Sports

J.J. Watt Teams Up With Reebok To Release Signature Shoe

You can never question J.J. Watt’s heart and determination. Reebok feels the same way. They teamed up with the Texans star player to launch Watt’s sneaker called the JJ I. The  JJ I provides the athlete who wears it with ultimate heel to toe stability. The raised topline midsole keeps the foot locked in on top of the platform for increased support, while the outsole provides multidirectional traction for strong, dynamic grip during the most intense agility workouts.  In the mid-foot, FlexCage technology, a substructure cage with webbing tie-downs integrated into the upper, provides the lock-down feel without sacrificing agility and responsiveness, ensuring maximum transition of power. A second cage is integrated into the toe for added protection during jumping and pushing exercises.  The JJ I also introduces Reebok Liquid Foam technology for the first time, which allows for rapid reaction to every impact.

“I’ve trained in many different shoes throughout my career, but there was never one that I felt was clearly the best shoe to get the job done,” said J.J. Watt. “So I decided to build one and with the help of some great designers, I am proud to say that we have created the best training shoe I’ve ever worn. We spent over a year making sure that this shoe would perform at the highest level on any surface for any activity. Everyone has their own personal vision of greatness, the JJ simply ensures that you have the right tools for the hunt.”

The JJ I will be available for $99.99 on Friday, July 15th at retailers including Reebok.com, Academy, and additional stores nationwide.

Riddell Is Looking To Make Football Smarter

We all love football. Whether it is from the pro level to college to high school we enjoy watching the games and rivalries unfold. Still we want all the players to be safe. Thankfully tThis week, Riddell kicked off the second season of its Smarter Football program, a grassroots campaign that recognizes and rewards those who advance the sport through a commitment to safer, more intelligent practice and playing habits.

As part of the program, Riddell is donating a total of $100,000 in equipment to the teams that best articulate how an equipment grant will strengthen their ability to implement a safer, smarter game on and off the field. Parents, players, coaches and fans can now apply for a chance to win an equipment grant for the upcoming 2016 football season at smarterfootball.riddell.com.

Last year, Riddell received hundreds of submissions from teams at all levels of play. Seven teams in all received an equipment grant from Riddell, including the Juniata Thundercats, a youth program from northeast Philadelphia. Now is your chance to work with Riddell.

Perry Baker Interview

The 2016 Summer Olympics kick off in Rio this August, and we’ll be treated to some new events during this edition of the world’s most celebrated athletic competition. In addition to golf and kite surfing, rugby sevens will be making it’s debut on the Olympic stage. A fast paced game, rugby sevens features two sides of seven players (instead of the usual 15 players per side) that compete in two seven minute halves. The sport of Rugby hasn’t been played on the Olympic stage since 1924, and this is the first year that rugby sevens will be featured. Qualification for the event started with the 2014–15 Sevens World Series for both men and women. Twelve teams will compete in the event from August 6 to 11, including the US Men’s National Rugby Team.

US National Rugby player Perry Baker is partnering up with Team Budweiser, the Official Beer Sponsor of Team USA, to promote the upcoming games. Baker wasn’t always a rugby player. When you’re uncle (Wes Chandler) plays a decade in the NFL (including four trips to the Pro Bowl as a wide receiver) and your brother (Dallas Baker) earns the nickname “Touchdown Maker” before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in Round 7 of the 2007 NFL Draft, football is in your blood. Perry played college football at Fairmont State University in West Virginia. He was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles and played two seasons in the Arena Football League before a knee injury ended his hopes of playing football at the highest level. Undeterred, Perry picked up rugby, a sport he was first introduced to by one of his high school football coaches. Perry began playing rugby full time in 2013 and he made his national team debut at 2014 Gold Coast Sevens in Australia. With a few years under his belt, Perry is ready to represent his country in Rio.

Last week we sat down with Perry Baker to discuss his role with Team Budweiser, the 225-foot Olympic mural designed by artist artist Malika Favre in midtown Manhattan, the pace of rugby sevens and how football has influenced his new career. Here’s the interview:

Who Will Win This Year’s Your Hero’s Name Here Program

It is that time of year again! We get to honor one lucky hero! In case you didn’t know Indianapolis was crowned as the racing capital of the world. Just like in the past the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has the ability to make a dream come true for one lucky hero at NASCAR’s most popular summer race.

One deserving man or woman will go down in sports history as the grand prize winner of Crown Royal’s annual “Your Hero’s Name Here” program, receiving the naming rights to the NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24th, 2016.  This race will mark the tenth time Crown Royal has awarded race naming rights to an adult fan. The program focuses on all of the unsung heroes who make a difference in their communities, from firefighters and police officers to first responders and local volunteers. Every year five heroic finalists are nominated and through consumer voting, one winner is chosen to have their name cemented in sports history.

Adult consumers can go to CrownRoyalHeroes.com to vote for the hero they think is most deserving of naming rights to the race. Voting runs through June 9th and the grand prize winner will be announced shortly after.

An Open Letter To Peyton Manning

What do you say to someone that has accomplished so much? How do you show your appreciation and gratitude? Gatorade found a way to do that for Peyton Manning by using his own words. To honor Manning’s hall of fame career and recognize him as he has for others through his iconic handwritten letters, Gatorade captured a selection of recipients from the letters Peyton wrote. Sentiments from the letters were read on film and then strung together into a new letter delivered as a message for Peyton – crafted from his own words.

The people who are in the video and who received a letter from Peyton are:

Tony Dungy – Peyton’s Indianapolis Colts head coach, 2002-2008; Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee; current NBC Analyst

Jon Scott – Peyton’s friend and current Indianapolis Colts Vice President of Equipment Operations

David Cutcliffe – Peyton’s quarterback coach at University of Tennessee, 1994-1997; current Duke Head Coach

Pam Frenzel – Mother of Tyler Frenzel; Peyton befriended Tyler – diagnosed with leukemia – during a visit to the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent in Indianapolis and remained in close contact with Tyler until his death in 2004 at age 9

Jeff Saturday – Peyton’s Indianapolis Colts teammate, 1999-2011; NFL center, 1992-2012

Eli Manning – Peyton’s brother; current New York Giants quarterback

Demaryius Thomas – Peyton’s Denver Broncos teammate, 2013-2016; current Denver Broncos receiver

Derek Jeter – Peyton’s friend; fellow Gatorade athlete; New York Yankees shortstop, 1995-2014

Brandon Stokley – Peyton’s Indianapolis Colts and Broncos teammate, 2003-2006 and 2012 respectively; NFL receiver, 1999-2013

Archie Manning – Peyton’s father; NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, 1971-1984

Chris Mortensen – Peyton’s friend; current ESPN NFL analyst

Brandon Washington – First recipient of PeyBack Foundation Scholarship; currently a graduate student at University of Indiana