By Morgan Robertson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Last Saturday morning, 28 youth football teams from across middle Tennessee arrived at Nissan Stadium to take part in the 4th annual Youth Football Jamboree.
The event, which was free and open to the public, offered the once-in-a-lifetime chance of playing at Nissan Stadium to more than 700 youth football players and coaches from the Nashville Metro area and surrounding communities. Teams that participated were selected from leagues that have made strong commitments to player health and safety through USA Football's Heads Up football certification program.
The event was a part of the Titans' recognition of Play Football month, a league-wide initiative, which celebrates youth and high school football programs throughout the month of August.
"The Titans are honored to provide our continual support to football players and coaches at the youth level," said Titans Football Outreach Coordinator Josh Corey. "This is a great event that allows us the opportunity to open our doors to the community in which we serve, with the goal of investing in the future of our game."
While the young athletes got to see how it feels to play like a pro, and parents appreciated the opportunity for their children, the coaches and teams benefited as well. Each participating team will receive grant funding from the Titans Foundation for equipment.
The Youth Football Jamboree was part of a day-long celebration of football, as many fans returned to Nissan Stadium for Titans practice on Saturday afternoon.
Two games were played at one time to accommodate all teams that were in attendance. Parents, families, and siblings eagerly watched from the stands as their little ones ran up and down the Titans field. Hillwood High School football players also volunteered by assisting the younger players to help the event run smoothly.
Bellevue Steelers Commissioner David Bonner said it was an event the participants will never forget.
"The main reason we participate is because a lot of the kids that play youth football don't keep playing," Bonner said. "This gives them an opportunity to come out and see what it feels like to be a pro, to come out of the tunnel and see their bodies on the Jumbotron, see the fans in the crowd. It's more the experience than anything. Everything the Titans do just make it feel like we are a big part of the community."
Corporate President of the Middle Tennessee Junior Football League Cliff Willis added: "If you look on the Jumbotron and see your kid running down the field, you'll know what it means to the community."
Last Saturday morning, 28 youth football teams from across middle Tennessee arrived at Nissan Stadium to take part in the 4th annual Youth Football Jamboree. (Photos: Morgan Robertson)