Titans Continue to Make Impact in the Community

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. --** With fame comes responsibility. Professional athletes must be cautious of their every move because their actions are in the public eye. Although publicity and popularity may be stressful to some, players have a rare opportunity to influence fans. The Titans organization sees the potential and creates opportunities for building strong relationships between the players and fans. 

The Titans community relations office is responsible for the team's relationship with non-profit organizations, special events, player appearances and memorabilia donation requests to assist local charities in their fundraising efforts.

Each spring, the community relations staff works with Titans Radio to organize Titans Caravan, one of the most impressive fan outreach programs anywhere. The Caravan consists of about 55 events across Tennessee and in surrounding states. Titans players, radio team, mascot (T-Rac) and several staff members travel to a variety of locations such as schools, AT&T, Kroger and Shoe Carnival locations. Since its inception in 1998, the Caravan has made more than 565 stops, touching an estimated 350,000 fans.

According to Vice President/Community Relations Bob Hyde, the Titans distribute posters, programs and team decals but do not sell anything during the Caravan. 

"The Caravan is not a revenue generator," said Hyde. "The Caravan is a thank-you tour to the best fans in the league."

Fort Campbell has always been a stop for Titans Caravan. During the first Caravan after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, a large percentage of the soldiers were deployed. The organization felt an even a greater reason to go and they tailored the event more towards their children. The Titans wanted the soldiers' children to know that their parents are extremely brave and well respected.

"Former Titan Kevin Carter told the children, 'We'll be happy to sign autographs for you, but one thing that you should remember as you listen to us and you meet us personally, we are not heroes. We have the God-given ability to play this sport at this high level, but the real heroes are your moms and dads. They are the ones protecting our country,' " said Hyde.

Titans players love going to Fort Campbell.

 "We have guys that are disappointed because they aren't asked to go to Fort Campbell," said Hyde. "That is a great tribute to our guys in the locker room."

Community relations staffers from other NFL teams who saw a television spot about the Titans Caravan at an NFL business summit several years ago were amazed at the cooperation level of the organization and the players.

"It starts at the top with Mr. Adams and his late wife, Nancy," said Hyde. "We have made a charitable impact of about 17 million dollars since 1997 thanks to gifts from Mr. and Mrs. Adams, the Titans Foundation, the NFL and our players."

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On Tuesdays during the season, community relations staffers Tresa Halbrooks and Anthony Darby coordinate at least five Titans to make appearances in the community. Some players go to Baptist or Saint Thomas Hospital to visit with the patients while others speak at local middle schools, where they emphasize the NFL PLAY 60 campaign with the students. The country's obesity rate continues to climb, and this campaign pushes young people to get at least 60 minutes of active play every day.

"For the first time in our country's history, the life expectancy of today's youth is not expected to be as long as their parents," said Hyde. "Our owner and players are doing all they can to reverse the statistic."

Besides players speaking about the NFL PLAY 60 initiative in person, the players and the league are jointly committed to funding the campaign. The organization prides itself on having leadership and players with hearts to give back to the community.

"We are incredibly blessed with an owner, head coach and the players we have in the locker room," said Hyde. "Not only 13-3 AFC South Champions, but when we had our vote for the Community Man of the Year, it could have been given to several other players. So many players are deserving of the award which was won by a deserving David Thornton last year. The guys recognize that they can make a huge difference and they do so every day."

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