There is no doubt that Frank Gifford was a giant on the football field. During his early years as a running back and receiver for the New York Giants, football wasn't the national pastime it is now. The football legend played a big part in the sport becoming the obsession it is today. His influence didn't stop there, if anything, it became even larger when he became a television broadcasting icon.
The story of how JJ Birden ended up playing football in the NFL is one of dogged perseverance and self-belief. Birden was always an athlete, starting out as a track star and advancing to the Olympic trials. He also wanted to play college football; but there was a problem. At 5'10" and 150 pounds, he was considered too small. His coach helped him realize his dream of playing football.
Leah Still, daughter of Devon Still, defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, was the recipient of the 2015 Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the the ESPYs in mid-July. Leah was not well enough to attend, so her father accepted the award on her behalf. The award was given to Leah in recognition of her perseverance in waging war against cancer.
A chance conversation about the homeless while riding the St. Louis Rams' team bus would eventually lead William Hayes and Chris Long on an expedition into homelessness. Hayes and Long both play defensive end for the Rams, and while life encounters made Hayes sympathetic to the homeless, Long didn't give them much thought.
We love stories of triumph and courage, because they make us believe in the resilience of the human spirit. The story of Zach Hodges and his dream of playing in the NFL is one such story.