicago, home of the only two original teams still active, which has been instrumental in what football has become in America,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “The Chicago Bears is as important to football as they are to the vitality of Chicago and its fans, and it is an honor to be here and give back to the city that has given so much to the football league.”
Over 250 people gathered today to reinvigorate Douglas Park with a natural area, refurbishment of the playground, tree mulching, and a park clean-up scavenger hunt. Included among the volunteers were 50 junior and senior high school students from Collins High School, which is located within Douglas Park.
“It is a thrill for the students and the school to participate in activities like Huddle for 100,” said Lekenya Sharpe, Principal of Collins High School. “These character-building activities are vital to student success and will carry them into college or career and beyond. We are grateful that the NFL chose Douglas Park and Collins High School and are working alongside our students the importance of giving back and their role in building community.”
The NFL was founded in 1920 in Canton, OH as the American Professional Football Association and adopted the name National Football League in 1922. Of the original founding teams, only two teams remain the Arizona Cardinals and the Chicago Bears. The Cardinals started in Chicago, moved to St. Louis in 1959 and finally to its current home of Arizona in 1988. The Chicago Bears first started as the Decatur Staleys under Hall of Fame Coach George Halas. The Staleys, named for pioneering businessman A.E. Staley of A.E. Staley Manufacturing Co., moved to Chicago in 1921 and officially became the Chicago Bears in 1922.
“Thanks to the National Football League for including Douglas Park in its centennial celebration,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent Michael Kelly. “The cleanup activities taking place today support the park, surrounding community, and encourage stewardship among the young volunteers joining us today.”
“We’ve had a long history of partnership with the NFL, having re-created the NFL Draft in 2015 and hosted again in 2016,” said Kara Bachman, Executive Director of the Chicago Sports Commission. “We’re thrilled to welcome the NFL back to Chicago and proud to work hand-in-hand with the Mayor’s Office and Chicago Park District to create positive impact for residents and visitors alike.”
To commemorate its centennial season, the NFL launched Huddle for 100 in April. Since kick-off, volunteers have donated more than 19 million minutes to community services projects around the country. The NFL has set a goal of one million people volunteering 100 minutes for service projects that will make a difference to people and in communities. Groups and individuals can make their minutes count by sharing their volunteer experiences using #NFLHuddlefor100.