FRISCO, Texas – Some of most prominent figures in both football and the business world were at The Star in Frisco on Tuesday for a unique football summit, hosted by Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys.
The meeting of the minds of more than 20 people, including the likes of Roger Staubach, Archie Manning and many other CEO's, presidents, athletic directors and more, took place in an attempt to address and discuss many of the hot topics surrounding football and its future on all levels, from the youth stages to high school, college and of course, the NFL.
Jones, along with his Cowboys' front office team that included Charlotte Jones Anderson, formed a "who's who" of attendees that put key stakeholders at all levels in the same room for a discussion on various topics such as promotion of youth participation and stressing the importance of values and leadership, along with a roundtable discussion on player safety.
"We want to ensure that the virtues of character and competition that have made this game such a prominent part of our country's spirit for nearly 150 years, remain healthy, inspiring and in the forefront of the minds and hearts of young athletes, parents, coaches, administrators and fans," said Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones in a prepared statement.
The panel included several board members of the NFF (National Football Foundation), such as Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric, Joe Castiglione, Athletic Director at Oklahoma, Dr. Lou Anna K. Simon, the President at Michigan State University and Steve Hatchell, the president and CEO of the NFF.
While many topics were addressed, it appeared that player safety and health was the forefront of the discussion.
"I would call it a pathway that will make the game safer for all who play, whatever age group," Simon said of the purpose of the forum. "Secondly, give us a better understanding of how we can build on that making the game safer, be able to assure greater consistency across all of the children, all of the folks who play the game, to be able to take full benefit of what people to see the greatness of football."
Manning, a former standout quarterback of the New Orleans Saints and the father of both Peyton and Eli Manning, is the chairman of the NFF and said he enjoyed chance to talk about some of the concerns the public has in regard to safety.
"I understand it. When a mother talks to me about her son playing football and I get it," Manning said. "I think it got to the point 5-6 years ago where, at every aspect of our game, we were being negligent, especially about the concussion thing. I'm proud to say everyone has made some progress. There's work to be done. I can sit here and safe I think we have a safer game."
Immelt reiterated the importance of football and said meetings such as this will only strengthen the future of the game and team sports overall.
"We just wanted to talk about how we do a better job of positioning the sport for the long term," Immelt said. "How do we make it a better part of the community. How we continue to strive for excellence pertaining physical fitness and the kind of things that develop young men to be better leaders and how do we make it safer."