NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 22, 2007) -- The idea came from players during a meeting of Commissioner Roger Goodell's new Player Advisory Council.
The result will be renewed promotion by NFL clubs on the role of season-long NFL team captains on offense, defense and special teams through a team captain leadership initiative reviewed with NFL clubs today at a league meeting in Nashville.
The purpose of the program is to support and recognize the importance of team leadership through the role of the captains. Captains traditionally serve as a link between players, coaches and management to help foster cohesion within the teams.
The initiative has been strongly endorsed by NFL head coaches and by the six-member NFL Player Advisory Council that was established in April by Commissioner Goodell in conjunction with the NFL Players Association.
The council is comprised of safety Donovin Darius of the Jacksonville Jaguars, fullback Tony Richardson of the Minnesota Vikings, center Jeff Saturday of the Indianapolis Colts, linebacker Takeo Spikes of the Philadelphia Eagles, wide receiver James Thrash of the Washington Redskins, and free-agent safety Troy Vincent, who is president of the NFL Players Association.
"We've discussed the idea with many of the head coaches and they are very enthusiastic about it," said Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations who will oversee the program. "Team captains are a key element in building team leadership and enhancing communication between players, coaches and management. A perfect example of the benefit of this kind of communication is that the players themselves suggested the concept of re-emphasizing the team captains."
Several ideas are being discussed, including captain identification on game uniforms; an annual meeting with the commissioner to discuss player issues; community service led by the captains; team and league recognition initiatives; team press conferences to announce captains; increased publicity efforts by teams and the league; participation of captains in player introductions; regular captains meetings with players and the head coach; and captains to assist in on-field communications with game officials.
NFL clubs have appointed team captains throughout the history of the league.
Notable past NFL team captains include Pro Football Hall of Famers such as Upshaw, Willie Brown, Dan Dierdorf, Joe Greene, Bob Griese, Ken Houston, Jack Lambert, Steve Largent, Larry Little, Roger Staubach, Charley Taylor and Jack Youngblood.