Maybe not No. 1, but considering the miserable pub the NFL has had for the last few months (very much deserved), a very high contender. And very, very worth your time.
First, the background:
A very nice move, unexpected from a team not known for making them (they’re not called the Cincinnati Bungles for nothing).
Now, grab a hanky:
Well, it turns out Devon Still can play football a little bit. So the Bengals promoted him to the main squad. They happened to play in New England last night, and this was our tribute to Devon and Leah Still last night:
Sometimes, players can be on the same team even if they’re wearing different color jerseys.
That was the case for a brief moment during last night’s matchup at Gillette Stadium when the Patriots honored Bengals player Devon Still and his four-year-old daughter Leah, who is battling cancer.
During the third quarter, the Patriots Cheerleaders unzipped their pink jackets – worn in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month – to reveal Devon’s jersey, as a video tribute to his daughter and other children fighting cancer played on the big screen.
“I was surprised,” Devon said after the game. “I didn’t know they had the jerseys on. And then they played the video. It definitely made it emotional to see the cheerleaders take off their jackets and to see the jerseys definitely took it over the top for me.”
The tribute was planned after Leah’s story made national headlines when Devon, originally cut from the Bengals, was signed to the team’s practice squad to ensure he had health insurance to cover his daughter’s treatment. Soon after, a video of Devon giving Leah a pre-surgery pep talk went viral, touching people around the world, including the Patriots organization.
With the Bengals coming to town, the team wanted to show its support of Devon and Leah, and, as Cheerleaders Director Tracy Sormanti said, “change the NFL for just a minute.”
That they did. If only for a moment.
The jerseys worn by the women were purchased with 100 percent of the proceeds going to cancer research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Patriots owner Robert Kraft also donated $25,000 to the hospital in Leah’s name.
“That’s great,” Devon replied when informed of the donation. “It’s great how everybody has been stepping up, not just from [Cincinnati], but across the country. It has just been amazing, and it is great for the cancer community.
“We came here to play a football game with an opposing team, and I didn’t expect them to show the support that they did today. It was amazing what they did today. It shows the fight is more than about football.”
This wasn’t a great week the the Pats either (until the beating we laid on Cincy last night). But all sports fans—I hope more than sports fans—can take heart from our example.