The NFF—Highlighting Football’s
Contributions to Our Free Society
The mission of the National Football Foundation is “to promote and develop the power of amateur football in developing the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal and the drive for academic excellence in America’s young people.”
The Foundation has a rich history with many of our nation’s leaders having lent their name and personal fortunes to building its legacy, and the organization’s future appears bright. Archie Manning, a true humanitarian and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame from Ole Miss, serves as the current chairman, and Steven J. Hatchell, the former commissioner of the Big 12 and Southwest conferences and the former executive director of the FedEx Orange Bowl, serves as the current president & chief executive officer (CEO).
Twenty-seven corporate CEOs currently participate as members of the board or in an emeritus capacity. Ten athletics directors serve alongside two conference commissioners and the executive directors of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Ten members of the College Football Hall of Fame hold positions on the board as well as a filmmaker, a national broadcaster and a Texas member of Congress.
Importance of the Game
In the official book of the National Football Foundation, published in 1972, Hall of Fame Coach Bud Wilkinson wrote about the high value placed on the game and its ability to keep us young, vibrant and “steamed up.” He also noted the Foundation’s role in highlighting the sports contributions to our free society and its ability to produce a cross-section of the captains of industry, business, finance, statesmanship, judiciary and education.
“On each Saturday of each fall, we find caravans of millions of college alumni journeying back to their alma maters to watch their favorite teams play. There they renew old acquaintances and friendships. There they thrill from the nostalgia of their earlier years as they watch the colorful marching bands, the majorettes, and the cheerleaders urging on their teams. There the bonds are renewed with their colleges, and the result is an inspiring demonstration of a vibrant free society at play. To me, there is no sport that has the color, the pageantry and excitement of college football,” Wilkinson said.
George has been proud to be involved with the 67-year-old foundation since 1969 when he served as an attorney before becoming a board and committee member. At the time of his retirement in December 2014, George served as vice chairman of the board of directors and member of four board committees of the National Football Foundation.
Accomplishing the NFF Mission
The National Football Foundation accomplishes its essential mission:
- By inspiring young people to excellence: holding up the greatest players and coaches in the history of the game as role models and enshrining them and their achievements in the College Football Hall of Fame.
- By exciting young people, and those who influence them, about the game: in particular, managing the College Football Hall of Fame in such a way as to dramatize the history, exhilaration and value of the game to an ever broadening audience of fans and potential fans.
- By developing, managing and promoting model football programs, which further strengthen the educational and character building qualities of the game.
- By honoring, publicizing and providing financial support to high school and college football players who represent our ideal of the scholar-athlete.
- By continuing a grassroots movement, through local chapters, while involving football fans, coaches, educators, the media and former players in the implementation of the programs, which will fulfill the Foundation’s mission for America.
(Credit: The National Football Foundation)
George will soon be participating with the National Football Foundation, sports news writers and broadcasters, professional and collegiate team owners and managers, college presidents and others to develop Football House, an institution that will be dedicated to exploring and addressing major issues in the world of college and amateur football. The organization will seek non-profit designation and is expected to be operational in 2015.
“Wherever human liberty is respected, competition is the animator of progress. In football, in business, in politics, in the trades, professions and the arts, the normal urge to excel provides one of the most hopeful assurances that our kind of society will continue to advance and prosper. Morale the will to win, the fighting heart are the honored hallmarks of the football coach and player, as they are of the enterprising executive, the successful troop leader, the established artist and the dedicated teacher and scientist.”
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
First National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner
October 28, 1958
Atlanta College Football Hall of Fame
George was one of the early founders and is a current board and committee member of the Atlanta College Football Hall of Fame. The $80 million College Football Hall of Fame opened to the public in August 2014.
An homage to the sport of football, this state-of-the-art facility features historic and contemporary artifacts, interactive multimedia displays, children’s activities, a theater featuring an originally produced ultra high-definition film on the history and excitement of college football, meeting facilities, and special event spaces.