dads guide

A Dads’ Guide to the Value of Football

Today’s post is by All Pro Dad Spokesman Troy Vincent. Mr. Vincent played 16 seasons with the Dolphins (4), Eagles (8), Bills (3), and Redskins (1). He is currently Executive Vice President of Football Operations with the NFL and is highly respected by business, sports, political, and community leaders.  

From children wearing the oversize jersey of their favorite player in backyard games to the young men living out their dreams in the NFL, the values of football touch everyone. I have experienced football’s values both as a former player and as a parent of sons who play, and I believe that every child should have the same opportunity. These are the same values that make us exceptional — individually and as a nation.

It’s not just the players who benefit from football’s values: Coaches, trainers, officials, and other football people have a front row seat to see the positive effect that this game has on the lives of those involved in it.

Football inspires greatness, instills character, and creates leaders. [Tweet This] Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan all played football. Here are more reasons why teaching kids football is valuable.

President Eisenhower summed it up: “Morale — the will to win, the fighting heart — are the honored hallmarks of the football coach and player. Likewise, they are characteristic of the enterprising executive, the successful troop leader, the established artist and the dedicated teacher and scientist.”

Millions of Americans share these sentiments, whether they played the game at any level or are involved as officials or equipment managers or in front office positions.


They can speak to how the qualities of teamwork, integrity, honor, resiliency, respect, and sportsmanship — characteristics all parents want to instill in their children — are essential for a prosperous and thriving society.


Football transcends race, politics, and social standing, and it connects communities. From high school stadiums under the lights on Friday nights to college campuses on crisp fall Saturdays to professional stadiums on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays, football unites people of all ages, walks of life, creeds, and colors.

Football people are identified by the quality of their character, the measure of their abilities, their commitment to teamwork, and a shared honor, love, and respect for the game.

As a dad, I believe it’s important to teach our children the values of sports — no matter how old they are or what sport they play. I urge you, as a dad, to encourage your children to get out on the playing field, where they can build confidence and strengthen relationships —with both their parents and their peers.

Sound Off

How has playing sports influenced you as a person?

Troy Vincent
Troy Vincent

Highly respected by business, sports, political, and community leaders, Troy Vincent earned countless accolades including the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, NFL Players Association Byron Whizzer White Award, Sporting News #1 Good Guy, and NFL Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award.

  • Brad Goodfellow

    Troy- I wish I could agree with you and I do believe there was a time when all of this was true and I hope there are still programs out there that uphold these values. As a father of 3 boys that all used to love football we have had to walk away from the sport. As I speak to other fathers around the country I am hearing much of the same sentiment, youth sports is being ruined by the parents. We are putting way too much emphasis on performance and ability at increasingly younger ages. In my area, the varsity quarterback is pretty much determined by the time he is in 4th grade and the “ballers” are identified and groomed. This type of attention so early produces an entitlement attitude that rears its ugly head in many of the issues we see with professional athletes today.
    Gone are the days of “teaching and development” in youth sports, today the programs focus on rewarding the talent and making sure the other participants don’t get in their way. The answer is not the everyone plays/ everyone wins leagues where no-one gets better but we can do a better job as coaches and parents of developing the exact skills and qualities you speak of in our young people.
    Positive encouragement, basic skills for all, and an equal chance for every player to rise to the best of their ability should be the driving force in every program.

    • Bill Herman

      Youth sports have created many problems with cheating, parents over the top, kids who want to play and learn but made to watch because they are not good enough, kids being recruited for college, pros while in elementary school, trophies and awards for teams who lose, on and on, it’s gotten to be a monster.
      College and pro stars and many not stars being held up as idols even as they are being arrested, committing various crimes.
      Many kids who could become top players often are burned out before they are teens due to all the pressure to win at all costs.
      Yes sports are a great avenue to follow but only if it’s done properly, following the rules and especially letting young kids grow at their pace not at their parents or coaches pace.
      Young kids need good, intelligent guidance not stupid pushing for glory or the worst case scenario of parents living their youth over again at the expense of their kids.

    • Paul_Sp

      Well said, concur completely……

  • Bill Herman

    So do other activities have value in teaching kids the importance of team work, individual growth, etc. Chess, reading, gardening, mechanical knowledge, taking care of pets, travel, museums, music, etc, etc.
    There’s a lot of ways for kids to learn and respect the values of leading a good life other than just sports. Not all kids are into sports, not all parents are into sports.
    The importance of parental guidance does not mean do this or else.

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