Since we first decided to turn this game into a business, we have wrestled with how to reveal the unseen efforts involved in a team win without spotlighting individuals or erasing them. Quickly we decided that we wanted to find a way to allow users to see the unseen work of these players off the field.
We arrived at #giving and a vision of a catalogue of players that users could cruise to see what kind of charitable/community efforts they are involved in. We envision an interactive space where fans can be educated on causes players work with, and even a space to streamline donations or volunteer assignments to their favorite players’ organizations.
We were inspired by the Bills Mafia and wanted to share this unique aspect of sports culture. For those who don’t know, the Bills Mafia organizes charitable giving as a form of friendly trash talk and a way of supporting the players they love cheering for (and against). For example, after the passing of the grandmother of Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, they donated to the Patricia Allen Fund (named after her, but it supports a local children’s hospital, Oishei Children's Hospital) in increments of $17, which is Josh’s jersey number. This culture has spread throughout fandom and has even been turned back on the Bills themselves. When the Chiefs defeated the Bills after taking only 13 seconds to drive down for the game tying field goal, Chiefs fans donated to the Patricia Allen Fund in increments of $13, raising a total of over $175,000.
We were reminded how important raising awareness for these causes is when we participated in the Pure Pitch Rally this week. That’s where we first became aware of JReidInDeed. Formed by Kansas City Chiefs safety Justin Reid, JReidInDeed works to help under-served kids and communities become “fully charged” with access to technology, nutrition, and athletics. They have renovated athletic facilities, provided tablets for medical students,and held tech camps for kids in and around Houston, Baton Rouge, and Kansas City.
These are exactly the kinds of efforts we want to include as a mission of STATSdraft, because this kind of sacrifice allows all of us to benefit from the return on investment. It is my hope that someday we will be able to shine a light on all the community and charity work these players do as a natural part of being themselves. Not only does this awareness let us truly understand and respect the role these players have in our communities, but it allows us to see through their eyes the problems that those communities face and how we can work together to address them.
As a former offensive lineman and coach, I always envisioned our game as a tool to teach fans about the efforts away from the ball that are necessary to succeed. I can only hope that one day this platform will make that lesson come to life outside the lines of sports. We always say that the lessons we learn from sports will carry us in life away from sports. And Justin Reid is showing the results of those lessons (given that his big brother is Eric Reid that isn’t surprising). Here’s hoping our team at STATSdraft can find more ways to make efforts like his more seen. Thanks for all you’re doing for our shared community, Justin. We look forward to growing enough to be able to be an asset in your mission, in addition to other NFL player charities.